Kazakhstan intends to increase its contribution to UN peacekeeping operations, said Kairat Umarov, Kazakhstan’s Permanent Representative to the UN stated.
This will be done by co-deploying the country’s unit with India in Lebanon and through the UN certification of the KAZCENT Kazakh peacekeeping training centre.
At a meeting of the UN Security Council on Peacekeeping Reform and Performance earlier this year, the Kazakh diplomat called for transformative changes, innovative approaches and new yardsticks of measurement in the organisation’s peacekeeping system. He called strengthening of coordination and accountability of all UN agencies one of the main prerequisites of effective peacekeeping.
“We are confident that active involvement and engagement of new countries in UN peacekeeping, including through co-deployments, would bring in fresh vigour and greater efficiency for peace operations,” said Umarov.
Key to successful positioning
Thus, Kazakhstan’s peacekeeping initiatives are increasingly resonating at the global level.
The authority of President Nursultan Nazarbayev and the country as a whole are the key to the successful international mediation of the country, while the role of medium-sized states in such efforts will be objectively more prominent in the future. This was stated by Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, in his remarks at the 13th annual Bled Strategic Forum held in Slovenia on Sept. 10-11 under the title Bridging the Divide.
Speaking at the panel session Mediation in a New Multipolar World – Between Expectations and Reality, Vassilenko informed the forum participants about the priorities of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy aimed at cooperation and development of multilateral diplomacy, as well as a peaceful and, preferably, preventive settlement of conflicts.
In this regard, he noted that since its independence Kazakhstan had made a significant contribution to strengthening international security, as well as resolving crises by engaging in peaceful negotiations through political and diplomatic means.
The Kazakh diplomat underlined that Astana stands for a peaceful settlement in conflict zones in accordance with international law by adopting existing international mechanisms. Our country’s chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), as well as the support of the international community for the initiative of Nazarbayev to convene the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), were illustrative of the recognition of Kazakhstan’s role as a regional mediator in today’s world.
“The peacemaking efforts of our President are based on his personal convictions and position. Thanks to his efforts, relations between different countries are less tense,” said Vassilenko.
President’s international standing
Thanks in no small part to the personal mediation efforts of the Kazakh President, relations between the leaders of Russia and Turkey were normalised in 2016 and the Astana Process on Syria was launched in early 2017.
In this respect, the participants were interested in learning about the Astana Process. The Kazakh diplomat noted that the main achievement of the ten rounds of negotiations that had taken place so far was creating a trilateral mechanism for monitoring ceasefire and de-escalation zones in Syria, as well as a working group for the exchange of detainees, transfer of bodies of the deceased and search for missing persons.
The meeting demonstrated the strong interest of all participating states in interregional interaction and continuing active dialogue in the proposed format, as well as in greater cooperation with Kazakhstan.
Speaking at the panel session, Helga Schmid, secretary general of the European External Action Service (EEAS), who was directly involved in long-term negotiations on the Iranian nuclear programme, commended Kazakhstan’s constructive role both in the international six-plus-one party talks and in the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which had become their outcome document.
Recognition of anti-nuclear efforts
The closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site on Aug. 29, 1991 by the historic decree of Nazarbayev and the subsequent courageous decision of the head of state to voluntarily renounce the world’s fourth largest nuclear arsenal have become Kazakhstan’s unique contribution to global disarmament. Kazakhstan was the initiator and co-author of the Universal Declaration on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2015. At Kazakhstan’s initiative, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution to declare Aug. 29 as the International Day against Nuclear Tests.
The agreement between Kazakhstan and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on establishing the Low Enriched Uranium Bank in the republic signed on Aug. 27, 2015 in Astana was another important initiative stressing Kazakhstan’s contribution to the safe and peaceful use of nuclear energy.
This decision, aimed at creating the necessary fuel reserves for the nuclear power industry, greatly reduces the risks of uncontrolled proliferation of dual-use technologies and, therefore, the contribution of Kazakhstan to the solution of this problem is valued by the international community.
For example, at the 70th session of the General Assembly, Nazarbayev spoke in favour of the creation of nuclear weapon-free zones (by that time such a zone had been created in Central Asia) in various regions of the world, in particular in the Middle East. In addition, he raised the issue of strengthening confidence between states in security matters.
Activities for the benefit of civilisation
The Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions is an important initiative of President Nazarbayev. The first congress was held in 2003, and since then, this forum has become a unique platform for dialogue and interaction between the East and the West. Thus, Kazakhstan is recognised by the global community as an important international centre for inter-civilisational and inter-religious dialogue. At the Fifth Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions held in June 2015, the dialogue on the interaction of religions and their role in global development was continued, showing a general deep interest in cooperation for the sake of stability and security in the world community. In addition, the declaration of the congress was also agreed and adopted, reflecting the common or similar approaches of all its participants to the vital issues of our life.
Over the years of holding this important forum, Astana was visited by a great number of well-known politicians and religious figures and they all praised the initiative of Nursultan Nazarbayev to organise this dialogue platform. According to the President, mutual attraction of peoples, mutual studying of languages, cultures and the spiritual world and development of trade and good-neighbourliness lasts more than any inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflicts generated by a wrong policy. The model of inter-ethnic and inter-religious harmony, built in Kazakhstan owing to the balanced policy of the head of state, proves the effectiveness of the principles laid down in the activities of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.
Valuable contribution to development of Central Asia
In 2008, the Astana Economic Forum was founded. Thousands of its delegates from different countries regularly discuss topical issues of the world and regional agendas.
For the first time in history, a post-Soviet state has headed the OSCE. The OSCE summit was held in Astana in December 2010 and became the finale of Kazakhstan’s chairmanship mission in this organisation. The Astana meeting was an attempt to bring back the interrupted tradition of holding summits – the summit was organised for the first time after the last similar forum held 11 years ago.
The meeting was attended by 30 heads of state and government as well as high representatives of all 56 OSCE participating states. As a result, the Astana Declaration was adopted, reaffirming the norms, principles and obligations which lie at the heart of this organisation. In general, a great role was played by Kazakhstan’s chairmanship in the OSCE and the foreign ministers meeting of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, which, on the initiative of Kazakhstan, was transformed into the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)expands its borders and has high standing in the world. Kazakhstan has made very important steps and efforts in order for the international community to take real action to address and eradicate the causes of conflicts and acute problems in the world. The main method – preventive diplomacy and promotion of the principles of humanity and cooperation – was proposed.
Pointing to the inefficiency of the G20 and G8 formats, in December 2011 President Nazarbayev proposed creating a new communicative platform – G-Global. He announced this initiative at a meeting devoted to the 20th anniversary of the independence of Kazakhstan.
According to Nazarbayev, the G-Global platform should ensure the fairness of global decision-making. In addition, the President expressed an opinion that world politics today should develop new global principles.
In 2011, Kazakhstan headed the most important association in the Islamic world –a Organisation of the Islamic Conference, which includes 57 Muslim-majority states. Kazakhstan has become a real, active participant in strengthening stability and security in the world in addressing the Turkish-Russian contradictions, as well as a platform for resolving the Syrian crisis, which gained the name Astana Process.
On a competitive basis, Kazakhstan was elected as a member of the UN Security Council for 2017-2018. President Nazarbayev proposed convening a high-level international conference to discuss all these vital issues. Kazakhstan proposed developing the Global Strategic Initiative Plan 2045 to address the causes of wars and conflicts in the world, devoted to and reachable by the 100th anniversary of the United Nations.
The author is an observer with Liter newspaper.