#Kazakhstan leaves UN Security Council a valuable legacy

| December 5, 2018

Kazakhstan aims to “maintain a continuity of ideas” from its two-year stint as a non-permanent member on the UN Security Council.  That was the message from the country’s deputy foreign affairs minister in a keynote address in Brussels on Tuesday. Yerzhan Ashikbayev’s comments come with Belgium about to take on a similar two-year role with the UN Security Council on 1 January.

In an exclusive interview with this website, the minister also spoke about the “legacy” he hopes the country will leave after its first-ever tenure with the New York-based organisation.

He said, “Our main aim is to maintain what I would call a continuity of ideas across many fields, including political and economics.”

He said one of the reasons why his country had managed to attract some $33bn in foreign direct investment since it gained independence in 1989 was because of its “stable” political system.

He said the continuity of ideas he speaks of extends to its continued leadership role in pushing for a world free of nuclear weapons and conflicts.

“This is something we have been tackling now for over 20 years and I hope we can bring our experience and expertise to bear,” he said.

One example, he said, is in the denuclearisation of North Korea, adding, “We welcome the outcome of the historic recent meeting in Singapore but there is currently a very tense atmosphere in global relationships and no one can be happy with some of the exchanges between the world’s super powers.

“This very much affects all of us, including those central Asian countries like Kazakhstan.

“Our aim now is to try and transform these concerns into practical measures. When it comes to politics, we do not favour one over another, so we are happy to work with everyone to this end.”

One example he cited of how his country has already tried to act as a kind of global mediator in resolving conflicts was to call for a meeting of the world’s great powers, including the U.S. Russia, China and the EU.

The proposal was tabled by President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev at the recent ASEAN summit in Brussels.

Ashikbayev, who pointed out that its border with Russia was the equivalent of the distance from New York to London, said, “Of course, these things do not happen overnight, but this is something we will continue to push for in 2019.”

“Unless the super powers reach some sort of understanding we cannot expect any durable solution to the multiple challenges we all face today,” he noted.

Kazakhstan has “from the very early days” been a “strong supporter” of multilateralism and the main priority, he said, is to achieve global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

“We continue to call on all nations to help make the world a safer place,” he said.

Another aim is, he noted, the “design of successful conflict resolution strategies at global and local levels.”

Other objectives include turning attention towards the “unique” needs of regions such as Central Asia and the unpredictability of modern security challenges such as terrorism, he said.

“Central Asian is still the least economically integrated part of the world and this needs to be drastically improved.”

As part of its “legacy” of the country’s work at the UN for the past two years is the introduction of confidence building measures (CBMs).

Among several other achievements is the “three-pronged approach to regional development in post conflict areas,” he told EUReporter.

As Brussels was is first overseas posting as a diplomat, he told the audience that he had a affection for the city, adding that he believes his country can now pass on its “valuable” experience at the UN Security Council to Belgium.

“The is the main reason I am here today: to help raise awareness with our Belgian colleagues of our work on the council and our desire to maintain this continuity of ideas.”

Assuming the role of a global player engaged in developing increased awareness of global security challenges, Kazakhstan can, he argued, work to “highlight the link between security and sustainable development.”

Kazakhstan is, he said, committed to providing solutions to assist the UN system of security maintenance in assessing the “uncertain nature of threats and challenges.”

Further comment at the event came from Latvian Socialist MEP Andrejs Mamikins who said Kazakhstan had a vital role to play in international affairs, ranging from economically to culturally.

He said, “Over the last five years, the country has become much more visible on the global stage and increased its participation in international affairs.

“This is partly due to the tenure on the Security Council but also due to its modernisation strategy under the current president and the role it is playing regionally.

“This is visionary politics with a focus on continuing this impressive development. This includes development of human capital, such as in the field of education, health and social provision.

“This society transformation still has some way to go and the EU is closely following this.”

He added, “I believe the country has the capacity for what I call cultural diplomacy. It is this, I think, that will win the hearts and minds of Europeans and help the country forge a new international identity.”

The event, “A Global Kazakhstan for an Interconnected World,” was brought to a close by Axel Goethals, CEO of the European Institute for Asian Studies (EIAS) which hosted the two-hour expert exchange.

Within the framework of the UN Security Council, the country had set seven goals that identify the country’s main concerns in regional and global security.

He praised the country’s “growing” role as a “recognised partner for international cooperation” adding that it was using this as a bridge between central Asia and other regions of the world.

One of the main concerns in the realms of regional and global security and Kazakhstan’s ambitions to strengthen regional security cooperation in Central Asia is reflected in the country’s crucial participation in projects throughout Afghanistan. Its involvement in peacekeeping operations have accelerated the country’s transformation into a leading actor in global security cooperation, he noted.

Looking to the future, he believes that Kazakhstan, the world’s biggest landlocked nation, could underline its status as a new global player in the field of multilateral diplomacy.

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Category: A Frontpage, Kazakhstan