CICA ISTANBUL SUMMIT MARKS NEW AGE IN ASIAN SECURITY
Istanbul, June 9: The 3rd Summit of the Conference for
Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) held in Istanbul on
June 8 is a huge step forward for what began as a bold initiative voiced by
President Nursultan Nazarbayev at the UN General Assembly in 1992. For the
first time, the CICA summit took place outside Kazakhstan, with the presidency
in the forum being officially transferred to another member-state, Turkey. The
Summit also saw two more states – Iraq and Vietnam - joining a conference as
full members, bringing a tally of membership to 22.
President Nazarbayev’s idea behind the CICA initiative was
to bring Asian nations into a common framework for a dialogue and cooperation
in the name of stronger security and greater trust between the nations of the
world’s largest and most populous continent.
First formal meetings took place following seven years of
preliminary talks, which did meet occasional scepticism. Diplomatic efforts
resulted in the first CICA summit in Almaty in 2002, followed by another one
four years later but in the same place. It is also where the conference’s
Secretariat was established a few years ago. An expanding international staff,
a growing number of member-states and events all around Asia, and now a summit
in Turkey, clearly proves that the Kazakh initiative has been embraced by most
Speaking in Istanbul, President Nazarbayev stated it is
critical to enhance dialog in CICA’s military-political track of activities.
“Efficient implementation of CICA’s diplomatic instruments, including
confidence-building measures, can help diminish the risk of incidents like the
one we witnessed last week in the eastern Mediterranean. We urge all sides of
the conflict to engage in a constructive dialogue, which is vital for security
and stability in the region”, he said.
Nazarbayev stressed the cooperation between CICA and OSCE
should bring the development of a continental platform of security for the
entire Eurasian landmass. He also noted establishing working relations with
SCO, OIC, and the Central Asian Regional Informational and Coordination for
Centre for combating the illicit trafficking of drugs (CARICC) would benefit
the CICA a good deal.
Passing the presidency baton of CICA to Turkish President
Abdullah Gul, Nazarbayev stated Turkey had a unique historical, political, and
cultural experience for advancing the most complex process of building trust
and cooperation in Asia.
“I am confident that the Turkish presidency would actively
work toward advancing a concept of indivisible cooperative security in Asia
through expanded dialogue and seeking consensus”, he concluded,
The day before the CICA summit, the Kazakh OSCE chairmanship
arranged a special event focusing on security and economic co-operation in
Eurasia in the 21st century that gathered ministerial level participants from
the OSCE’s Asian and Mediterranean Partners for cooperation. OSCE
Chairperson-in-Office, Kazakhstan’s Secretary of State and Foreign Minister
Kanat Saudabayev attended this meeting and said the OSCE and CICA should
cooperate more intensively for regional security and prosperity.
"If we don't take urgent joint measures, a new wave of
financial and economic crises can emerge. We think the OSCE and CICA, as the
largest regional alliances of Eurasia, should redouble their efforts to develop
economic co-operation in the interest of all participating States," he
"Kazakhstan as the OSCE Chairmanship in 2010 will
further step up efforts for strengthening the co-operation between the two
structures and the two continents, to give it more substance via a permanent
exchange of ideas and practical experience."
An area where co-operation between the two structures has a
good potential could be the engagement with Afghanistan, said Saudabayev.
"Today it is becoming clear that the problem of Afghanistan cannot be
resolved only by military effort. Afghanistan's authorities need a firm support
in the socio-economic rehabilitation and the democratic development of the
country. It is natural that such support should emanate in the first place from
the partners of Afghanistan in the OSCE and the CICA," he added.
In this regard, Saudabayev invited his colleagues to discuss
within the framework of this event and the upcoming Summit the establishment of
the OSCE - CICA Forum, which could become an ongoing dialogue platform between
the two structures, where pressing issues of security and cooperation in the
huge Eurasian continent, including the recent tragic incident in the
Mediterranean can be discussed and examined.
Saudabayev also read out a message by President Nazarbayev
to the forum participants.
In his message the Kazakh leader reiterated his sincere
commitment to the strategic goal of creating a unified Euro-Asian zone of
security and cooperation.
As Kazakhstan is active in two major regional structures of
the continent – the CICA and the OSCE, it presumes the necessity to deepen
interaction between nations and regional associations as we are witnessing the
intertwining of Asian and European trends in world politics and economy.
In this respect, Kazakh President Nazarbayev does not
exclude the possibility of creating in the long run of a “unified platform for
security and trust throughout the Eurasian space”.
The President of Kazakhstan welcomed the fact that the CICA
quickly adapts to a changing world and consistently promotes cooperation with
the OSCE. This special event for the Asian and Mediterranean partners of the
OSCE, many of which are full members or observers of the CICA, can be a first example
of such cooperation.
The OSCE Secretary General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, high
level officials from the OSCE Troika - Greece, Kazakhstan and Lithuania, as
well as the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Joao Soares participated in
As part of the Summit, the attending heads of states and
governments held a number of bilateral meetingsin Istanbul. President
Nazarbayev first met with Turkish President Abdulla Gul and discussed the
agenda of the CICA Summit, as well as issues of bilateral cooperation. The
Kazakh President also held bilateral meetings with other counterparts,
including presidents Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, Mahmoud Abbas of the
Palestinian National Authority, Gjorge Ivanov of FYR Macedonia, Prime Ministers
Vladimir Putin of Russia and Recep Erdogan of Turkey.
Saudabayev has also held several bilateral meetings with his
fellow foreign ministers Ruslan Kazakbayev of Kyrgyzstan, Audronius Azubalis of
Lithuania, Gombojav Zandanshatar of Mongolia, and Secretary General of the Economic
Community Organization (ECO) Mohammad Yahya Maroufi.
The Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building
Measures in Asia (CICA) is an inter-governmental security forum in Asia which
initiated by President Nursultan Nazarbayev in 1992. CICA Member States include
Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, China,
Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Palestine, Russia, Tajikistan, Thailand,
Turkey, UAE, Uzbekistan, and now Iraq and Vietnam.
The CICA offers an opportunity for Asian nations to address
modern challenges to international peace and stability and set out the vision
to tackle them.