“Astana Heritage” Shall not Be Forgotten

Initiatives of Kazakhstani Chairmanship shall Gain Development within Further Work of the OSCE and Other International Organizations.

A new Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Yerzhan Kazykhanov – is quite a famous person within foreign diplomatic circles.

He had experience working in the United Nations Organization, European international organizations. The ultimatum of “Taliban”, Chinese threat – for these and other please see in the exclusive interview of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan.
- First of all would you please clarify the situation, related to the prevention of the movement of “Taliban” towards our country? Is it true that it was caused by the decision of Kazakhstan to send our military men to Afghanistan?

- Unfortunately, today specific powers try speculating over this subject to gain some political capital, criticizing the Parliament and the Government. Nevertheless, the situation is not of the kind they try to present it. There is a decision to send four officers to Kabul and we had the same practice previous years. No sensation. After Kazakhstan joined anti-terror coalition, our sapers were directed to Iraq, except for that Kazakhstani officers were send to the headquarters of the Central Command, located in Tampa (state of Florida, USA). Which means that Kazakh military men has participated in planning of joint military operations for a long time. The main task of the four officers to be sent to Afghanistan is to assist the Government of the country in the process of peaceful life preparation. In particular, one of our officers in Kabul shall be engaged with logistics, the other one – medical issues. I would like to note especially that the mandate of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was issued by the United Nations Organization and is prolonged each six months. So it’s absolutely incorrect to say that we act beyond the UNO mandate.
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In general, this decision is directly connected with the fact that the members of the coalition has already begun the withdrawal of their contingent from Afghanistan, by 2014 the biggest one - American, shall leave the country. By this time, Afghan military men and policemen should be well trained enough to assure the security of civilians on their own.

Concerning the clamor around this ordinary event, to my view it has come out first of all due to the wording “contingent”, adopted in legal decision. This word confused some experts, who probably, grounding on their Soviet experience imagined squadrons of soldiers having heard the word “contingent”. In reality it’s absolutely invalid. We are not going to lead war, our main efforts are focused on economic aid to Afghanistan. They build roads, bridges, hospitals.

Today our small and medium business is interested in Afghan direction. Kazakhstan keeps on sending humanitarian aid to the country.

Our main priority is the struggle against drugs production and traffic, which flows from Afghanistan. That is why among the qualifications of young Afghan people, who Kazakhstan trains at our own expense, (50 million USD was granted for this purpose), there are also policemen. I’m sure that war in Afghanistan shall end, it can’t last for ever and Kazakhstan today actively participates within formation of future peaceful life of this long-suffering people.

Secondly, I consider as open speculation the attempts to connect still not proven statement of the “Taliban” movement with the events in Aktobe and Astana which are of still unclear character. It’s early to talk about terrorism, until investigation and court issue final verdict.

Kazakhstan has always been and is still a generator of stability and security. For twenty years of independence, thanks to the political wisdom of our President and his followers, there have been no ethnic or social conflicts within the territory of Kazakhstan. And we won’t let this happen. That is why I observe the speculations on this subject just as the way of gaining dingy political capital.
- And if to suggest hypothetically, that Kazakhstan doesn’t at all participate in anti-terror coalition. In this case would the country be reliably secured of Taliban anger and dissemination of the agents of Islamic movements within the territory of the country?

- We should understand that Afghanistan is the source of instability within the whole territory of Central-Asian region. That is why Kazakhstan as a responsible member of the community of nations, supports all international efforts to establish stability in this country. This problem can’t be solved with war. Urgent is the will of all involving Parties and maximum international assistance within economic rehabilitation of the country. When Afghan people are be able to insure security in the state on their own, the security of all the countries in the region will reinforce, also including ours.
- OSDP "Azat" gained a permission to hold demonstrations against “Chinese expansion” into the state’s economy. What was the reaction of your Chinese colleagues? What is your attitude towards the action planned?

- China gave no comments, and made no official statements on this issue. Our neighbors realize the situation perfectly, as well as we do.

Everything in the world develops under the laws of market, and world economy is a symbiosis of national economies, which can’t be and shouldn’t be isolated. The most intensive development we observe within the states which are more involved into international economic cooperation. For example, the USA is the biggest debtor of China, but no one holds demonstrations there against Chinese expansions. And no one will even think claim the selling of American national interests. There they all understand that the People’s Republic of China  is almost the only country in the world, that today has the possibility to introduce great investments into world economy.

