Photo: Kairat Umarov, Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the UN and President of the Security Council for the month of January, speaks to press following Security Council consultations on the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) and other matters. 22 January 2018. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Loey Felipe - Photo: 2018

Kazakhstan Persistently Pursuing Peace and Security Agenda

By Santo D. Banerjee

NEW YORK (IDN) – Four months before Kazakhstan’s eventful two-year non-permanent membership of the Security Council comes to an end, the Central Asian Republic continues to make its presence felt in an organ of the United Nations, which has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

2018 began with Kazakhstan, as the first Central Asian country ever, assuming presidency of the Council during the month of January with the aim to make a feasible contribution to the peaceful settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli confrontation, conflicts in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Central Asia, the de-escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and the resolution of crises in Africa and Asia.

This was in continuation of the work Kazakhstan had been doing in 2017, the first year of its Security Council membership, aimed at implementing seven priorities: achieving a world free of nuclear weapons; eliminating the threat of a global war and settling local conflicts; promoting the interests of Central Asia while strengthening regional security and cooperation; countering terrorism; peace and security in Africa; ensuring an inextricable link between security and sustainable development; and adapting the Security Council and the entire UN system to the threats and challenges of the 21st century.

Since January 2017, Kazakhstan has been working in three Security Council committees as chairman. These are ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, the Taliban Sanctions Committee, and the Committee concerning Somalia and Eritrea.

In the summer months, Kazakh Ambassador Kairat Umarov, Permament Representative to the UN in New York, has been underlining the Security Council’s vital role in promoting the peaceful settlement of disputes, especially by means of mediation. One effective tool, he told the Council on August 29, 2018 is a regional United Nations presence.

He cited the work of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) and the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS). As indicated in Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, regional organizations are particularly important actors, he said, emphasizing the need for the Organization to strengthen cooperation with those entities.

Ambassador Umarov added that there should be more meaningful participation of women, religious groups and youth in mediation and peace processes, and referred to Kazakhstan’s role as an honest broker in Syrian peace talks and the Iran nuclear deal.

On August 28, during a debate on the Rohingya, who have sought refuge in Bangladesh, he emphasized that they would only start to return home to Myanmar when they have some security and see, among others, tangible progress on citizenship and freedom of movement. Restoring inter-communal trust will be a long-running and challenging process, he said, and encouraged the Government of Myanmar to make every effort to eliminate root causes of the crisis with help from the international community.

He appealed to all Member States, international organizations and others to keep providing support to Bangladesh, and proposed that the Council continue to pay attention to the situation of the Rohingya until it is satisfactorily resolved.

Speaking about the humanitarian crisis in Syria on August 28, he said that to prevent a further deterioration the United Nations must have safe, sustained and unimpeded access to people in need throughout the country, including across conflict lines and in areas that have recently changed control.

The political negotiation process is difficult, he said, stressing however that “diplomacy is the art of possible”. The international community must not lose hope that a political agreement will soon be achieved, not only between parties to the conflict but also between the main players involved.

A most pressing issue is the return of internally displaced persons to their homes, and that of Syrian refugees in other countries to their homeland, he added. State institutions must be preserved, as the destruction of statehood or attempts at forcible change will only add to the chaos.

During a debate on the Democratic Republic of the Congo on August 27, the Kazakh Permanent Representative welcomed President Joseph Kabila’s recent announcement that he will not seek re-election as an important step towards a peaceful transition of power in the country.

Noting the importance of organizing fair, transparent and inclusive elections, Ambassador Umarov stressed that a nationally owned process should be held, with full respect for the sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of the country.

Welcoming the efforts of the national authorities and the Independent National Electoral Commission to prepare for the elections, he noted their contribution towards ensuring that all participants of the political process settle their disputes peacefully.

Further efforts must be made to establish a constructive and inclusive inter-Congolese dialogue in order to achieve political progress and to build confidence in the electoral process, Ambassador Umarov said.

On August 23, the Security Council debated the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) which despite suffering “significant” losses, has morphed from a regional group into a covert global network, with a weakened yet enduring core in Iraq and Syria, as Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General in the United Nations Office of Counter‑Terrorism reported.

The Kazakh Permanent Representative to the UN in New York described changing terrorist tactics as “low-cost” localized terrorism. He said the weakening of ISIL/Da’esh has led to reorientation of the group’s supporters into an “autonomous jihad” in their places of residence, as well as the increased use of improvised explosive devices and drones in suicide attacks.

Exacerbating such tactics is the return of foreign terrorist fighters equipped with skills in mine and explosive warfare, as well as military operations in urban areas, he noted. The greatest such threat in Central Asia is from the largest terrorist groups in northern Afghanistan, who, driven from Iraq, see the South Asian country as a springboard for the creation of a world caliphate, and hence, for the expansion of the so-called Wilayat Khorasan, Ambassador Umarov said.

That group comprises foreign terrorist fighters, as well as former members of the Taliban, East Turkestan Islamic Movement and other groups, he said. Furthermore, the authority of Al-Qaida and its regional branches was growing, and includes Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and Al-Qaida in the Indian Sub-continent.

Kazakhstan, he added, advocates halting drug trafficking and the illegal trade in natural resources, sharing best practices, enhancing the exchange of biometric information on terrorists, exchanging best practices on supressing terrorist ideas on the Internet, and proactive measures to counter self-radicalization.

Michel Kafando, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Burundi asked the Security Council on August 9 to appeal to all sides in the East African nation to participate – in good faith – in a fifth and potentially final inter‑Burundi dialogue that would build on recent developments and, hopefully, take place as soon as possible.

Ambassador Umarov commended the President of Burundi’s decision not to seek another term, saying that will contribute to peace and security. Hopefully the 2020 elections will be fair and transparent with the participation of all stakeholders, he said.

Only such an approach would ensure a durable peace, which should be supported by the international community. He stressed the importance of the efforts of the African Union and East African Community, and of the facilitator and the mediator.

While the security situation remains generally calm, a large number of internally displaced persons and refugees need assistance, he said, adding that the Council, the UN and other organisations must constantly address the issue in a collective fashion. He added that close coordination between the United Nations, African Union and sub-regional structures would have a significant impact. [IDN-InDepthNews – 31 August 2018]

Photo: Kairat Umarov, Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the UN and President of the Security Council for the month of January, speaks to press following Security Council consultations on the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) and other matters. 22 January 2018. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate. –

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top