Photo: Erlan Idrissov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-first session on 22 September 2016. Credit: UN Photo/Cia Pak - Photo: 2016

Kazakhstan Stresses Diverse Initiatives at General Assembly

By J Nastranis

NEW YORK (IDN) – Ahead of joining the Security Council in January 2017 as its non-permanent member for two years, the Kazakh delegation has availed of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly to highlight in general debate as well as in multilateral and bilateral events the Central Asian country’s plans and perspectives.

Addressing the General Assembly on September 24, Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov said: “We take our election to the Security Council as an international recognition of the soundness and maturity of our foreign policy and a deserved achievement of our independence.”

The fact that Kazakhstan was elected on June 28 from the Asia-Pacific Group is significant also because it is the first time that a Central Asian country has been voted as a member of the Security Council.

Kazakhstan will serve on the Council for two years beginning January 1, 2017 as one of the 10 non-permanent members along with Sweden, Bolivia and Ethiopia. The Security Council has 15 members, including five permanent members, each with the power of veto: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Other current non-permanent members are Japan, Egypt, Senegal, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Idrissov pointed out that this year Kazakhstan celebrates the 25th anniversary of its independence from the then Soviet Union. “I remember that back in 1991 some observers doubted Kazakhstan’s ability to survive as a sovereign nation given its multi-ethnic, religiously-diverse population, an unbalanced economy and the huge material and moral burden in the form of military infrastructure and a nuclear arsenal,” Idrissov said.

“That legacy was a challenge which we managed to turn into an opportunity,” he added. Over the last quarter of a century, Kazakhstan has completed a journey from a country non-existent on the political map to a stable middle-income nation and a respected member of the international community – as evidenced by the country’s election to the Security Council.

The foreign minister emphasized that Kazakhstan’s foreign policy is a reflection of the country’s deep-rooted belief in the power of discourse. “A call for dialogue is the central message of President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s Manifesto ‘The World. The 21st Century,’ which has been distributed as an official document of the Security Council and General Assembly,” he said.

The manifesto offers a realistic take on the world and spells out an ambitious vision based on unity rather than division, on cooperation rather than rivalry, Idrissov said.

In this context, he recalled another of Nazarbayev’s initiatives to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons by the UN’s 100th anniversary in 2045.

Kazakhstan tabled resolution 70/57 on the Universal Declaration for the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World, which was supported by the majority of UN Member States and adopted on December 8, 2015.

It outlines the basic principles and objectives of nuclear disarmament, and urges that bold steps be taken, including the adoption of a legally binding international instrument to prohibit and destroy all nuclear weapons as well as to establish a Global Anti-Nuclear Movement aimed at nuclear disarmament.

Idrissov reported on the results of the international conference dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, held on August 29, 2016 in Astana. He also alerted the international community to the Astana Peace Summit to be convened in November.

The conference titled ‘Building a Nuclear Weapon-Free World’ was co-hosted by the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (PNND).

“The vision of a nuclear-weapon free world inspired the leader of Kazakhstan, President Nursultan Nazarbayev, long before it was announced by President Obama in his now famous Prague speech of 2009,” said Jayantha Dhanapala a former UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs and the current President of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Pugwash Conferences on Science & World Affairs.

At the United Nations headquarters in New York, Idrissov took part in the Eighth Ministerial Meeting in support of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and confirmed Kazakhstan’s strong commitment to promote the signing and ratification of the CTBT to ensure its early entry into force.

The meeting was also addressed by the foreign ministers of Japan, Germany, Canada, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, Argentina, the Netherlands, Finland, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Swaziland as well as Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Dr Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission.

Kazakhstan and Japan are co-chairing the Article XIV Conference of the CTBT in 2015-2017, whose purpose is to advance the treaty’s entry into force.

Kazakhstan co-sponsored along with the United States a Security Council resolution that was adopted on September 23 reinforcing the de facto global ban on nuclear weapons testing established 20 years ago.

The Kazakh delegation also took part in the ceremony of depositing instruments of ratification of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Kazakhstan signed this important international document on August 2 and confirmed its commitment to complete the ratification process by the end of this year.

The Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to the UN hosted the Ministerial Meeting of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States. Its participants discussed preparations to the Sixth Summit of the Turkic Council in Bishkek later this year and coordinated promotion of common interests at the international platforms, including the UN.

Kazakhstan convened an informal meeting of foreign ministers from Central Asia, where they discussed international and regional issues. Participants also considered opportunities to promote common interests in light Kazakhstan’s membership in the UN Security Council in 2017-2018.

Idrissov also discussed bilateral cooperation and interaction during multilateral platforms with his counterparts from Austria, Bolivia, Canada, the EU, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Ukraine.

Kazakhstan and Ethiopia signed a memorandum on political consultations between their foreign ministries.

Idrissov availed of the opportunity offered by the General Assembly, joined by leaders from around the world, to discussed preparations for the First Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit on Science and Technology with OIC Secretary GeneralIyad Ameen Madani. The summit will take place September 2017 in Astana.

Idrissov and the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All Rachel Kyte discussed cooperation on preparations for EXPO 2017 in Astana. [IDN-InDepthNews – 25 September 2016]

Related article: Kazakhstan Leads the Way to a Nuclear-Weapon Free World

Photo: Erlan Idrissov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-first session on 22 September 2016. Credit: UN Photo/Cia Pak

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.

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