As for Kazakhstan, the situation without prejudice is as follows. Our main economic partner is the European Union, the trade turnover achieves 40 billions USD, and with Russia it is about 20 billion. As for China, only recently we have come out at the same level. That is why the choice of China as a target for critics is simply wrong methodologically.

The share of China is insignificant also in other sector. Talking about oil and gas, 16% of all investigated and developing stocks of oil and gas in Caspian belong to Americans. In scope with British capital this number reaches 50%. Why don’t then the organizers speak out against global “dominance” of American-British companies?

Economic growth in Kazakhstan is directly conditioned with the coming of transnational companies to our state, and by the way for many neighbors it has remained as a dream. It’s short-sighted and even speculatively to put the issue on defense of national economy from those, without who it would not be able to establish. In the end no one will take our land and take it with them, it will be left for our children and successors.

So to my mind, the kind of actions are grounded on pure populism. Definite forces try to gain political capital and we should thoroughly analyze who benefits from this.

- Was your recent top-level appointment a surprise for you? To your mind what has influenced the decision of the head of the state – successful Chairmanship of Kazakhstan in the OSCE or former merits? As a new Minister and the representative of young team of executives do you intend to contribute into the improvement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs activity? Do you have your program or wishes of the Head of the state, expressed by your appointment?

- Naturally, successful Chairmanship of Kazakhstan in the OSCE in 2010 is the factor and the result of logical and balanced foreign policy course, defined by the Head of the state – the President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

As for my appointment. Of course this is great confidence of the President and a very serious responsibility at the same time. Following the year of Kazakhstan Presidency in the OSCE, current 2011 year for native diplomats is not less important and intensive regarding international events – Chairmanship in the SCO and the OIC, the 20th anniversary of independence and closing of nuclear firing ground in Semipalatinsk.

I won’t hide that 20 years of experience in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs inspires me at the new post. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the system that should operate smoothly. That is why the most important task in my job is to organize the activity of the Ministry in such a way for everything to work promptly and without failures. New tasks to strengthen international relations and the authority of Kazakhstan, to attract hi-tech into our country, set by the President gives us new orients and we intend to do our utmost to achieve them.
- The Chairmanship in the OSCE has become for Kazakhstan an event of historic significance. Last year our country introduced many initiatives of global character, in particular, during the Summit in Astana. What is their fate? Is the Organization ready to accomplish them? Will they be forgotten or bureaucratized by the following chairing states, which will hardly be that active as Kazakhstan?

- During a fast-flowing year of the Chairmanship Kazakhstan managed only to underline the problem nodes, suggest methods of their solution, but not to overcome all internal disagreements, which unfortunately, have negatively affected the efficiency of this powerful organization.

In the period to come, we firmly intend to work hard to preserve the “Astana heritage”, including important initiatives of the President Nursultan Nazarbayev and other leaders, promoted by them during the Summit in Astana. Many of these initiatives have already become the subject of the most active and involving discussions at expertise and political level. Their practical significance is observed within the OSCE strengthening, enhancing of its activity efficiency, prevention and prompt resolution of conflict situations.

And as for the initiatives announced last year can be “”forgotten” or “ bureaucratized”, I can say that native diplomacy does everything possible to prevent it.

Unfortunately due to the end of the Chairmanship Kazakhstan has less political and legal levers within the OSCE frameworks. In this respect we have chosen a step-by-step tactic, considering existing reality and directed first of all at the establishment of political ground to promote initiatives, and secondly, at provision of necessary resources. One of the most important instruments to enforce the spirit and word of Astana Declaration is the participation of Kazakhstan in the work of the OSCE “Three” this year. Except for that in the third trimester of 2011 we shall chair the Forum on cooperation in the security sphere of the OSCE. In its turn Lithuanian Chairmanship, as far as I know, focuses its activity on further promotion of the results achieved in 2010.

Exactly the issues of assurance of succession within the  OSCE was in the middle of focus of the negotiations with the current OSCE Chairman, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Audronius Azubalis  held this January in Astana. We are grateful to our Lithuanian colleagues for the initiation of the so-called “Dialogue V to V” (from Vienna to Vilnius) with the aim to accomplish the Astana Declaration and proceeding with the “Corfu process”. Thus in the period till September 2011 we’ve planned a series of meetings at the expertise level on each segment of the conflict cycle  - from earlier warning to early actions and post-conflict rehabilitation.

