3rd December 2015 – The Eurasian Council on Foreign Affairs held the Second Annual Meeting of its Advisory Council yesterday evening at the Imperial Hotel in Vienna.
H.E Erlan Idrissov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan and first Honorary President of the ECFA, addressed the Members of the ECFA Advisory Council during a private Board Meeting (full speech available here), stating:
“We continue to see the focus, when discussing Central Asia, on how remote the region is. It is a narrative which neglects how our world has changed. For as economic power shifts eastwards, bringing revived trade links, fast-growing markets and new areas of prosperity, it is not our remoteness but our position at the heart of the new emerging world which is most striking.”
Dr. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, former Foreign Minister of Austria and Chair of the ECFA Advisory Council, delivered a keynote speech to the assembled guests – including 15 ambassadors, representatives from the European Commission, UNIDO, UNODA, the Vienna Economic Forum and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance – during a formal dinner, concluding:
“The Eurasian region made up by the 5 Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are each year making greater contributions to global dialogue on energy security, the environment, people and drug trafficking and counterterrorism. For that reason the Eurasian Council on Foreign Affairs is a very useful instrument to further improving relations between Central Asia and the European Union as well as the world.”
The Rt. Hon. Lord Lamont of Lerwick, former Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom and a Member of the ECFA Advisory Council, acted as Moderator for the formal dinner, adding:
“The ECFA in its short existence has done a tremendous amount of work through its publications and other communications to heighten awareness of developments in Central Asia, a region of the world of great strategic importance which has changed profoundly since the end of the Soviet Union.”