In this issue:
Eurasian Security Organization Makes Strides Forward President Calls for UN Reform NATO Chief Visits Kazakhstan, Focuses on Closer Security Ties Asian Bank to Focus on Inclusive Growth in Kazakhstan
Eurasian Security Organization Makes Strides Forward
Foreign ministers of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia
(CICA), established in 2002 by leaders of 16 Eurasian nations, met in Almaty on October 22 to agree on further steps to promote security and regional cooperation on a continent that is home to half of the world’s population.
The ministers from Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, China, India, Israel, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and other nations that set up the organization during the June 2002 summit in Almaty, approved several documents laying the groundwork for enhanced cooperation and conflict-resolution. The documents include the CICA Catalogue of Confidence Measures, CICA Rules of Procedures and the Declaration of the Ministerial Meeting.
Kassymzhomart Tokaev, Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister, called the signing of these documents “a turning point in international security.”
The Catalogue provides guidelines for countries of Asia on peaceful settling of conflicts and execution of agreements on arms control. It catalogues measures in politico-military, economic, humanitarian and other spheres.
The Rules of Procedures provide guidelines on holding meetings of heads of state, government, and foreign ministers, and explain membership, status of observers and chairmanship in the CICA.
Last, but not least, the Declaration deals with the main goal of the CICA, the creation of an atmosphere of peace and security in Asia according to the goals and principles of the UN Charter and the Almaty Act signed in June 2002 by presidents of the 16 member nations. The declaration also called for the reform of the United Nations to meet the changing challenges of the modern world.
Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev first proposed the idea of the CICA, modeled on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, to the international community at the UN General Assembly in 1992. In June 2002, following a decade of hard work and perseverance of leaders and diplomats from Kazakhstan and other like-minded nations, and despite serious doubts about the organization’s potential to bridge gaps between many nations with active conflicts among them, the first summit of the fledgling organization took place in Almaty. It brought together leaders of India and Pakistan, Israel, the Palestine National Administration and Iran, Afghanistan and others, who pledged to work to reduce tensions and promote dialogue as the way to solve problems. At that summit the leaders also agreed to meet next time in Kazakhstan in 2006 and authorized foreign ministers to continue work on establishing the group.
The organization’s appeal to regional countries is growing. A day before the October 22 ministerial meeting, Thailand was formally admitted into the organization as its 17th member. Therefore, CICA members include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Palestine, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Thailand and Uzbekistan. Observers in the group include Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, the United States, Ukraine and Vietnam.
President Calls for UN Reform
President Nursultan Nazarbayev called for the expansion of the United Nations Security Council and other reforms at the UN as first and major steps in reforming the international relations in a changed environment where threats of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction expanded dramatically.
Speaking at the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) ministerial meeting in Almaty on October 22, the President said “the existing system of international relations needs to be reformed, and the work needs to begin with the reform of the main body on ensuring peace and security, the United Nations.”
He believes “the UN Security Council needs to be expanded to include major Asian, African, and Latin America countries.” He also said “the role and functions of the UN General Assembly in solving the most pressing issues of modernity need to be strengthened.”
“All these measures would help democratize international relations which is in the interests of all counties,” he stressed.
“The growing wave of terrorist acts unprecedented in their brutality, the threat of terrorists getting hold of weapons of mass destruction, the operations of criminal syndicates, the aggravation of the environmental situation, poverty and sicknesses - all this is putting a heavy burden on our nations,” the President said. He said in these conditions the international community should concentrate all its efforts on strengthening global and regional security.
He believes this will require structural reforms of the national economies. He named as another important condition for strengthening regional security the coordination of diplomatic efforts “to politically outlaw destructive terrorist activities and to create conditions for building mutual confidence which the CICA is doing. We are convinced that it is a major objective of the CICA to put into practice the principles of peaceful settlement of disputes and military and political confidence building,” he said.
“In Asia, we need a stable and developing Afghanistan and a peaceful and prosperous Iraq. The long-suffering peoples of the two countries deserve a better life and we together bear a certain responsibility for their future,” he said.
