KAZAKHSTAN ASSUMES OSCE CHAIRMANSHIP,
WILL LAY OUT AGENDA NEXT WEEK
Astana, January 5: On January 1, 2010 Kazakhstan became the twentieth state chairing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe since the establishment of the Chairman-in-Office position in 1991.
Kazakhstan’s Secretary of State – Minister of Foreign Affairs Kanat Saudabayev will be the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE for the next twelve months. He will outline Kazakhstan’s priorities for the chairmanship in a speech to the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on January 14. The speech will be preceded by an unprecedented concert of Kazakh folk and world classical music the previous night at Hofburg Palace, the headquarters of the organization.
In accordance with the mandate, the Chairman coordinates the work of main governing bodies of the Organization – high-level meetings (summits), annual meetings of the Ministerial Council, weekly sessions of the Permanent Council, as well as subsidiary bodies. Having put forward the idea of convening a Summit of Heads of State in 2010 which was reflected in the documents of Athens Ministerial, Kazakhstan initiated the elaboration of conceptual and organizational issues of the Summit.
Among other major events of the OSCE in 2010, it is important to highlight the meetings of the Parliamentary Assembly, the Annual Security Review Conference, sessions of the Economic and Environmental Forum, the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, High-Level Conference on Tolerance and Non-discrimination, Conference on Terrorism Prevention, Conference dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Copenhagen Document, etc.
For the year of its Chairmanship Kazakhstan has worked out a schedule of multilateral and bilateral consultations which covers all OSCE participating States. Thus, on a regular basis, Vienna and other capitals within the OSCE area will be hosting regular consultations with the European Union, the European Council, the CIS, NATO, CSTO and other international organizations. The importance of such approach for reconciling various positions on relevant issues of the agenda of the Organization, as well as the coordination of actions and avoidance of duplication in work has been demonstrated in practice.
The key factor in ensuring effectiveness of work of the Organization is weekly work coordination within the framework of the Troika which includes Greece and Lithuania together with the Chairman-in-Office in the current year.
As a result of comprehensive international consultations and expert work the Chairman-in-Office proposes drafts of necessary documents, reports and reviews to the Permanent Council. Acting on the basis of decisions of the directive bodies, the Chairman-in-Office gives directions regarding the issues of work of the Secretariat of the OSCE, institutes of the Organization and field operations, and implements functions connected with appointments in the OSCE.
In addition to the abovementioned events for 2010, visits of the Chairman-in-Office, Secretary of State – Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kanat Saudabayev to the regions of the OSCE field presence – the Southern Caucasus, the Balkans, Eastern Europe and Central Asia – are planned.
In the course of either settlement of crisis situations or conflicts, or with the aim of ensuring effective coordination of efforts of the participating States in specific spheres, the Chairman-in-Office according to the prevalent practice appoints his Personal Representatives with overt and clear mandate. After relevant consultations, Kazakhstan adopted personnel decisions on appointment of such representatives in spheres such as protracted conflicts and settlement of crises, environment, transport, intolerance and discrimination, monitoring of elections and electoral problems. Extended geography of the countries presented by them is called upon to ensure objectiveness and impartiality of the forthcoming work.
Besides, the Chairman-in-Office appointed heads of the three committees of the OSCE. They are the Permanent Representatives to the OSCE from Germany (Security Committee), Belarus (Economic and Environmental Committee) and Portugal (Humanitarian Committee).
The Chairman-in-Office represents the OSCE outside the Organization. During the current year, his traditional statements are planned at the UN Security Council, the European Council, and NATO. Twice a year consultations of the OSCE Troikas and the European Union at minister and ambassador level will take place. Kazakhstan as the Chairman-in Office will represent the OSCE at different international events.
At the same time, heads of major international and regional organizations will be also invited to address the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna.
As of October 1, 2009 Kazakhstan has been chairing the Advisory Committee on Management and Finance at the OSCE Permanent Council. Timely approval of the consolidated budget of the Organization, for the first time in many years became a recognized success of Kazakhstan’s Chairmanship. Its amount for 2010 is equal to 150,765,000 euros.
In its activity the Chairman-in-Office relies on expert, consultative, material, technical and other assistance on the part of the Secretariat. Currently about 3,300 employees are working in the OSCE, most of whom, approximately 2,800 persons, are involved in field missions and operations.
In preparation for the Chairmanship, clear distribution of functional tasks and the harmonization of work was introduced between responsible state structures of Kazakhstan, including the Task Force in Astana, the Permanent Mission in Vienna, ministries and diplomatic missions. A synergy of operations with the Secretariat and the OSCE institutions has also been achieved.