How does Kazakhstan’s chairmanship differ from the previous ones?
While working out the program of our chairmanship we considered the need to ensure succession with the activity of previous chairmen. We consider that successful must occupy one of the important places in defining the main directions in the OSCE activity. Thus, the Kazakh chairmanship was not aimed at radical changes in the OSCE activity and especially the open challenge to the established state of affairs. But we are also not “technical” chairman. We stake on innovations and enjoying our state of the first chairman of OSCE from among post-Soviety, predominantly Asian and Muslim member-states. I think the strong accent on the need to hold the OSCE summit this year is our main innovation. We do not need the summit for the sake of the summit, this is not the fixed idea. If we continue clinging to the status quo and demonstrate passiveness, the full disintegration of the OSCE which will have the most unpredictable complications for the whole area of its responsibility is possible in the nearest future. It is the responsibility of the leaders of the participating countries to avert such events. We sincerely hope for their understanding and support.
For provision of the necessary content enrichment of the summit, we take active steps to promote the Korfu process initiated by our Greek friends, aimed at the complex perception of the future of European security. We are planning to prepare an interim review on this process before the informal ministerial meeting of OSCE in Almaty on July 16-17 so that to introduce draft solutions during the meeting.
Here, we have to state an uneasy situation in the sphere of “stiff” security. The CFE treaty is not ratified by anyone except for Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. In this connection, we take steps to attain process in the conclusion of adapted CFE treaty. Another innovation is the assistance to discussions on modernization of the Viennese document of 1999 on measures of trust and security.
The chairmanship assists to negotiations within the framework of the resolution of the “protracted” conflicts in the post-Soviet area. We support the proposal to create the mechanisms of OSCE crisis prevention with the wide specter of instruments and channels of reacting to possible critical situations.
In addition, I would like to draw a special attention to the changing nature of Euroatlantic security which is acquiring a new Eurasian dimension. The growing role of the so-called “Big Central Asia”, involving Afghanistan has become a common place in political and expert clashes. I think the decision to appoint Kazakhstan a chairman has become a demonstration of understanding of this objective fact by our partners.
Almost all contemporary challenges in three dimensions of OSCE security, including illegal drug and arms trafficking, organized crime, terror and religious extremism are concentrated in Afghanistan today. During my visit to Kabul on May 17 I discussed initiatives on strengthening the borders of Afghanistan with the Central Asian countries, raising potential of the law enforcement bodies and developing cooperation in fighting drug trafficking, including with the use of the OSCE potential. This meets the interests of the whole community of the Organization, since today 43 out of 56 member-states are already involved in the resolution of the situation in Afghanistan in any form. Meanwhile, in terms of the Afghan problem we stake on demilitarization, moving to humanitarian initiatives, strengthening economic component. During negotiations in Kabul, President Karzay voiced a special gratitude for the educational program of Kazakhstan for hundreds of Afghan students to study at Kazakh educational facilities.
In terms of the promotion of Eurasian trend, OSCE intends to introduce “an added value” to the OSCE activity on strengthening stability and security in Central Asia, using OSCE potential in development of regional cooperation, settling ecological problems, expanding transport cooperation and residing new challenges and threats to security.
Meanwhile, the wide specter of problems of security and their extreme importance cannot belittle the importance of other directions of the activity of the organization. We consider it important to preserve the balance of all OSCE baskets. In particular, the increased attention to activity in economic and ecological sphere is naturally in period of world economic recession. On the background of the 20th anniversary of the Bonn document that has laid a basis for the OSCE activity in economic dimension, the development of a new similar document is an important common task. This is another innovation of the Kazakh chairmanship.
Kazakhstan continues working at strengthening the OSCE human dimension. Kazakhstan has made an exact choice in favor of modernization, innovative development of its economy. The solution of this strategic task is hardly possible without reliable democratic institutions. In addition, the state program “Way to Europe” which in fact reflects the value orientation on the European type of contemporary society is being implemented in the contest of Kazakhstan’s chairmanship in OSCE.
Within the framework of the “third basket” we are going to make our own contribution for OSCE in promoting issues of tolerance and lack of discrimination and establishment of interreligious dialogue in the OSCE security zone. The OSCE high level conference on tolerance and nondiscrimination held in Astana on June 29-30 is an important step in this direction.
The issue of OSCE reformation is of special urgency. Which reforms does the Kazakh chairmanship intend to take within the framework of this organization?
As the OSCE chairman, Kazakhstan is absolutely confident that there cannot much security. Security must be comprehensive and indivisible. We believe it is possible to attain such conditions only through optimization of the mechanisms of international law. The main subject of the intensive dialogue which we hold with all OSCE participants is how to attain this goal.
The previous Greek chairmanship has done much in this direction. We are just obliged to move further and carefully study the problem in prevention of conflicts, regulation of crisis and study reasons preventing their effective resolution in the result of the open discussion within the framework of the Korfu process.
We consider that the effective provision of comprehensive security is only possible in the case of attaining a balance of dimensions and overcoming internal system difficulties. However, this is not the end. Comprehensive security is a firm observance of goodwill commitments assumed by all 56 countries while joining OSCE.
There cannot be exceptions in this case either. After agreeing with the OSCE principles, all participants regardless of international status must observe them consistently and responsibly. If this does not happen, there forms a set of negative conditions influencing stability of the situation in OSCE since we use an indivisible system of European security.
In addition, the current complex conditions show that a new impulse is required for the political dialogue as a defining means of the OSCE activity. Therefore, the Kazakh chairmanship has proposed an initiative to summon the OSCE summit.
We are also among the supporters of the regulation of the legal personality and legal capacity of the OSCE. We consider this issue in the term of continuation of reformation of the organization. We also believe that the incompleteness of the OSCE configuration of the international law affects our activity negatively. It is necessary to find definite solutions on the OSCE charter, regulate the activity of its independent institutions and other affiliates and field operations on the spots.
The main issues on the agenda include: whether the OSCE will be able to become an organization with a single cultural and historical paradigm, recognizing the diversity of the new world order or it will remain segmented into blocs, where traditional West is separated from the area “to the east of Vienna”, while the concept of European security will in fact be related to the area from Vancouver to Belostok, rather than Vladivostok.
On the whole, Kazakhstan’s chairmanship is a chance for the OSCE member-states to find the contact points to allow laying a foundation of the common area of stability, welfare and security for the nearest perspective.
Azerbaijan will hold parliamentary elections this year. What does Kazakhstan expect from these elections?
As the current chairmanship in OSCE, we are satisfied with the constructive nature of cooperation between Azerbaijan and OSCE, as well as the government and the OSCE office in Baku.
Azerbaijan has already passed a great way in terms of applying democratic values in its country. I am sure that Azerbaijan will continue appropriate measures in this direction.
In this regard, we note the importance of the upcoming November 7 elections in Azerbaijan, to be monitored by OSCE / ODIHR and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
It should be noted that OSCE / ODIHR mission which observed the presidential elections in Azerbaijan in 2008 stressed the significant progress in the implementation of commitments before OSCE and other international standards for holding democratic elections. In particular, amendments to the electoral code were adopted in June 2008 in line with the recommendations of the ODIHR and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe.
We welcome the adoption of the May 2008 law on freedom of assembly, which meets international standards.