Astana Calling, May 27, 2011
Kazakhstan’s prominent politician and diplomat Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the newly appointed UN Deputy Secretary General and Director General of the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG) officially took office as the Secretary General of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) as well as the Personal Representative of the UN Secretary General to the CD on May 24. By established practice, this post is assigned based on unanimous agreement of the CD members at the proposal of the UN Secretary General.
“The international community expects from the Conference the beginning of effective negotiations with respect to the forum’s agenda, which for 14 years now have been in an inactive status,” Tokayev said in his address.
He reiterated that there exists “an obvious disagreement” among states about the future of the Conference, with many now questioning its importance. Tokayev, therefore, called on the CD members to begin a constructive and open cooperation to preserve the authority of the forum as the sole multilateral means for disarmament.
“I believe the CD still has the capacity to yet drag itself out of its impasse. For this goal deliberations and discussions must be complemented with negotiations. As a true supporter of multilateral disarmament, I will take it upon myself to do everything within my powers to help you to preserve this valuable body from falling into disarray,” Tokayev said.
Coordinators of all regional groups, as well as other members of the Conference on Disarmament, in turn, expressed their readiness to cooperate closely with the CD Secretary General. Representatives of Belarus, China, the Republic of Korea, and Russia highlighted the contribution and role of Kazakhstan in the field of nuclear disarmament.
The Conference on Disarmament was established in 1979 as a result of the first Special Session on Disarmament of the UN General Assembly held in 1978. The Conference is the single multilateral negotiating forum of the international community to forge agreements on disarmament.
At present, the Conference has 66 member states and 38 observers. Kazakhstan joined this forum in August 1999.