FM Briefs Parliament on UNSC Work, Priorities in Central Asia
Security, terrorism, nuclear nonproliferation and regional relations were on the agenda of the March 13 “government hour” session involving Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Kairat Abdrakhmanov in the country’s Mazhilis (lower chamber of Parliament).
Abdrakhmanov informed the lawmakers about Kazakhstan’s activities and priorities as a member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for 2017-2018.
The country’s priorities include promoting a world free of nuclear weapons, preventing the threat of global war, promoting peace in Afghanistan and creating a regional peace zone in Central Asia, shaping a global antiterrorist coalition within the UN, promoting peaceful development in Africa, helping the UNSC adapt to the demands of the 21st century and building a programme of regular meetings between heads of UNSC member states.
Kazakhstan chairs the Security Council committees on Afghanistan/Taliban (Committee 1988), ISIL/DAESH/Al Qaeda (Committee 1267/1989/2253) and Somalia/Eritrea (Committee 751/1907).
The country will chair the UNSC in January 2018 and will turn its focus to Central Asia and Afghanistan.
As part of its fight against nuclear proliferation, Kazakhstan will host the 60th Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs its capital, Astana, Aug. 29, the International Day against Nuclear Tests. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) low-enriched uranium (LEU) bank is expected to be formally launched the same day, the minister said.
Kazakhstan will be increasing its contribution of military observers and peacekeepers to UN missions, Abdrakhmanov said.
The country has proposed the Astana Code of Conduct as a common mechanism for fighting terrorism and a step toward creating the UN Global Anti-Terrorist Coalition, he added.
Developing regional relationships is also a focus for the Foreign Ministry both under the auspices of the UN and through direct regional exchanges, the minister explained. Regional relations are key to bolstering global security, he said. Kazakhstan wants the UN to be used by the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, NATO and the EU to deliver joint approaches to tackling the shared problems of Central Asia, including drug trafficking, terrorism, religious extremism and trans-boundary water issues.
He later noted that the process of resolving the legal status of the Caspian Sea is moving forward, and that after a necessary ministerial meeting, a Caspian summit can be held in Astana, where the relevant convention is expected to be signed.
Central Asian countries hold regular joint dialogues with Japan, South Korea, the United States, and the EU, Abdrakhmanov said.
“I also sent a letter to my colleagues in Central Asia proposing to establish a common forum of the five countries at our level. There are no unresolvable issues between our countries. Kazakhstan’s membership on the UNSC is a unique opportunity to attract the world’s attention to the Central Asian region,” he said.
“We intend to take practical steps with Kyrgyzstan to help them adapt to Eurasian Economic Union [EAEU] membership. We are also talking about adopting comprehensive programmes to implement our strategic partnerships with the countries of Central Asia,” he added. President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s planned visit for later this month is another example of mutual intentions to strengthen ties, the minister noted.
Touching on Kazakhstan’s young official development aid programme, Abdrakhmanov noted the country’s $943,485 contribution to Tajikistan, $314,495 contribution to Kyrgyzstan and $1.8 million contribution to Syria, but said the sphere needed to expand.
Economic diplomacy is a priority of Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry, he said. “In partnerships with other agencies, we are building up mechanisms for attracting investments and promoting exports.”
Abdrakhmanov also confirmed that Kazakhstan remains committed to its initiative to strengthen global development efforts by proposing that UN member nations voluntarily contribute 1 percent of their annual military budgets to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).