Feature interview for Open Central Asia By HE Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the UK Mr Kairat Abusseitov

Recently the decision was adopted to hold the OSCE Summit in Astana later this year. What does Kazakhstan seek to achieve as a result of this? Which direction do you think the OSCE will take after the Summit?

Indeed, on 3rd August 2010 the Ministerial Council of the OSCE participating States adopted the decision to hold the OSCE Summit in Astana 1st – 2nd December 2010. As our President, Nursultan Nazarbayev put it in his official statement, it represents a great achievement for the entire Organization and is a sign of the high level of respect from the international community. We believe that Summit will set up the road map for the OSCE’s further development as a result of successful negotiations between all parties concerned.

Mr. Kairat Abusseitov

Mr. Kairat Abusseitov

Bearing in mind that the OSCE mandate includes conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation, Kazakhstan is determined to strengthen the potential for organisation in those areas. It is worth mentioning that the OSCE states need to make joint efforts to face new and existing challenges across all three dimensions in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian area.

Among the main issues to be discussed during the Summit are the future of Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security, reconfirming member states’ earlier commitments, reinforcing the OSCE’s institutional foundation, strengthening arms control, protracted conflicts and so forth.

Kazakhstan has also set the goal of strengthening the role of the OSCE in the development of economic co-operation and the resolution of environmental problems.

We hope that the Summit will demonstrate to the international community the successful evolution of the OSCE “from Helsinki to Astana” by giving an incentive for OSCE adjustment to modern challenges and threats and increasing its role in shaping the European and Eurasian architecture.

With regards to the ongoing domestic situation in Kyrgyzstan, can you tell us how Kazakhstan has coped with it?

Kazakhstan, as the Chairman of the OSCE, has been deeply engaged in crisis management in Kyrgyzstan. No one could have predicted the deep political crisis in Kyrgyzstan, which posed a real challenge to the stability of Central Asia. As both the OSCE Chairman-in-Office and the largest investor in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan is trying to find the best formula to deploy its own and international resources and set its neighbour back on its feet.

At the peak of the political crisis in Kyrgyzstan in April 2010, Kazakhstan’s President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, together with Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev, contributed decisively to averting a civil war in Kyrgyzstan by arranging the peaceful departure of a deposed Kurmanbek Bakiyev from the country. Kazakhstan, as the OSCE Chairman, began urgent consultations with the United Nations and the European Union, as well as with the United States, Russia, China and Turkey, to coordinate joint efforts in Kyrgyzstan.

Today Kazakhstan continues to help Kyrgyzstan and plans to lend broader help in restoring the country’s business and economy. In April 2010, Kazakhstan delivered 3,700 tons of diesel oil to support Kyrgyzstan’s agriculture. On 30th June 2010, Korday administration of Zhambyl oblast (region) provided humanitarian aid in the form of 30 tons of flour sent directly to southern regions of the country for victims in Osh. The overall value of the humanitarian aid to Kyrgyzstan committed to date by Kazakhstan amounts to about US$6 million.

At an early July meeting in Astana with the Interim President of Kyrgyzstan, Roza Otunbayeva, the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, initiated the commissioning of a multi-million dollar programme for the Economic Restoration and Rehabilitation of Kyrgyzstan.

Kazakhstan welcomed the success of the Kyrgyz referendum, held on 27th June 2010, as an important step towards returning to a legal framework and the peaceful development of the country. We have urged all political forces in the country to unite their efforts in reviving the economy and solving the most urgent social needs.

Kazakhstan has been promoting the contribution to the peaceful resolution of the situation in Afghanistan by OSCE member states as one of its major goals during the Chairmanship. How does Kazakhstan envisage this contribution?

One of Kazakhstan’s main priorities during its Chairmanship is to enhance the Organization’s role in the international efforts to rehabilitate Afghanistan. We have begun implementing President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s initiative for an educational programme to train young Afghan people at higher and vocational educational institutions in Kazakhstan. The first 200 students will take up their studies this year. Kazakhstan has allocated US$50 million for these purposes. Kazakhstan has demonstrated its commitment to developing trade and economic cooperation with Afghanistan by opening an office of its Chamber of Commerce in Kabul.

OSCE Chairman-in-office, Kanat Saudabayev, called upon the OSCE countries to get actively involved in resolving the Afghan issue. He emphasized the importance of changing the method of combating the challenges emanating from Afghanistan from military means to the eradication of the sources of these challenges. Kazakhstan actively promotes the Afghan agenda during the ongoing events under the auspices of Kazakhstan’s Chairmanship in the OSCE.

Helping the Afghans move from military conflict to a constructive track is a major objective of both the OSCE and the international coalition. Over recent years, Kazakhstan has allocated some US$4 million to rebuilding schools, hospitals and roads in Afghanistan. Astana has also delivered to Afghanistan about three thousand tons of wheat, transferred US$1 million to the Special Fund for Islamic solidarity of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), part of which will be directed to Afghanistan’s reconstruction efforts.

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