Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said forecast that the 21st century will be the century of Asia has now become a reality.
Opening the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in the capital Astana, Tokayev said that despite the current geopolitical challenges CICA continues to develop dynamically and expanding cooperation between its members.
He said they are currently living in an unprecedented "geopolitical storm" and global economic crisis, which he defined as "global dysfunction."
"Kazakhstan intends to continue to promote dialogue and cooperation aimed at mutual trust and security in Asia. I want to express my deep gratitude to the member states for their constant support and invaluable contribution to the CICA processes," Tokayev added.
The Kazakh leader also proposed to transform the CICA financial summit into a permanent platform.
The Asian century is the projected dominance of Asian politics and culture due to its economy and demographic trends.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said Azerbaijan's cities and villages, as well as cultural and religious monuments and mosques were deliberately destroyed during the 30-year occupation by Armenian forces.
“We did not hear any protest from the Armenian community against such vandalism. On the contrary, Armenian vandals and war criminals were admired and glorified," Aliyev told the conference.
Relations between the former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.
Baku liberated several cities, villages, and settlements from Armenian occupation during clashes in the fall of 2020, which ended after a Moscow-brokered truce. The peace agreement is celebrated as a triumph in Azerbaijan.
The international community has now taken a leading role in mediating Armenia-Azerbaijan normalization process, which began after the war.
Aliyev said Azerbaijan is among the most heavily mined countries in the world, with Armenia laying more than a million mines during the occupation. "International experts estimate that Azerbaijan needs nearly 30 years and $25 billion to solve issues related to demining," he added.
He said that Azerbaijan with its own financial resources is undertaking large-scale reconstruction works in the liberated areas, AA reports.
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