OSCE SUMMIT RESULTS: "Towards a Security Community" - Astana Declaration to underlie development of OSCE Action Plan

By Muratbek Makulbekov

Within the past two days the whole world followed intently the course of the OSCE high-level summit in Astana. Late at night, after the long and heavy discussions, the participants of the Summit voted foradoption of the Astana Declaration Towards a Security Community. The mass media have already started publishing the comments and views of the participants, international experts and politicians on the event. It should be noted that after the adoption of the document, the representatives of several states and international structures expressed their regret over insufficient concrete formulations of the Summit's final document, but all of them agreed that the participating states reaffirmed their full adherence to the UN charter and all fundamental principles and commitments of the OSCE. Thus, a representative of the European Union said: "The Summit document confirms our joint vision of a security community for the future".

As OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Secretary of State-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Kanat Saudabayev explained: "In accordance with understanding the presidency, as it is clearly stated in paragraph 7 of the Astana Declaration, this includes reaffirmation of all 10 principles guiding relations among participating States as contained in the Helsinki Final Act ".

The controversies between the Summit participants which impeded reaching a consensus related  primarily to the protracted conflicts for solution of which the Organization conducts a huge work. Nevertheless, the fact of adoption of the Astana Declaration proves that the participating states of the OSCE have political will towards revival of the Organization.

Moreover, the importance of the final document is not limited just to reaffirmation of the participating states' adherence to the OSCE principles, because, as President N. Nazarbayev noted in his welcoming speech, "the main objective of the OSCE for the forthcoming decades is to solve the problems systematically, to strengthen the people's trust and integration".

The President stressed that the point at issue was shaping a common security space within the boundaries of the four oceans - from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Arctic to the Indian.

"The uniqueness of our Summit is that it takes place in the very heart of Eurasia, in thousand kilometers from the geographic boundaries of Europe. We think, that this, first of all, reflects a changed paradigm of the European security. At the beginning of the XXI century the sources of most dangerous threats and challenges of the stability of the European continent emerged outside it", N. Nazarbayev said having noted that 43 participating states of the OSCE are involved in Afghan problem's solution.

The President of Kazakhstan initiated a number of propositions aimed at increasing the number of baskets and institutions of the OSCE. In particular, according to him, financial and economic security can become a new dimension of the Organization. One more dimension, suggested by Nazarbayev, is creation of inter-confessional tolerance. He also proposed a new dimension which will work on forecasting various problems.

"'I believe that it would be relevant to develop work on forecasting security problems. Establishing the OSCE Security Institute could be the first step to achieve it. The institute can be located here in Astana".

In order to raise the level of trust and mutual understating, the Kazakh Leader proposed to locate the OSCE structures across its responsibility area, including the new institutions in its Asian part.

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev, taking the floor at the Summit, proposed to develop common principles of conflicts regulation, which will be adhered in all crisis situations.  According to him, the common principles should include non-use of force, reaching a consensus by the parties, respect for negotiating and peacekeeping formats, ensuring rights of the civilians trapped in conflict zones.

In turn, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton backed the Russian President's initiative and stated that the OSCE should have an opportunity to respond to the crises more effectively within the Organization. Having stressed that the OSCE must play more important role in conflicts prevention, H. Clinton highly spoke of the actions of Kazakhstan in regulating the riots in Kyrgyzstan.

Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel noted that some processes appeared to be slower than it was expected 20 years ago. "That is why we need to analyze everything now in Astana. We need to reconsider everything; human rights principles, freedoms, law, democratic development and security. We also have to define priorities in the Action Plan", she said.

Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi urged the participants to put aside their differences and pointed out that stability of the vast region of the world was in focus. In his opinion, it is quite important to develop the Action Plan which should include concrete objectives leading to security, peace and human rights protection.

Many other participants of the Summit shared this view and highlighted that solidarity of the OSCE participating states should be reflected equally, in confirmation of the decisions adopted, in their implementation. The Astana Declaration, they say, will become a strong foundation for the OSCE's further development.

"Kazakhstan has more than ever brought the OSCE member countries further to work on the relevant issues and conflicts. The problems have never been so much discussed before as now thanks to the efforts of Kazakhstan", a representative of Canada said.

Next day following the Summit, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev met with his Austrian counterpart Heinz Fischer.

H. Fischer noted that the Astana Summit had not been held for the past 11 years, and the first top meeting in new millennium was carried out under Kazakhstan's chairmanship. "It was very difficult event; even so we were able to adopt the Declaration following the Summit and define common directions of development. Therefore, there was given instruction to the Lithuanian chairmanship on further development of the OSCE", he said.   In this connection H. Fischer congratulated Kazakhstan and President N. Nazarbayev on successful chairmanship in the OSCE. "We can say that the Summit stressed importance of the Organization", he resumed.

"Adopting the Astana Declaration, we all confirm that we have to fulfill our commitments within all three OSCE dimensions and strengthen our efforts in achieving common goals. We have to give a new impetus to the Organization", a representative of Lithuania said and added that as the next Chair in the OSCE, Lithuania was ready to develop the work of Kazakhstan and its, with all the OSCE participating states, partner countries, international and regional organizations on the principles and basis and openness of the OSCE.

The Summit participants agreed that Kazakhstan's work within its chairmanship can underlie development of a concrete Action Plan by the next OSCE chairing country. As it is mentioned in Astana Declaration, the results of this work will be considered at the next meeting of the OSCE Foreign Ministers in Vilnius on December 6-7, 2011.

"Due to its energy and vitality Kazakhstan has successfully coped with its obligations at the post of the OSCE presiding country in 2010", the Declaration reads.

The document contains the provisions which set a bright example of the start of the OSCE's revival, the necessity of which is always stressed by the Kazakh President.

"We have eliminated old differences in Europe, but to date we face new threats and challenges. After the signing the Paris Charter, it became evident, that security threats can be caused by the conflicts both between countries and within a state", the Istanbul Declaration of 1999 reads.

In compliance with the Astana Declaration, security in the OSCE region is closely connected with the security of the adjacent territories, namely, with the Mediterranean region and Asia. Therefore, it is important to raise the level of the OSCE's interaction with the partner states. In particular, it is stressed that collective efforts must be taken to help Afghanistan, to let it be stable, independent, prospering and democratic state.

"The Declaration of the OSCE Summit whas been adopted for the first time over 11 years. This event opens a new stage in the life of our Organization. It is our common, historic success which meets hopes of our nations for safer and better world. I believe that the Declaration will give a start to construction of a community of the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security ", N.Nazarbayev said.