Kazakhstan takes over OSCE Chair
Kazakhstan took over the Chairmanship of the OSCE today and reaffirmed its commitment to uphold the fundamental principles and values of the Organization, to proceed according to the interests of all participating States and to strengthen the role of the OSCE as a significant platform for dialogue contributing to security in the wider Eurasian space.
"Kazakhstan is the first Central Asian and former Soviet State to chair the Organization. This is evidence that the principle of equality among the participating States remains valid, as well as recognition of the increasing role of Kazakhstan in a strategically important region and in the OSCE generally," said the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Kazakhstan's Secretary of State and Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev.
"As OSCE Chair, Kazakhstan will seek to bring closer the positions of participating States both west and east of Vienna, based on the principles of impartiality and balance, and to advance the Organization's role in strengthening security and deepening co-operation in the area from Vancouver to Vladivostok."
He added: "We will continue the Corfu Process, and will try to give new impetus to OSCE efforts to stabilize the situation in areas of protracted conflicts, and to seek their resolution; develop international transport corridors; and promote tolerance and mutual understanding. Kazakhstan intends to work actively with all partners in the OSCE on preparing and holding an OSCE Summit in the year of the 65th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, the 35th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act and the 20th anniversary of the Charter of Paris for a New Europe."
Saudabayev took over the Chairmanship from Greek Prime Minister and Foreign Minister George Papandreou, whose country chaired the OSCE in 2009.
"I would like to express my gratitude to Prime Minister George Papandreou for the excellent conduct of the OSCE Chairmanship," Saudabayev said. "I should also like to welcome Lithuania and Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas to the Chairmanship Troika," he said.
The new Chairperson-in-Office will outline the Kazakh Chairmanship's priorities in a speech on 14 January in Vienna to the Permanent Council, a key OSCE decision-making body.