Kazakhstan supports the priorities of Lithuanian Chairmanship which include solution of long-standing conflicts, cyber-security, assisting the partners on cooperation, first of all Tunisia and Egypt, enhancement of the programs on control of the borders of Central Asia and Afghanistan, gender equality. Specifying the importance of transition to discussion and definite actions, I would like to wish Lithuania success an the post of the OSCE Chairman.

Together with that no one canceled the rules of consensus within the OSCE frameworks. Considering pretty diverse character of its members and sometime absolutely opposite views, this turns each task into quite a complicated process.

Answering your question I can’t agree with the thesis about reduced activity of the following Chairmanships. My Lithuanian colleague for example as a Chairman-in-office reveals desirable activity and diplomatic abilities, which we naturally appreciate greatly.
- As known, on the eve of the announcement of the news about Osama Ben Laden’s death the USA President Barak Obama held phone talks with the President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Official subject was known. And nevertheless, could you please give us more detailed comment? Was it coincidence the wish of successful Chairmanship of the Organization of the Islamic Conference?

- This is already the second phone talk between the leaders of Kazakhstan and the USA, initiated by the President Obama. The subject of the conversation covered the issue of nuclear security, raised during the Summit in Washington April 12th of 2010 and the contribution of our country into the regime of nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament. They discussed the situation in Afghanistan, accomplishment of economic and political modifications in our country within the context of the message of the President and his inauguration speech summarizing the results of the elections.

In general I would like to draw special focus on the positive character of the talk, the intention of the leaders to extend and strengthen strategic partnership between the states.

As the 38th Council of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the OIC in Astana in June shall be the first event of the kind of level, in which the Ministers of Islamic states shall take part, after the beginning of the events in Near East and North Africa, the Presidents also touched upon this subject. Obama also whished our President successful Chairmanship in the OIC.
- Many experts think that after the liquidation of the “International terrorist №1” the threat of international terrorism shall grow greatly. Do you share the kind of forecasts? What are the real possibilities of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the chairing state to influence the situation? Are there means to smooth the counteraction between the part of Islamic world and West?

- The success of the operation on Osama Ben Laden elimination is a serious stroke for international terrorism. Kazakhstan decisively condemns any forms of terrorism that is why we are assured that this struggle should not be stopped till complete victory over international terrorism in all its manifestations.

Developing the strategy of counteraction to terrorism and other challenges Kazakhstan, grounds on understanding of the necessity of collective efforts of the world community on the resolution of the problems which would be adequate to counteracting terrorism.

Kazakhstan supports the development of UNO Global counterterrorist strategy, within which all the states of the world agreed on the common approach towards the struggle against terrorism, and also promotes further improvement of antiterrorist treaty mechanisms and adoption of an overwhelming convention on fighting international terrorism.

Kazakhstan highly assesses the activity of such international organizations as the OSCE, SCO, S-CICA, CSTO, which play a significant role within the development of regional and sub-regional cooperation in this sphere.

Promoting Kazakhstan in Islamic world within the frameworks of the chairmanship in the OIC, we intend to enhance our role as a connecting bridge between ummah and West. Our efforts shall be directed at establishment and development of open dialogue between Muslim states and West, grounding on mutual understanding and respect.
- Which task does Kazakhstan set as the OIC Chairman? Do you have a current plan of actions?

- On June 28th – 30th this year within the frameworks of the 38th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC in Astana Kazakhstan shall take the leadership of the most significant political body in this organization. Traditionally the Chair of CFAM deals with the issues of coordination of its work and promotes the initiatives, defining new directions of interaction within the OIC frameworks provided there is a consensus.

At the moment we have developed a concept and the program of Chairmanship, anticipating the most prior directions of cooperation of the member-states. In accordance with that the agenda of the oncoming meeting of the Foreign Affairs Ministers covers wide range of issues of current interaction within political, trade-economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres. Under the results we expect to adopt more than 90 resolutions, many of which shall contain our suggestions.

In general our Chairmanship shall actively work in order to enhance international and regional security, promotion of inter-civilization dialogue, counteracting islamophoby and others. We also shall strive to achieve the growth of international authority of this organization through the accomplishment of the provision of 10-years Plan of Actions and intensification of the OIC cooperation for effective counteraction to modern challenges and threats.

In the context of deepening of regional cooperation, within Ministerial meeting, we plan to hold a Summit to discuss the OIC plan of actions on cooperation with Central Asia.

Of the same importance is the activity on promotion of constructive dialogue between Muslim world and West.

