nCa News and Commentary
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 19 June 2014 (nCa) — “Our relations with Central Asia will take off soon,” said Prince Saud al-Faisal, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia at a press conference in Jeddah on Friday (19 Jun).
Answering a question by nCa, Prince Saud al-Faisal said that the strategy was in place to bolster ties with the countries of Central Asia.
He recalled that Saudi Arabia recently hosted a conference on its relations with Central Asia.
“In a few years you will see tremendous growth in mutual trade,” he said.
The Saudi FM said that both the Central Asian region and Saudi Arabia have enormous resources and fastest growing economies.
He expressed confidence that the processes in motion would soon start turning into tangible results.
During the press conference the Saudi foreign minister, and Lyad bin Amin Madani, the secretary general of OIC, summarized the results of the session of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) that concluded in Jeddah the same day.
There are broad areas of compatibility between Central Asia and Saudi Arabia. Quite apart from the spiritual connections between the people, there are contemporary realities that are just a few steps away from solid relationship based on economic interaction.
In addition to the obvious potential for cooperation in the energy sector, the vastly promising and emerging area is partnership in innovation, science and technology.
As the knowledge-based model of economy expands to its rightful size, the current methods of managing an economy will become redundant.
There is the awareness both in Central Asia and Saudi Arabia that the raw muscle of resources has its limitations – economy must always keep finding superior ways to make the best use of what is available in terms of resources and manpower.
This is shared vision.
Turkmenistan inaugurated a while ago its Technology Centre, the hub around which its Techno Park will grow.
Kazakhstan, under its Vision 2050, is focused on promotion of cutting edge technologies.
The Saudi foreign minister said during the press conference that the next OIC summit will focus on innovation and science.
If we put the welfare, happiness and security of the individual at the centre and start drawing concentric circles of innovation, science and technology around it, we put several interesting possibilities in our reach: speedy transportation and transit for mutual benefit, reasonably priced healthcare for all, education at its best, availability of affordable consumer items across borders, ever evolving ways of communications, food and water security, entertainment and lot more.
The reciprocal desire of Central Asia and Saudi Arabia to build broad-based partnership must overcome the present-day hurdles such as distraction by terrorism and extremism, language barriers, cultural differences that are prone to create wrong first impressions, the pressures by big powers to shun or court this or that camp, etc.
The secret is in remaining engaged despite temporary setbacks.