By J Nastranis
NEW YORK (IDN) – As Kazakhstan ends its two-year tenure as non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo has “appreciated the leadership” the Central Asian country “has brought to the world stage on regional security and development issues, particularly with respect to Afghanistan.”
He also expressed “appreciation to the Government of Kazakhstan for deploying its first peacekeeping force to assist the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon.” In press remarks on the occasion of the country’s 27 years of independence on December 16, Pompeo said: “Kazakhstan has assumed a key role on the global stage as a partner in ensuring peace and stability, and in promoting economic development and connectivity in Central Asia and beyond.”
Kazakhstan’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, Ambassador Kairat Umarov has on his part expressed appreciation of the NGO Working Group on the United Nations Security Council for supporting the Kazakh delegation in several ways during the Central Asian state’s two-year tenure as a non-permanent member of the Council for 2017-2018.
Ambassador Umarov met the Working Group comprising 37 major international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) three weeks before Kazakhstan’s membership of one of the six principal organs the world body charged with the maintenance of international peace and security ends on December 31.
They discussed diverse peace, security and humanitarian issues that have been on top of Kazakhstan’s agenda.
“Kazakhstan has always acted impartially and objectively in the UN Security Council. We have accomplished a lot during these two years. The successful work is evidenced by the achievement of all the priorities, which were outlined by President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev in January 2017,” Ambassador Umarov told the NGO representatives.
He spoke about the outcomes of Kazakhstan’s work on the Security Council with regard to each of the seven priorities and achievements made possible due to the efforts of Kazakhstan.
“We are open to dialogue with you and are ready to continue close contacts and partnership on all key issues on the global and regional agenda,” the Ambassador said, adding that Kazakhstan’s commitment to NGOs is steadfast into the future now and beyond.
Since the Security Council’s decisions affect nearly all NGO constituencies – including human rights, humanitarian relief, disarmament, governance, and the concerns of women and children – the Working Group maintains a diverse membership.
Due in part to the diversity of its membership, the NGO Working Group as a whole does not undertake specific advocacy positions, but rather provides a forum for NGOs and members of the Security Council to come together to exchange information and build relationships for bilateral advocacy.
When Kazakhstan joined the Council on January 1, 2017 as a non-permanent member, President Nursultan Nazarbayev pledged “adapting the . . .Council and the entire UN system to the threats and challenges of the 21st century.”
“We will seek to strengthen the understanding of Security Council members on the importance of creating a renewed model of international relations that accurately reflects the realities of the 21st century and shapes a collective responsibility for meeting global and regional challenges,” President Nazarbayev declared.
Though a non-permanent member for two years, Kazakhstan has been in fact actively involved in the Council’s deliberations– also as chair of three crucial Sanctions Committees: ISIL (Da’esh) and Al- Qaida; the Taliban; and Somalia and Eritrea.
As President of the UNSC, head of the delegation of Kazakhstan to the UN – its Permanent Representative, the Kazakh Foreign Minister or President – were responsible for calling the Council meetings, approving the provisional agenda (proposed by the Secretary-General), presiding at its meetings, and overseeing any crisis.
The Kazakh presidency issued both Presidential Statements (subject to consensus among Council members) and notes, which were used to make declarations of intent that the full Security Council could then pursue. The President also spoke to the press on behalf of the Security Council.
The Security Council’s representatives of 15 countries had reviewed the programme of Kazakhstan’s presidency for the month ahead on January 2.
The Council has five permanent members (P5): China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The 10 non-permanent members in 2018 are: Bolivia, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, and Sweden.
In response to a proposal by Kazakhstan, the Security Council for the first time held an official ceremony where the flags of Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Peru and Poland were flown to honour their assuming the responsibilities as new non-permanent members of the Council for the next two years.
The Security Council thematic debate entitled ‘WMD Non-proliferation: Confidence-building Measures,’ chaired by President Nazarbayev, on January 18 also aroused great interest.
Achieving a world free of nuclear weapons, and eliminating the threat of a global war and settling local conflicts was among priorities of the Kazakh Security Council presidency.
The Council held a ministerial-level debate on the threats to international peace and security on January 19 focusing on ‘Building a Regional Partnership in Afghanistan and Central Asia as a Model to Link Security and Development.’ The Foreign ministers of Central Asian countries and Afghanistan as well as the heads of foreign policy establishments of the Security Council member states participated.
The Council’s quarterly open debate was organised on January 25 to discuss “the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question,” which focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Permanent representatives of UN member states joined.
In addition, as every year, the Council under Kazakh presidency in January 2018 hosted open and closed-door discussions on situations in conflict-ridden countries such as Syria, Libya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, the region of Darfur, West Africa and Sahel, South Sudan, Mali, Somalia, Cyprus and Colombia. These brought forth several important Security Council resolutions and presidential statements. [IDN-InDepthNews – 24 December 2018]
Photo: Kazakh Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, Ambassador Umarov (2nd from right on the right of the table), discusses with NGOs at the Kazakh UN Mission the Central Asian country’s achievements as non-permanent Security Council member for 2017-2018. Credit: Kazakh Mission to the UN in New Yok.
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