Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev used NATO’s summit as his peg and a Russian media interview as his medium to define his country’s foreign policy in a manner which strongly relativizes Russia’s place and role. Commenting on the suspension of Moscow’s participation in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, Nazarbaev stated that Kazakhstan would continue and indeed expand its participation because the partnership “meets the interests of international peace and security and those of stability in Central Asia, and is in line with Kazakhstan’s national interests.”
As regards the CIS Collective Security Treaty, Nazarbaev came out for its adaptation but stopped short of specifics. At the same time, “Kazakhstan gives priority to regional cooperation with Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan,” and the three countries participate in the CentrasBat military program assisted by the United States and other NATO countries. Nazarbaev reserved severe strictures for the concept of “limited sovereignty.” Some “used this notion in the past in order to whitewash certain actions in foreign policy”–an unmistakable reference to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and theory of relations in the former Moscow-controlled bloc (Itar-Tass, April 25).
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