Analysis by J Nastranis
NEW YORK (IDN) – As the UN Security Council inches closer to the election of five non-permanent members on June 28, participants of the Istanbul Summit have urged the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries to support Kazakhstan’s bid for 2017-2018 membership.
Five new non-permanent members are scheduled to be elected for a two-year term, beginning January 2017: one for Africa; one for the Asia-Pacific Group; one for Latin America and the Caribbean; and two for the ‘Western European and Others Group’ (WEOG).
Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands are bidding for two seats due to the amorphous WEOG. Kenya, Ethiopia and Seychelles are vying for a single seat available to Africa. Kazakhstan and Thailand are pitted against each other for one seat allocated for the Asia-Pacific Group.
According to the Security Council website, there are no UN Charter-specified qualifications for membership. But positive factors that are informally taken into account in electing Security Council members are: “troop contributions to UN peacekeeping operations, peacekeeping experience and record; representation of a significant demographic group; experience in international leadership; and financial contributions to the UN budget”.
Negative factors are: domestic insecurity; and a current campaign for other offices or seats.
While Thailand chairs the 134-nation Group of 77 and China and is campaigning on the basis of its own merits, Kazakhstan, which announced its candidature in 2013, has grounded its bid on four central pillars: food security, water security, energy security and nuclear security.
“As a regional leader and global partner in matters of energy security, and a valuable contributor to international peacekeeping missions, Kazakhstan wishes to bring its unique experience and expertise to bear on some of the pressing challenges currently facing the UNSC,” declares the Kazakh Permanent Mission to the UN in New York.
Kazakhstan became a member state of the United Nations in March 1992, nearly three months after gaining Independence from the now defunct Soviet Union, and has been an active and engaged participant in the activities of the UN ever since.
Speaking to the April 10-15 summit in Istanbul, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev addressed several important issues to underscore the merits of his country’s bid for a non-permanent UN Security Council seat.
The Summit was held under the motto ‘Unity and solidarity in the name of justice and peace’. It was attended by representatives of 56 member-states including more than 30 heads of states and governments.
The Kazakh President referred to the problems OIC member-states were faced with. These included poor performance of the Human Development Index index (HDI), lack of investment, low access to services of education and medicine. The complexity of data seriously hampered the further development of many countries in the Islamic world, he said.
Nazarbayev stressed that the main threats to the Muslim Ummah (an Arabic word meaning a supra-national community) with a common history are internal conflicts and clashes.
In particular, 11 member-states of the OIC are experiencing similar difficulties. Such states as Libya and Syria which were recently considered as prosperous are now virtually destroyed. Iraq still suffers from the consequences of war. The Islamic world is under threat of division into Sunnis and Shiites.
The Kazakh President said the Islamic world should not to participate in the arms race and violate the nuclear non-proliferation regime. In this context he stressed that Kazakhstan supports the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons, which has eluded an agreement.
Nazarbayev noted that today 15 OIC member-states are under pressure of international terrorists. Millions of Muslims have become refugees who are seeking shelter in different parts of the world.
He pointed out that there are many countries in the world with predominantly Muslim populations who live in peace and harmony with representatives of different religions and cultures. Kazakhstan was a case in point.
Representatives of 17 religions and more than 100 ethnic groups make up a single peaceful and stable nation. He said the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan (APK) serves as a successfully developed national model of shared responsibility and support.
Established in 1995, the APK consists of delegates of the regional assemblies of the People. It is tasked with representing the various ethnic groups that make up the 17 million population of the multi-ethnic Central Asian state of Kazakhstan at national level.
In addition, within the last 15 years Kazakhstan regularly hosts Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. The country would be playing a critical role in Religions for Peace Forum under the aegis of the UN in New York City on May 6, 2016.
Nazarbayev also drew attention to the establishment of a dialogue between opposing groups of Syria. He added that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation should provide support for the truce.
According to Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan participates in the resolution of conflicts in many countries. “Thus, our country has actively participated in the peacekeeping mission in Iraq, Afghanistan, assisted and facilitated the solution of the problem of Iran’s nuclear program. At the initiative of Kazakhstan and under the auspices of the UN New York and Astana have held forums dedicated to peace and fighting terrorism.”
The Kazakh President pointed out that Islam and progress must march in lockstep. He proposed to consistently implement the general agreement on trade and economic and technical cooperation of the OIC member-states and establish in the future the free trade area of the organization.
Secondly, he recommended developing and implementing a strategic project called ‘Islamic Infrastructure Integration’.
Thirdly, given the dynamic development of such areas as alternative energy, biotechnology, materials science, Nazarbayev invited to consider the possibility of holding OIC Summit on Science and Technology in Astana (2017).
He paid special attention to the one-sided coverage of the terrorist attacks and related Islamophobia, and he proposed the creation of a permanent forum on the subject.
A number of Kazakhstan’s initiatives were supported and included in the OIC summit’s final communique. The document called on all member states to continue work to finalise and adopt a comprehensive convention against terrorism, as well as take into account the country’s proposal to establish a global coalition against terrorism under the auspices of the UN.
The OIC Summit also welcomed the creation of the Islamic Organisation for Food Security (IOFS) as a new specialised body of the OIC. The new institution’s inaugural General Assembly session is scheduled to take place in Astana on April 28, it was earlier reported. [IDN-InDepthNews – 25 April 2016]
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Photo: OIC Summit. Credit: The Astana Times