19 October 200416:03

ALEXANDER YAKOVENKO, THE SPOKESMAN OF RUSSIA'S MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, ANSWERS RUSSIAN MEDIA QUESTIONS REGARDING UPCOMING CICA FOREIGN MINISTERS MEETING IN ALMATY

2244-19-10-2004

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Unofficial translation from Russian

Question: What can be said about the upcoming meeting of CICA Foreign Ministers and what is the composition of its participants?

Answer: The Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), to be held in Almaty on October 22, will constitute an important stage in the evolution of this dialogue forum. The participants of the Conference are sixteen states: Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Palestine, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan. The United States, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Ukraine participate as observers.

Sergey Lavrov will head up the Russian delegation at the ministers' meeting.

It is the second meeting of heads of foreign affairs agencies. The first took place in September 1999, during which the Declaration of Principles governing relations among the CICA member states was adopted.

Question: What characterizes the present stage in the development of this international forum?

Answer: The present stage in the CICA process is characterized by the fact that member states are coming onto the lines of practical multilateral cooperation on a broad range of issues related to the promotion of stability and security, provision of a climate of peace and mutual trust in the Asian space and the search of joint answers to new challenges and threats.

In accordance with the direction contained in the fundamental Conference document, the Almaty Act, adopted at the first CICA summit in 2002, the Draft Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures in Asia is prepared for approval at the Ministerial Meeting. This document, in the Russian side's view, is of great importance. It envisages a complex of measures to develop multilateral cooperation among member states on an extensive spectrum of key issues related to stability and security, military-political trust, the fight against new threats, the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and economic, humanitarian and cultural ties. It is equally valuable that this is the first step in filling CICA with practical content. A special place in the Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures is allotted to cooperation among the Conference participants in the struggle against international terrorism. We believe that approving the Catalogue can provide impetus for the CICA to find its own niche in multilateral cooperation in the Asian region on the basis of mutual respect of interests and in strict accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the recognized rules and principles of international law.

Question: What specific questions are included in the agenda of the Almaty meeting?

Answer: In the course of the meeting there will be examined the Draft CICA Rules of Procedure, which are called upon to regulate the activities of this dialogue forum and to determine both the organizational-administrative structure of CICA and the functions and terms of reference of the guiding bodies for the Conference.

The ministers will exchange views on pressing world and regional problems and, based on the results of the debate, will adopt a final document of the meeting, its political Declaration. There will be reflected in it the common approaches of CICA to the current political developments in the world with emphasis on the negative manifestations of new challenges and threats and international terrorism in the first place.

The Russian side has invariably supported the Kazakhstan initiative for advancing the CICA process. We were and remain one of the most active participants of this process and have made a weighty contribution to the preparation of the documents of the upcoming ministerial meeting. We believe that the format approved by the first CICA summit for this Conference as a dialogue forum best corresponds to the political realities in the CICA space and to the tasks of safeguarding peace and security in this region.

The program of the ministerial meeting envisages a meeting of the participants with the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is the chief ideologist and developer of the idea of CICA.

October 19, 2004

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