Remarks by Minister of Foreign Affairs Beibut Atamkulov at Mazhilis of Parliament of Kazakhstan on main results of Kazakhstan's activities as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council
March 4, 2019, 10.00
Main Results of Kazakhstan's activities in the UN Security Council in 2017-2018
Dear Mr. Bozhko, dear Members of the Mazhilis,
On December 31, 2018, we completed our two-year membership in the Security Council, the main body of the United Nations, which is responsible for maintaining international peace and security.
Our work was designed to fully implement the Political Address of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev to the Council title “Kazakhstan's Concept Vision on Sustaining Global Partnership for a Secure, Just and Prosperous World", which was based on the President's manifesto “The World. The 21st Century".
I can state with confidence that Kazakhstan has successfully fulfilled its mission, implementing all the priorities outlined by the President, and the responsible and persuasive stance of our country has been highly appreciated by the entire international community.
In these matters, we relied on the well-coordinated work of all government agencies, as well as you, Members of Parliament. I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to express our sincere gratitude to you for your conscientious legislative work and active political support at an international level.
Dear Members of the Mazhilis,
Our membership in the Security Council coincided with an unprecedented level of tension in global political processes and the exacerbation of disagreements between world powers.
The deep crisis of trust has had a most negative effect on the willingness of states to cooperate and the effectiveness of the Council's activities as a whole. Acute crises and conflicts in the Middle East, Syria, Africa, North Korea, Iran, Ukraine and other countries have repeatedly tested the strength of our foreign policy approaches.
I am convinced that stress tests within the Security Council have once again confirmed the cooperativeness and efficacy of President Nazarbayev's foreign policy course. A balanced and peaceful foreign policy, based on the principles of pragmatism and mutually acceptable compromises to strengthen international peace and security, allowed us to strategically position ourselves, enrich our partnerships, including with the nuclear powers, and strengthen the political standing of Kazakhstan.
Astana's message is clear – an inclusive dialogue between leading powers is needed to overcome “bloc mentality" and reach consensus on key issues on the world agenda.
There is no doubt that the achievements during Kazakhstan's time on the Security Council were reached largely due to the active foreign policy of the President and his principled peaceful initiatives.
In 2017-2018 alone, the President conducted 24 foreign visits, including to the capitals of the Security Council permanent members, while countless talks were held with world leaders on the most pressing issues. The agreements reached following high-level meetings at the level of the President laid a solid foundation for the daily hard work of our diplomats.
Dear Members of Mazhilis,
Now let me tell you about our work in the Security Council.
I. The thematic briefing on “Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction: Confidence-Building Measures" chaired by the President, held on January 18, 2018, was the pinnacle of our work in the Security Council.
For the first time, the President of Kazakhstan chaired the Security Council and spoke in the state language in the Security Council's official chamber.
Based on the experience of Kazakhstan, the President decided to dedicate his speech to the particularly important role of trust in strengthening the non-proliferation regime, thereby underlining the attainability of the strategic goal – a world free of nuclear weapons.
The meeting chaired by President Nazarbayev was one of the few recent Security Council events that took place in an atmosphere of mutual understanding and made it possible to consider urgent modern challenges, including the situation on the Korean Peninsula, in a qualitatively new light. This once again demonstrated the statesmanship of the President and his notable peacemaking potential.
Following this discussion, we were able to achieve the adoption of a UNSC Presidential Statement, which for the first time included the topic of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the UN toolkit on conflict prevention and resolution.
II. Kazakhstan has actively worked to resolve conflicts and crises in the Middle East, Africa and other regions of the world. This is in line with the President's vision of preventing and completely eliminating the threat of global war.
This is not an idealistic assessment of reality, but a measured and reasonable strategic goal. It is worth recalling that in 1992, during the 47th session of the General Assembly, delivering the first speech at the United Nations, our President proposed using confidence-building measures to ensure peace and security in Asia.
Not all countries at that time approved the initiative of convening the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA). Today, the Conference has acquired particular relevance and received support from the majority of Asian countries, who are convinced that this organisation is imperative for our current time.
Our reputation as an honest and unbiased mediator has become one of the characteristic features of Kazakh diplomacy. This is clearly proved by the practical results of the Astana process to help resolve the situation in Syria.
Joint efforts with the guarantor countries ensured cessation of hostilities and functioning of de-escalation zones, creating the necessary conditions for the safe return of refugees. Through strengthening confidence-building measures between the opposing parties, we are also working to create a solid foundation for a political settlement of the Syrian conflict through the Geneva platform, under the auspices of the United Nations.
We also managed to achieve tangible results in peacekeeping. In October 2018, a Kazakh peacekeeping company of 120 soldiers in the Indian peacekeeping battalion joined the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Due to this, Kazakhstan has become the largest supplier of peacekeepers in the Eurasian region.
Together with the Ministry of Defence, we obtained certification by the United Nations of the Kazakhstan Peace Training Centre (KAZCENT) in Almaty. In fact, we are building a regional peacekeeping hub, which will only increase in demand in the coming years. We intend to keep substantively working on the implementation of this project.
III. Kazakhstan has persistently advocated the common interests of Central Asia and Afghanistan.
We were guided by the need for a harmonious combination of the interests of all countries in the region, building a model of a regional zone of peace, security, cooperation and development.
The priority on effective “economisation" of international efforts to stabilise Afghanistan, with the Central Asian states playing an active role in this process, has become an innovative recent approach, which was initially proposed by Kazakhstan.
For the first time in seven years, we organised a visit for members of the Security Council to Afghanistan, who saw the situation firsthand and met with the country's leadership, business representatives and the public.
