Destination Astana: OSCE CiO Finalizes His Ideas Ahead of Summit
Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev set out an ambitious vision for our 2010 OSCE Chairmanship. But I believe that it was only by aiming high that we have been able to build momentum and reach the consensus needed to achieve results. It has taken a year of hard work and many discussions to bring us all to this point – the first OSCE Summit in 11 years.
For Kazakhstan as chair of the OSCE, one of our first responsibilities was to take forward the Corfu Process, a dialogue launched six months earlier by the Greek Chairmanship to rebuild trust between OSCE States so that real progress could be made on issues of common concern. During our Chairmanship we have given substance to the Corfu Process through regular meetings on substantive issues. These discussions shaped the agenda first for the informal meeting of foreign ministers that took place in Almaty in July, and now for the Summit.
The Summit, of course, is not an end in itself. But in an organization such as ours, which works to prevent, mediate and solve conflicts, such events are part of the process of building confidence and reflect the level of states’ commitment to achieving progress. The fact that all our States have agreed to send their highest representatives to my country is an important symbol of renewal – not just of the Organization, but more importantly of the relations between our States. Communication is the lifeblood of diplomacy – the way we solve our problems. In one year, we have changed the vocabulary of our conversations. We now speak of a single security community, encompassing the whole Euroatlantic and Eurasian region.
Confidence is built not just by talking to each other, but by understanding one another and working together. I believe that during this year in which Kazakhstan has stepped up to its responsibilities as an international leader, the other 55 OSCE States have got to know us better and realized the contribution we can make.
We have shown that the OSCE is truly an organization of equals, and that countries east and west of Vienna, large and small, have a valuable contribution to make. When some of the most pressing issues facing our Organization relate to Central Asia and Afghanistan, the value of having a Central Asian Chairmanship with an intimate understanding of its neighbours has been demonstrated. The tragic events earlier this year in Kyrgyzstan reminded us of the value of the OSCE’s role as a forum for dialogue, and the importance of building long-term mutual trust within it so that we can take joint decisions for prompt action when needed.
Throughout the year we have held several additional high-level and expert meetings that reflect the breath of the challenges that we face – from transnational threats to environmental and economic issues and fundamental freedoms. Last summer we held a high-level conference on tolerance in Astana. We also organized an event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Copenhagen Document – the OSCE’s landmark human rights document – in the Danish capital. In September we held an expert meeting in Vienna to exchange experience on electronic voting. The potential OSCE contribution to energy security was discussed at an expert meeting in Vilnius, while in October we hosted a high-level conference on combating terrorism.
Kazakhstan’s Chairmanship will soon be drawing to a close and will be passing the responsibility of leadership to Lithuania. I believe that we will be handing over an Organization that has more direction, purpose and optimism. The motto of our Chairmanship has been the four Ts - tolerance, tradition, trust, transparency. We have given attention to all of them this year, but perhaps it is in the area of trust that we have achieved the most – because trust is a prerequisite for a meeting such as this, and that trust has sadly been lacking for the past decade.
While we will pass on the task of seeing through the decisions participating States take at the Summit, the responsibility for seizing the momentum we have built lies with not just the Chairmanships, present and future, but ultimately with all 56 States. We will lay the groundwork, here in Astana – the challenge now is for all of us to seize this opportunity for building a more secure future.
OSCE Officials, NGOs Gather in Astana for Final Part of Review Conference
The third and final part of the OSCE Review Conference, which focuses on the human dimension of security, began in Astana today and concludes Sunday. Previous parts of the Conference, held in Warsaw and Vienna, focused
on the human, economic-environmental and politico-military dimensions of security.
Topics in focus at the Astana segment include freedom of the media, intolerance against migrants, combating human trafficking, particularly trafficking of children.
Madina Jarbussynova, Ambassador-at-large for Kazakhstan, which holds the 2010 OSCE Chairmanship, said the discussion of human-rights related matters at the Review Conference «unfortunately indicate that human rights are still violated in the OSCE region. The discussion of various aspects of these challenging issues will help us assess the situation and develop concrete operating mechanisms».
Dunja Mijatovic, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, called on OSCE participating States to use the Summit to reaffirm their media freedom commitments with today's reality in mind, including commitments to ensure that the Internet remains an open and public forum for freedom of opinion and expression.
«We are far from achieving it. More and more governments in the OSCE area harm media freedom by curbing the rights of those who use new - or traditional - media to present critical, satirical, controversial and provocative views,. she said. .It seems that policy makers in many OSCE countries not only want to apply the same restrictions to the Internet as to traditional media; they even favour the adoption if especially restrictive laws to control a medium that is, by its nature, uncontrollable».
