It is no understatement to say that the news that Kazakhstan had been successful in its bid to attain a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council was one of the defining moments in our recent history. Over the last 25 years, our country has transformed into a regional leader, serving as a source of stability in Central Asia as well as leading on important issues, such as nuclear non-proliferation.
The six-year campaign to win the seat tested Kazakhstan’s diplomatic prowess, requiring Astana to deliver substantive examples of its commitment to global security and international cooperation. The work by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to build on Kazakhstan’s multi-vector foreign policy by reaching out to new allies and supporting old friends deserves a sincere commendation. Without their efforts, the bid would never have taken off.
As Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev noted, participation in resolving modern issues gives our nation the opportunity to develop relationships with many countries and regions. The benefits of this activity are clear to see. Global power is no longer defined by the ability of countries to coerce each other into favourable courses of action, but to attract and inspire networks of allies for the benefit of all. Through its skilful campaign, Astana has built bridges around the world that will allow the country to work together to achieve a better future for our children.
Stability and prosperity are the twin pillars on which this brighter future is based. Both cannot exist whilst conflict still rages around the world. President Nazarbayev’s dedication to ending the scourge of war was laid out in his recent Manifesto “The World. The 21st Century.” The principles contained within it, along with the anti-terrorism initiatives that he put forward during the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in 2015, are what our representatives will seek to draw the global community’s attention to over the course of our tenure.
When speaking to media about Kazakhstan’s goals for the UNSC term, Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov wisely said, “The Central Asian region is a young one on the political map, but still has a great history.” As the first representative from Central Asia to sit on the Council, Kazakhs have a duty to raise the important issues that affect the entire region, but also to use hard-won experience to address the issues that concern the whole world. Namely food, water, energy and nuclear security.
One of the defining characteristics of Kazakhstan has been our belief in dialogue over conflict and partnerships over division. Our multi-cultural society is in many ways the reason for this approach, which runs to the very core of our national psyche and is one of the reasons why we believed we deserved a seat at the top table of international security. However, we also understand the need to protect our citizens and interests at home and abroad. As recent events have shown from Aktobe to Istanbul and from Baghdad to Orlando, all countries must be prepared to stand against tyranny and terror wherever they emerge.
The United Nations Security Council stands as the world’s foremost body capable of achieving global peace. International relations may be under strain at this moment in history, but it is through international cooperation that we will overcome these threats. Kazakh citizens can be rightly proud that their country will soon work shoulder to shoulder with the permanent members of the Council to help lead the world through this testing time.