In general the oncoming Chairmanship in the OIC CFAM is called to continue the tradition of successful foreign political initiatives of Kazakhstan within international arena, becoming a qualitative prolongation of native diplomacy following the OSCE Chairmanship. I believe that Astana shall fill the Organization of the Islamic Conference with new spirit, having fixed in it unchangeable, common civilization priorities, depicted in our slogan - "Peace, cooperation and development".
- Was the lobbying of S-Cica project strong enough during the Chairmanship in two serious international organizations as CFAM is perfect match to ease the military-political tension in the world?

- The Head of the state noted: “S-Cica is a young forum… Optimal decisions are developed in course of dialogue”. Exactly through the establishment of the dialogue we promoted and still promote the initiative of S-cica in course of the last Chairmanship in the OSCE, as well as the current Chairmanship in the SCO and we plan to keep on with these efforts also within the frameworks of the oncoming Chairmanship of the OIC.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference logically supports the promotion of international initiatives of Kazakhstan. We value highly the support of member-states within S-Cica development, particularly the process of S-Cica development finds more support from Muslim states. From the moment of the announcement of the idea about the OIC Session calling resolutions to support this process were adopted. For the last 4 years Muslim states, in particular Jordan, UAE, Iraq and Bahrain have become the full members of S-Cica. Except for that, our efforts are directed to reproach of the organization, which were and are headed by Kazakhstan.

I’m sure that close interaction between regional and international organizations on the issues of global character is promising anyway.
- Kazakhstan chairs the Shanghai Organization of Cooperation. Which are our priorities within this direction?

- The chairmanship of the SCO on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Organization lays a huge responsibility on us, that is why our diplomats have a lot to do.
Interdepartmental Commission specially created under the leadership of the Foreign Affairs Ministry has developed and approved the SCO Actions Plan for 2010-2011, which fixes the priorities of the Organization during the period of our Chairmanship. The kind of document within the SCO frameworks was adopted and accomplished for the first time.

In course of current activity being the Chairman we don’t focus on narrow national priorities, but concentrate on general issues for all SCO member-states. We are convinced that the success of activity of the Organization can be assured only under the condition of agreement of the interests of all its participants. That is why the main priority for us is the strengthening of mechanisms of the SCO coordination, deepening of mutually beneficial cooperation within all directions, as well as further growth of the power of our organization at international arena.

As for the issue on entering into the SCO member of other states, in course of recently held meeting of SCO Foreign Affairs Ministers in Almaty I and my colleagues have agreed on a number of documents, to be signed during the SCO Summit on June 15th, which include the typical memorandum on liabilities of the applicant state to acquire the status of the SCO member-state.

By this the consideration of the applications to enter the Organization of the kind of candidates as for example India and Pakistan, can become one of the matters to discuss for the Heads of the SCO member-states in prospect.

I would hope that in course of the Summit all member-states of the SCO support the application of Afghanistan to gain the status of observer within the Organization, as Kazakhstan, China and Russia already did.
- As a result of the number of incident, into which the names of Kazakhstani diplomats were involved, you announced about the necessity of more precise choice procedure of candidates for long-term foreign trips. Nevertheless, the in list of Foreign Affairs Ministers especially those working abroad there are pretty many “namesakes” of top-officials and their relatives. Which principles lie in the ground of the personnel policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?

- Yes, indeed, unfortunately a number of unpleasant incidents took place. Of course they are not usual, but with no doubts, they affect negatively the image of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. That is why we took definite measures. They include – the announcement of “zero tolerance”, which means absolute intolerance towards any violations by the employees of the Ministry.

As for the employment into the Ministry of International Affairs, the selection of stuff is performed thoroughly in accordance with the law on state and diplomatic services.

Personnel policy is directed at attraction, involvement and adequate use of qualified specialists, establishment of conditions for the implementation of their potential for successful and efficient accomplishment of foreign policy.

At the moment more than 80% of the foreign policy department personnel have the qualification in the sphere of international relations. The choice of the candidates is made on contest ground in order to select the best ones and form the kind of stuff potential that would assure efficient operation and development of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, qualitative and prompt accomplishment of the foreign policy course of the President.

In general we consider that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs personnel should have a serious training in correspondent universities of Kazakhstan as well as foreign ones, including the Institute of Diplomacy at the Academy of State Management. Our high demands to personnel are explained with serious responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and by the fact that our dynamic time and global world today demands from our employees much efforts here and now.
Translated by EuroDialogueXXI from Liter