Ministerial debates on Building Regional Partnership in Afghanistan and Central Asia as a Model to Link Security and Development with the participation of the heads of foreign ministries of Central Asia and Afghanistan on January 19, 2018 demonstrated the practical cooperation between the countries of the region to reducing the challenges and threats facing Afghanistan.
Our neighbours in the region appreciated our expression of the common interests of Central Asia in the Security Council, as well as regular consultations on topical issues on the Council's agenda. I would also like to note that many of our neighbours were excited about the idea of becoming future members of this body.
We are confident that such an approach has contributed to the rapprochement of fraternal states, deepening mutual understanding and respect. We consider this a worthy result of our work in the Security Council.
IV. Regarding our fourth priority, Countering International Terrorism, I would like to recall that while delivering a speech at the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, President Nazarbayev proposed creating a Global Counter-Terrorism Coalition of states under the auspices of the Organisation.
As the basis for such a coalition, the President's Political Address to the Security Council member states proposed the adoption of a Code of Conduct towards Achieving a World Free of Terrorism.
In January 2018, we presented this Code at the United Nations, and in September the same year, this document was signed by representatives of 70 states. Today, it brings together 80 countries.
The main objectives of the Code are to achieve a world free of terrorism by 2045 and to create a broad international coalition of counter-terrorism partner countries.
Many countries see Kazakhstan's initiative as an important basis for strengthening international instruments and cooperation in the fight against terrorism, amid a global lack of trust.
Kazakhstan has skilfully supported the work of the important Security Council sanctions committees on ISIL/Daesh, Al-Qaida and the Taliban. We fully engaged with these issues, bringing dynamism to the work of these subsidiary agencies of the Security Council.
I would like to emphasise that Kazakhstan has joined all 19 international instruments in the fight against terrorism. The credit should go to you, Members of Parliament, who have promptly ratified a number of international conventions and protocols.
There is no doubt that the counter-terrorism activities of Kazakhstan in the Security Council support our practical and successful efforts in this area. The recent Zhusan operation is a good example.
V. Around 70 percent of the agenda of the Security Council is devoted to Africa, as the most conflict-prone region. In the post-colonial period in Africa, more than 200 state coups took place, and more than seven million people were killed in 30 large-scale wars and numerous conflicts. To this is added extreme poverty, huge foreign debt, and religious extremist groups.
Kazakhstan, as a mature and responsible member of the world community, did not remain indifferent to addressing the problems facing Africa.
I would like to highlight the effectiveness of our chairmanship of the Sanctions Committee on Somalia and Eritrea. Our efforts to minimise the activities of international terrorist groups in the East African region have had an important catalytic effect on the large-scale process of bringing the countries of the Horn of Africa together. The practical outcome of Kazakhstan's efforts was the lifting of Security Council sanctions against Eritrea, which had been in effect since 2009. As a result, the Committee on Somalia and Eritrea was renamed the Committee on Somalia.
VI. In order to implement the sixth and seventh priorities, Kazakhstan has made a practical contribution to the sustainable development goals, promoted the concept of the connection between security and development, supported changes to the United Nations system for more effective development work, and participated in the transformation of the United Nations into a more transparent and accountable organisation.
In this context, it is important to note the implementation of President Nazarbayev's initiative to establish a United Nations Hub in Almaty.
Today in Almaty, there are 14 programmes and institutions of the United Nations, with international and regional mandates. Thus, our southern capital has de facto become a regional centre of United Nations agencies.
Thanks to the assistance of the Akimat of Almaty, a modern building has been allocated for international organisations in Almaty. The final stage of moving international organisations into this new building is currently underway.
The United Nations Hub in Almaty will work in coordination with the efforts to reform the organisation and, in particular, its development system, at the national, regional and international levels, solving the region's development problems. The centre will coordinate work across sustainable development, humanitarian assistance, and disaster risk reduction.
In coordination with the state agencies of Kazakhstan, a substantial amount of practical work has been done.
The Kazakh delegation participated on a daily basis in the main activities of the Council, and in the meetings of each of the Council's 22 subsidiary bodies, including 15 committees, one coordination body and six working groups. In two years, we took part in more than 1,000 open and closed meetings, nearly 40 informal meetings, more than 20 field trips, contributed to the adoption of 115 resolutions and 48 statements by the President of the Council, and co-authored 22 Security Council documents.
Not only the staff of the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to the UN, but also around 100 diplomats from our central office and foreign missions, as well as more than 70 employees of other state agencies, contributed to our hard work in the main body of the United Nations. We also facilitated contributions of more than 30 Kazakh experts and journalists to the work of the Security Council. This is an invaluable experience.
Dear Mr. Bozhko, dear members of the Mazhilis,
Kazakhstan has wholly fulfilled our potential as a “fair and honest broker", connecting countries on a common platform of mutual understanding and cooperation in solving complex international problems.
The respectful attitude of our country, with President Nazarbayev building Kazakhstan's foreign policy based on trust, respect and partnerships, allowed us to ensure the full implementation of all our priorities in the Security Council, and to take important actions and implement documents reflecting the Presidential initiatives.
In general, Kazakhstan's membership in the Security Council has strengthened our standing as an active and responsible international actor, consolidated international security cooperation, given new impetus to solving problems in our region, and allowed us to gain unique practical experience and bring the professionalism of Kazakh diplomacy to a new level, promote our specialists in the UN agencies, and access up-to-date information on important international issues.
I would like to emphasise once again that the main reason of our country's foreign policy success has been the international standing of the President as a global level statesman with a strategic vision and global thinking.
We intend to continue our active work on the UN platform, advocate for multilateral cooperation, maintain a world order based on internationally recognised rules, work with other countries to overcome global challenges and promote global and regional peace and development.
In conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to once again express our gratitude to all of you for your continued active and welcome support towards the work of the Foreign Ministry!
Thank you for your attention.
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