States should use proportional responses that are in line with democratic requirements to deal with legitimate concerns about harmful content, or Internet use to conduct crimes, she said. Mijatovic also discussed the switch from analogue to digital broadcasting, saying handling this correctly could result in «a media landscape that protects plurality of opinion and freedom of expression».
«Well-informed people make well-informed decisions, which are the indispensable foundation that democracies build upon,» she said.
During the 17-day Review Conference, which started in September, representatives from OSCE participating States and more than 500 non-governmental organizations review how OSCE countries are fulfilling the commitments they have undertaken to prepare for the 1-2 December OSCE Summit, also to be held in Astana.
Kazakhstan to Hold SCO Day in 2011 Evaluating Organisation’s Role
Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Karim Massimov announced holding a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) day in Kazakhstan in May 2011, which will summarise the economic cooperation within the SCO over the 10 years since its
foundation. He also urged his SCO counterparts to expedite the creation of the SCO Development Fund at a meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of Government (CHG) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on November 25.
In addition to Massimov, the Prime Ministers of Russia — Vladimir Putin, China — Wen Jiabao, Tajikistan — Akil Akilov, as well as Kyrgyzstan’s President and Acting Prime Minister Roza Otunbayeva, and Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Batir Khodjayev took part in the meeting.
Its agenda included discussions of economic, security, and humanitarian cooperation in the SCO, prospects of the SCO Business Council and Interbank Association, and implementation of the SCO Programme for multilateral trade and economic partnership adopted in 2003.
The SCO day will take place in the framework of the upcoming Astana Economic Forum planned for May 3-5, according to Massimov. In addition to evaluating the organisation’s role in the economic and trade cooperation, the member states will be able to identify promising areas of cooperation during that event.
Meanwhile, Massimov stressed the organisation’s effectiveness in economic cooperation. He reminded the Council how a joint initiative to combat the effects of the global financial crisis adopted at the last meeting of SCO prime ministers in Beijing helped the member states to move toward sustainable economic growth and improve living standards.
«The SCO is becoming a promising platform for strengthening joint cooperation and coordination in trade and economic sphere, as well as overcoming the global financial crisis,» Massimov said.
«In order to mobilise resources to stimulate multilateral cooperation and finance joint projects within the SCO, we should accelerate the launch of the SCO Development Fund special accounts,» Massimov said. «In our view, this fund could help overcome a number of financial difficulties in the future complicating the timely implementation of economic projects within the organisation».
The establishment of the SCO Development Fund was the 2009 SCO prime ministers meeting’s main initiative. The purpose of the fund is to further strengthen the financial cooperation between member states.
Kazakhstan also urged its counterparts to accelerate the adoption of the SCO agreements on other issues such as the creation of favourable conditions for international road transport, combating illegal migration, counter-narcotics strategy for 2011-2016, and cooperation in healthcare.
«Investment cooperation is one of the organisation’s priorities, especially in the fields of transport infrastructure, development of new transit routes, agriculture, high technology, machine building, and other areas of interaction,» according to Massimov.
Thus, the organization must actively use the potential of the SCO Business Council and Interbank Association in order to ensure effective financial and economic support for joint projects, the Kazakh official added.
«In conclusion, I would like to note that Kazakhstan is ready for close cooperation with SCO member states and observers in maintaining security, stability, and prosperity of our organization. We are ready to further continue joint efforts to solve common problems in the SCO,» Massimov said.
At the end of the meeting, the attendees issued a joint communique evaluating the organisation’s work over the past year and formulating common approaches for further work.
The Council signed a package of other documents as well. These include the SCO Secretariat’s report on the implementation of the Programme for multilateral trade and economic cooperation of the SCO states, the SCO financial accounts on the 2009 budget, and the organization’s budget for 2011; and a few others.
On November 24, Massimov met Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rakhmon and attended a Kazakh-Tajik business forum.
«First, we discussed basic issues of mutual economic and trade cooperation; then, the situation in the region, as well as cooperation in the field of water and energy resources,» Massimov said at a briefing after the meeting with the Tajik leader.
As a result of the business forum, the two countries signed an agreement and launched a direct investments fund that will be able to finance several projects both in Tajikistan and in Central Asia as a whole. The authorised capital stock amounted to US$ 80 million.
More than 30 major Kazakh companies attended the business forum. Many of them have expressed interest in starting projects in Tajikistan’s various sectors of economy. A large number of Tajik entrepreneurs came to the forum as well.
Source: ASTANA CALLING
Also in the "In Depth"
09.01.2013 2012 marked by multiple events in Kazakhstan