OPINION contributor

Kazakhstan launches global initiative

HDN | 6/6/2010 12:00:00 AM | Baghdad AMREYEV

Since its independence, Kazakhstan has launched a number of key international initiatives aimed at strengthening global stability and security.

Since its independence, Kazakhstan has launched a number of key international initiatives aimed at strengthening global stability and security. Nearly all of them were seemingly too ambitious for a country which had just proclaimed independence, had a relatively small population and was not strong enough to be a key factor in geopolitics, especially in comparison to its neighbors such as Russia and China.

However, in reality, Kazakh initiatives were striking, the problems addressed and settled by these very initiatives were crucial, and their impact to the global and regional security was tremendous. Moreover, many managed to leave a historical impact. Allow me to elaborate:

1. Immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, initiated the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States, or CIS. At a minimum, it was to be used as an instrument to encourage a peaceful, velvet divorce of republics in the enormous empire, or at a minimum, use its large potential to build independent states. As all of you know, both of these goals were achieved successfully. I believe you can all imagine what the world could have been like instead – greater Balkans and etc.

2. Kazakhstan is the only country in the world that has voluntarily rejected to be a nuclear state despite the fact that it inherited nearly 2000 nuclear warheads and was the de facto fourth nuclear power in the world. Undoubtedly, it was and still is a great example to be followed by the international community. It made a significant contribution to global security and there is a strong need to highlight the importance of such a step in our time as well.

3. Kazakhstan was able to make successful demarcations of its borders with Russia and China, or PRC, and this is not merely a national or a bilateral issue. Taking into consideration the fact that the Kazakh border in the Soviet era has always been a source of tension and dispute between the USSR and PRC, it is not difficult to imagine how the world managed to escape one of the biggest territorial conflicts in its modern history.

4. Kazakhstan has initiated both with Russia and China the formation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. You are all aware of the fact that it became the main factor of the new multipolar world after the collapse of the unipolar world that has been dominated the world immediately after the disintegration of the Soviet Union and lasted exactly until the formation of the SCO.

It is fair to say that a worthy contribution to world security and the new world order was made.

5. Kazakhstan has taken many other key initiatives such as the formation of the Turkic Council or the so-called union of the Turkic states. That was realized after the appropriate agreement was signed last year in Nakhchivan by the heads of the Turkic states.

6. Finally, the historic initiative of President Nursultan Nazarbayev to convene the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, or CICA, from the tribune of the United Nation’s General Assembly in 1992, was a significant and timely step in international politics.

The move was designed to create for the first time in history an effective and a reliable mechanism of preventive diplomacy in Asia. This goal could have been achieved only through multilateral efforts, as well as through interaction and implementation of confidence-building measures. In contrast to other regions of the world, such structures did not exist in Asia, and previous attempts to create such structures failed. That is why CICA can be proclaimed a prototype of the common Asian system of collective security and this is its main value. While not being formalized yet as an international organization or a forum for dialogue, CICA is in itself a unique international structure, a comfortable platform for political dialogue and consultation on security issues in Asia, often between countries that are either in conflict or do not share diplomatic relations.

Given the geographical, historical, economic, political and socio-cultural heterogeneity of countries in Asia, CICA member States have taken simple and practical steps toward creating a regional framework for security. The founders of the CICA admitted that reactions to common security challenges should be cooperative and multilateral, as a result, the decisions taken at the conference are based upon consensus. Participating states came to an understanding that the existing differences in the region should not cause obstacle to find common approaches to common threats.

Despite the fact that in the relatively a short period of time that has elapsed since the initiative to convene the CICA was taken, a large amount of work has been done – above all, an appropriate legal framework was developed. The core documents were signed, such as the Declaration of Principles in 1999, the Almaty Act of 2002, Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures in 2004 and Rules of Procedure 2004.

The main stage of institutionalization has been closed. A successful CICA Secretariat has been operating in Almaty since 2006. Various bodies dealing with operational issues of the Conference have formed as well, such as the Ad Hoc Working Group and the Committee of Senior Officials. To date, there were two CICA Summits and three CICA ministerial meetings held.

During the presidency of Kazakhstan, links with international and regional organizations and forums were established, in order to strengthen security, stability and peace in the CICA. For example, in December 2007 the UN General Assembly granted the CICA observer status, which was undoubtedly an expression of recognition on behalf of the international community and marked an important stage in its emergence as a full-fledged regional structure. In 2008, Memorandums of mutual understanding between the CICA Secretariat and international organizations such as ECO, EurAsEC and the IOM were signed.

In today’s world, security is not merely dependent on political and military factors – security covers all key spheres of human activity at the moment. Therefore, in the 2004 CICA Catalogue, five main dimensions were identified: economic, environmental, humanitarian, and politico-military, as well as combating new threats and challenges. The CICA countries in the region were able to conduct continuous dialogue on numerous issues. Moreover, the participating states were able to improve their relationships with one another by discussing various problems and solutions to them. As a result, this way, mutual understanding and trust was promoted.

The most important factor in the formation of the Conference was the "co-operative approach" which was in force since 2007. Within a relatively short period of time, coordinators and state coordinators were determined on 10 areas of cooperation within the Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures.

During the last six years, the membership of the CICA has rapidly increased from 16 to 20 countries, once again, highlighting its growing political appeal. During the Third Summit in Istanbul it has been planned for the CICA to join the ranks of observers in countries such as Vietnam, Iraq and Bangladesh. It is important to note that the total territory of the participating states combined make up a total of 40 million square km, or about 90 percent of the Asian region, and 3/4 of the territory of the Eurasian continent. About half of the total population of the globe resides in this vast territory, 3 billion to be exact.

[HH] Presidency from Kazakhstan to Turkey

As we are all aware, Kazakhstan’s Chairmanship of the Conference expires in 2010. Highly valuing Turkey’s support of all initiatives aimed to strengthening global and regional security and stability, our head of state, Nursultan Nazarbayev, proposed the choice of Turkey for Chairmanship of CICA, considering the high level of cooperation between two brotherly states and Turkey’s positive experience in chairing various international and regional associations, Turkey’s enormous weight in world politics and vast experience in multilateral diplomacy. By being geographically located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey can serve as an effective bridge between peoples and civilizations.

On the June 8 this year, a third Summit of Heads of States and Governments of the CICA Participating States will be held in Istanbul, which will undoubtedly serve as an important milestone in the development of the forum. For the first time, the summit will be held outside Kazakhstan. During this meeting on the highest level, for the first time in the history of the conference; the transfer of the presidency – from the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Turkish Republic will be made.

It is rather symbolic that this year, Kazakhstan and Turkey will head two important international organizations: Kazakhstan chairs The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Turkey will assume the presidency of the CICA in the second half of the year, having a unique chance to jointly promote and address the pressing issues of the Asian and European security.

I am sure the Turkish presidency of the CICA will provide additional impetus to CICA’s international prestige, as well as the growth of Turkey’s political influence in the world as chairman and Kazakhstan, the initiator of the CICA process.

In turn, Kazakhstan will continue to do everything in its power to strengthen peace and security as well as promote the aims and objectives of the CICA in the name of security and sustainable development on the vast Asian continent.

* Baghdad Amreyev is the ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Turkey.



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