Almaty is to hold the Trans-Asian Parliamentary Forum entitled "The Eurasian Dimension of the OSCE" on 14-16 May. In anticipation of this event, Interfax-Kazakhstan has spoken to the head of the forum's organizing committee, Kazakhstan's Senate Speaker and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Vice-President Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev.
- Mr Tokayev, are such forums traditional for the OSCE?
- The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly does hold similar forums in various regions. But I can say without any exaggeration that the OSCE has a particular interest for Central Asia. A similar forum under the OSCE auspices was held in Almaty in 2003. Even at that time it was clear that the Central Asian region had acquired great significance in ensuring global security. Astana had held the 17th annual session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in July 2008. The upcoming forum will become a milestone for the Organization, as it has first been chaired by the country that represents the entire post soviet space and the Central Asian Region. Evidently, this was bound to have a positive impact on the Parliamentary Assembly activities.
- What are the key issues on the forum's agenda? We would like to learn more about its participants and speakers…
- The forum's name - The Eurasian Dimension of the OSCE - essentially reflects Kazakhstan's OSCE Chairmanship program. The forum has been divided into 3 major sessions. The first session is dedicated to regional security issues and will discuss problems of combating terrorism and drug trafficking.
The second session will focus on issues of economic development, trade, environmental security and labor migration. The third session will discuss religious tolerance, political development, gender equality, human trafficking issues. In other words it will cover "the Human dimension" problems.
> Kazakhstan Map
Parliamentary delegations of the OSCE member states, the Organization's Mediterranean and Asian partners have all shown a strong interest in the forum. We expect to host over 250 delegates, most of them representing the parliaments of more than 30 OSCE countries, as well as members of the European Parliament, Interparliamentary Assemblies of the CIS and PACE. Diplomats from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Jordan have also agreed to participate in the forum.
Representatives of major international organizations, research institutions, the diplomatic corps have also responded to the invitation to participate in the forum.
As for the major speakers, the forum will feature presentations by members of the OSCE Office, the OSCE Secretary General, EurAsEC (Eurasian Economic Cooperation), SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) and the CICA (Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia). I believe that speeches by the Afghan former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and Deputy Speaker of Afghanistan's Lower House of Parliament Mirwais Yasini will attract great interest. The OSCE Chairman-in-Office and Kazakhstan's Secretary of State and Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev, who has put a lot of effort to strengthen the OSCE, will also deliver a speech.
- Will there be any documents adopted as a result of the forum?
- In accordance with the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly regulations, official documents and resolutions can only be adopted upon the completion of the Assembly's annual sessions, which are traditionally held in the first weeks of July. The next session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly will take place in Oslo on 6-10 July. All ideas and initiatives, proposed at the Almaty forum, can be reflected in separate resolutions, which will be adopted at the Assembly's session in the capital of Norway.
- Will the forum discuss the recent events in Kyrgyzstan?
- Absolutely, the Almaty Parliamentarian Conference should contribute to the peaceful development of the situation in this country and assist the international effort to establish a civilized state administration. Therefore, the forum's participants will have the opportunity to discuss the situation in Kyrgyzstan. I believe that the decision to organize a special session, made after numerous consultations with the OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly President Joao Soares, has been right and was supported by all our colleagues in the Assembly. Moreover, representatives of the Assembly's President and the OSCE's Chairman-in-Office worked shoulder-to-shoulder in Kyrgyzstan.
- Mr Tokayev, how would you assess Kazakhstan's participation in the settlement of the conflict situation that occurred between the Kyrgyz former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev and the country's interim government?
- We may say that Kazakhstan, which is currently the OSCE chair, leads the international effort to overcome the crisis in Kyrgyzstan. Thanks to the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev the threat of a civil war, which might have led the whole Kyrgyzstan to a catastrophe, was averted.
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The Kazakh diplomats succeeded in establishing coordination between the international organizations. These efforts helped to prevent any further escalation of the tension between the North and South of Kyrgyzstan and establish and maintain contact between the governmental bodies and the non-governmental organizations.
The recent events in Kyrgyzstan have given the lessons to learn to those who sincerely care about the wellbeing of their countries. As President Nursultan Nazarbayev has said neither investments in national economies nor further development of a state is possible without a law-based law.
- How would you comment on Bakiyev's statement he made in Minsk saying that he still was the legitimate president of Kyrgyzstan?
- One of the most important tasks for the sides that were helping resolve the conflict was to take Bakiyev out of the country to prevent further bloodshed there. He left Kyrgyzstan as a result of concerted efforts of the presidents of Kazakhstan, Russia and the United States, as well as the OSCE, UN and EU.
Bakiyev himself wrote a letter of resignation, which was delivered to the interim government of Kyrgyzstan. This is a fait accompli.
- Mr Tokayev, shortly we are celebrating the 65th anniversary of Great Victory in the 1941-1945 war. What do you feel about this significant date?
- It really was a Great Victory that led to a new world architecture which was documented in the UN Charter. It is worth noting here that this document that defines basic principles of the international law has not been changed since then. However, the attempts to rewrite the history of the victory, put the aggressors and their victims into the same bowl still continue. In my opinion, this is unacceptable historically, legally or morally.
- Thank you for the interview.