On the occasion of Kazakhstan’s assuming the Chairmanship in the OSCE.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Kazakhstan is assuming a highly important mission of the Chairmanship in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) with a sense of great responsibility.
Our country will start its chairmanship at one of the most complicated periods in modern history.
Because of the global financial crisis, tectonic shifts are taking place in the global order, and this process is still far from its completion.
The erosion of the regime of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, humanitarian and ecological disasters, famine, poverty, epidemics, reduction of energy resources, conflicts on inter-ethnic and inter-religious grounds, such is a far from complete list of challenges faced by the modern civilization requiring maximum efforts of reputable multilateral institutions like the OSCE.
There is no doubt the current situation in the world makes even harder the test which Kazakhstan will have to pass as a country chairing the OSCE. The most pressing problems, however, which the OSCE now faces, have always been at the heart of our foreign policy.
Since its independence, Kazakhstan has made a real contribution to strengthening regional and global security. The shutdown of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, the voluntary renunciation of the world’s fourth largest nuclear and missile arsenal and complete elimination of its infrastructure are the historic decisions our country has made.
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Recently, at Kazakhstan’s initiative, the UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution proclaiming August 29 the International Day against Nuclear Tests.
Kazakhstan is fully aware of its role as a responsible player in regional and global economic processes. As a country exporting the increasing volumes of hydrocarbons to the world market, our country make a significant contribution to ensuring global energy security, including that of the European countries.
As a major exporter of grain and other foodstuffs, Kazakhstan is actively promoting the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in order to end hunger and ensure food security.
Kazakhstan’s initiative to convene the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) has now become a unique multilateral instrument for Asian security and cooperation.
Nowadays, this forum, an OSCE analogue for Asia, brings together countries, which provide one third of the world’s GDP with a total population of approximately three billion people.
The top priority for Kazakhstan is Central Asia’s sustainable development. The growth of our economy positively affects the region as a whole.
Together with other OSCE member states, Kazakhstan fully supports efforts aimed at bringing the East and West together in order to develop better understanding of the key issues of the modern world.
The multi-ethnic and multi-religious composition of our population is a special trait of our country. Representatives of more than 140 nationalities and 40 confessions live together as one big family in Kazakhstan.
Our model of inter-ethnic and inter-religious accord is Kazakhstan’s real contribution to the global process of interaction between different religions. At my initiative, since 2003, Astana has hosted three Congresses of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, which created a unique forum for interfaith dialogue.
Dear ladies and gentlemen,
Against this background, we consider the OSCE with its unique geographical coverage, experience of interaction and developed instruments one of the key mechanisms for ensuring international security and cooperation. An organization has played and continues to play an important role in maintaining the security architecture in the area from Vancouver to Vladivostok.
At the same time, positive historical resources of the OSCE are limited. Today, it is impermissible to continue endless drawing of the so called “red lines” and playing “zero-sum games” which diminished its credibility.
The improvement of the effectiveness of international organizations in meeting new global challenges has come to the fore. That is the exact task for the OSCE, a unique dialogue platform bringing together 56 states located on three continents.
The decisive question for the OSCE in the future is whether it can turn into a structure which recognizes the diversity of the 21st century world, or it will remain as an organization segmented into blocks where the West stands apart from the space “from the east of Vienna”?
Stereotypes of the “former Soviet republics” continue to dominate the minds of some of our OSCE partners despite the fact of our almost 20 years experience of integration into the global democratic community.
In this context, the trust given by OSCE member states to us, bears a special importance for Kazakhstan. Building a democratic society has been a conscientious choice of our people, and we will continue further political liberalization of our country and improving the quality of life for the people of Kazakhstan. Our OSCE chairmanship is considered within the country not only as a foreign policy success, but also as a value on a national scale.
In accordance with OSCE traditions, we declare the motto of our chairmanship, symbolizing the content identification of a chairing nation.
The motto of Kazakhstan’s chairmanship will be four Ts, "Trust", “Tradition”, “Transparency” and “Tolerance”. The first means trust that is necessary for all of us. The second word means our commitment to the fundamental principles and values of the OSCE. The third word means maximum openness and transparency in international relations, free from “double standards” and “dividing lines”, as well as a focus on constructive cooperation in order to address the challenges and threats to security.
Finally, the fourth word is a reflection of global trends on strengthening of intercultural and inter-civilizational dialogue, which is gaining high importance in today’s world.
Kazakhstan considers the expansion and strengthening of the consensus base on fundamental issues of development as one of the key tasks for the OSCE. A 10 year break since the previous OSCE summit is an illustration of the fact that the consensus basis is in stagnation, if not in crisis. In this regard, we call upon the OSCE member states to support Kazakhstan’s initiative to convene a summit in 2010.
Such a meeting of OSCE leaders will provide an opportunity to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act, the 20th Anniversary of the Charter of Paris and the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II.
The substance of the Summit could include a topical issue of security agenda in the OSCE area of responsibility, as well as the situation in Afghanistan and issues of tolerance.
It is the time when leaders of OSCE member states should demonstrate their political will and outline solutions to the difficult challenges facing our nations.
The summit will not only give a powerful impetus to adapting the OSCE to modern challenges and threats, but also increase the confidence and respect among our peoples to the Organization itself.
Finally, it is the direct responsibility of the heads of state and government to work towards strengthening security and cooperation for the benefit and prosperity of people who elect them.
Meanwhile, the OSCE is an organization that cannot be replaced. Its stagnation or disappearance would create a volatile vacuum in Euro-Atlantic area.
In this context, we suggest declaring August 1, the day of signing of the Helsinki Final Act, the OSCE Day.
Kazakhstan will try to focus on achieving the optimum balance among all three OSCE “baskets”. Such an approach would allow to see problems in their entirety, effectively confront not only external manifestation of modern challenges and threats, but also to work with the sources of their origin.
Kazakhstan as the OSCE Chairman is firmly committed to the fundamental principles and values of the OSCE. We intend to find mutually acceptable solutions in the interests for all member states of the Organization.
Kazakh folk wisdom says: “Birlik bolmay tirlik bolmas – Without unity, there can be no life.” Our country considers the OSCE in the 21st century as a single space of democracy, stability, and prosperity for all the peoples living in it.
I thank you for your attention. I wish you great successes in the New Year.