ASTANA – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev is to meet with US counterpart Donald Trump to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and to preside a UN debate on nuclear non-proliferation, the head of the Kazakhstan Council on International Relations said Monday.
Erlan Karin said talks between the two leaders during an official visit by Nazarbayev later this month would center on providing the United States with a Central Asian vision of the situation in Afghanistan.
“The White House has announced its operations, but they are not yet widely developed, so I think the meeting with the Kazakh leader will be important in terms of elaborating the US strategy on Afghanistan and will give a boost to the solution of this problem,” Karin said.
The Kazakh political analyst said Afghanistan was a key aspect of the internal politics of the United States as it is an indicator of US leadership, adding that the Afghan problem has been “somewhat sidelined from the international community despite its deterioration.”
The Kazakh president’s visit to the United States coincides with the Central Asian nation’s chairmanship this month of the United Nations Security Council, during which Kazakhstan intends to put on the table issues such as the Afghan situation and nuclear non-proliferation, among others.
On January 19, the Security Council is to hold a ministerial-level debate on strengthening relations between Afghanistan and Central Asia that will be chaired by Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov.
A day earlier, Nazarbayev is to chair a debate at the United Nations on confidence building measures to advance the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Kazakhstan is recognized as one of the world leaders in the push for nuclear disarmament.
Under President Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan renounced all Soviet-era nuclear weapons, eliminated the infrastructure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test field and joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon state.
Karin said that the current conflict in the Middle East, the unstable situation in Afghanistan and the increase in radicalism define the new challenges for Central Asia in 2018.
“The continuous process of return of Central Asian militiamen from the conflict zones of the Middle East increases the risk of radicalism in the Central Asian region,” Karin said during an expert meeting in Astana on Monday.
“This trend will intensify as the situation in Syria and Iraq changes,” he said.