The President expressed hope that Kazakhstan’s initiative of strengthening the role of regional organizations in maintaining peace and stability and the initiative of forming a council of regional organizations with the UN secretary general would help reach this objective.
NATO Chief Visits Kazakhstan, Focuses on Closer Security Ties
NATO Secretary General Jaap De Hoop Scheffer visited Kazakhstan this week for talks about closer ties with the organization as they share vital interests in ensuring security in Eurasia.
De Hoop Scheffer met President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Defense Minister Mukhtar Altynbayev on October 19 in Almaty. Discussion topics included the fight against terrorism, Afghanistan and cooperation in the area of defense reform.
In a speech at a university in Kazakhstan, the NATO chief said “a key element of NATO’s reorientation to address new threats is to make better use of the partnership relations that we have developed over the past decade. The new challenges to our security know no borders. Meeting these challenges, and defeating them, requires the closest possible international cooperation.”
This was the reason why at the Istanbul Summit in June 2004, NATO heads of state and government agreed to place a special focus on cooperation with Central Asia and the Caucasus. To implement this decision, they agreed to appoint a Special Representative for the two regions and send liaison officers to the regions.
Kazakhstan has been part of the NATO’s Partnership for Peace program since 1994. The talks this week included taking the cooperation one step further and developing what is known as the Individual Partnership Program for Kazakhstan.
The NATO chief’s tour of the region included visits to Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. He was accompanied by NATO’s newly appointed Special Representative for Central and the Caucasus, Ambassador Robert Simmons.
Asian Bank to Focus on Inclusive Growth in Kazakhstan
The new Asian Development Bank’s program for Kazakhstan will back the Government’s medium term priorities in harnessing strong economic growth to benefit the poor, according to a Country Strategy and Program (CSP) Update for 2005-2007 endorsed by the Board of Directors. The bank announced the plans on October 18 at its headquarters in Manila, the Philippines.
Kazuhiko Higuchi, Country Director of ADB’s Resident Mission in Kazakhstan, said “Kazakhstan’s fast-paced development has led to rapidly evolving development priorities. The country’s strong economic growth has thus underscored the need for inclusive, pro-poor growth.”
Fueled by the oil sector, the country’s economy grew by an average of 11% during 2000-2002 and 9.2% in 2003. This performance is expected to continue with growth of 8-10% over the medium-term.
While the continued economic growth has created new jobs and improved living standards in Kazakhstan, disparities still exist between rural and urban areas. With rural poverty three times as high as in urban areas in some areas, the Government is making efforts to develop rural areas.
The strong growth has also led the Government to look to financing more of its development programs domestically. The Government aims to reduce the budget deficit over the medium term.
ADB’s strategy in Kazakhstan focuses on private sector development for inclusive growth, human development, environmentally sustainable development, and regional cooperation. ADB will propose average annual lending of US$50 million. The non-lending program will continue to be the main instrument for ADB operations in the country, with 13 technical assistance (TA) grants totaling $4.8 million being planned for the next three years.
The proposed lending program for Kazakhstan will focus on projects with strong development impacts or innovative approaches. Among the projects ADB plans during 2005-2007 are a regional rural development project in 2005, a rural water supply and sanitation project and a storm water management project in 2006, as well as a water resources management and land improvement project in 2007. Lending amounts will be determined mutually between the Government and ADB.
As of the end of 2003, ADB had approved 12 loans for nine projects in Kazakhstan, totaling $501.6 million. Since joining ADB in 1994, ADB has also approved 51 TAs totaling $23.4 million.
Things to Watch:
- Kazakhstan celebrates the Day of the Republic, one of the country’s most important national holidays, on October 25.
- President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan is scheduled to visit Sweden on October 25-26-28 where he will take part in a business forum.
News Bulletin of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the USA and Canada
(Compiled from own sources and agency reports)
Contact person: Roman Vassilenko
1401 16th Street NW, Washington DC 20036
Tel.: (202) 232- 5488 ext. 104, Fax: (202) 232- 5845