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OSCE MPs Focus on Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Democracy

Almaty, May 18: On May 14 and 15 Kazakhstan’s southern capital of Almaty hosted the Second Trans-Asian Parliamentary Forum, “The OSCE Eurasian Dimension”. This forum is the first major event held in Kazakhstan under the country’s chairmanship in the OSCE, and it brought together members of parliament not only from OSCE member states but also from countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel and Qatar. Also participating were representatives of organizations such as the United Nations, the European Union and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia.

The forum’s agenda included pressing issues of regional security including Afghanistan, terrorism and disarmament, economic concerns (trade, resource management, environmental issues), and the human dimension (religious tolerance, political development, freedom of the media, drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings and gender equality). There also was a discussion of the situation in Kyrgyzstan and its implications for parliamentary democracy.

Speaking at the opening of the forum, the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Secretary of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kanat Saudabayev noted that today the Eurasian dimension is crucial for security and cooperation throughout the OSCE area and beyond. This requires both deep consideration and analysis of the situation in Eurasia, including interests of the OSCE states parties “to the east of Vienna”, as well as the vision of Asian partners in addressing any problems in the agenda of the Organization.

He also stressed Kazakhstan considers this Forum “an important step towards building a truly integrated perception of security in the OSCE area”. 

Since the first days of the chairmanship full cooperation with all OSCE institutions has been achieved and for the first time in the last five years the Organization’s budget was timely adopted, Saudabayev said.

“We attach much attention to preventing the emergence of new dividing lines in the OSCE area, expanding and strengthening of consensus on fundamental issues in development of the Organization”, Saudabayev added.

He underlined that OSCE Chairmanship has “substantive consultations with all States Parties on such important issues as the Corfu process and the European security architecture, intensifying assistance for Afghanistan, and other issues.

“We are working to make a worthy contribution to the solution of protracted conflicts, especially in the former USSR,” he added.

The importance of regional security was again underlined by Kanat Saudabayev in light of the tragic events in Kyrgyzstan in early April this year which had plunged the country into turmoil, crisis and lawlessness.

This was a serious test for Kazakh Chairmanship and for the OSCE as a whole, Saudabayev said, highlighting the relevance and effectiveness demonstrated by the OSCE. “The international community, with the OSCE playing a major role, has timely applied political action tools to resolve the crisis,” Saudabayev noted.

Kazakhstan’s chairmanship has already involved such important resources as the personal authority of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev who has worked through all days of the crisis to break the standoff in the interests of all the people of Kyrgyzstan.

The joint efforts of presidents Nursultan Nazarbayev, Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev prevented the escalation of violence and averted a civil war, Saudabayev stressed. 

The OSCE continues to assist Kyrgyzstan in recovering from the crisis. The OSCE reserve fund has allocated 200,000 euros to maintain public order and safety, strengthening the rule of law and democracy.

“Kazakhstan is also providing the necessary humanitarian and economic assistance to our brotherly people on a bilateral basis”, the OSCE Chairman-in-Office stated.

Speaking of the lessons from these events, Saudabayev emphasized that the responsibility for region’s stable development does not lie on an individual state or organization.

“Instability of one state, throwing it on the margins of civilized development, creates a fertile ground for extremism, organized crime, drug trafficking, thereby translating security threats far beyond the area. Therefore in the face of growing challenges and threats to security and prosperity of our nations we need close cooperation and mutual understanding, unity of approach and coordination of all interested states and organizations more than ever”, Saudabayev noted.

Saudabayev also read out the message from President Nursultan Nazarbayev who said: “We regard the OSCE chairmanship as the international community’s recognition of Kazakhstan’s contribution to strengthening regional and global security. We believe Kazakhstan’s practical experience in voluntary and transparent elimination of nuclear and missile capabilities will be useful for the OSCE”.

“In less than two decades, the Kazakh people built a state with a stable political system and an effective market economy, and successfully passed the global crisis. Our model of interethnic and interreligious harmony is Kazakhstan’s real contribution to the humanitarian dimension of the OSCE,” Nazarbayev noted.

Kazakhstan is firmly determined to contribute to the development of the OSCE, promote the effectiveness and the development of a potential of the OSCE as a unique dialogue platform which unites 56 countries on three continents. Located in the heart of Eurasia, Kazakhstan is especially aware of the relevance of such dialogue and believes its OSCE chairmanship will initiate a new stage in relations between the East and the West.

“Therefore, I have put forward an initiative to convene a summit of the OSCE in 2010. We are grateful to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly for its support of this idea. Holding an OSCE summit would be a symbol of rebirth of the "spirit of Helsinki" in new historical conditions,” President Nazarbayev added.

Nazarbayev also noted that the problems of sustainable economic development, poverty, refugees, unemployment and labor migration, terrorism, drug trafficking and other threats are serious challenges for humanity. Fighting these problems requires maximum effort of each state and of such influential organizations as the OSCE, the Kazakh President stressed.

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