The OSCE and Global Security
By Nursultan Nazarbayev,
President of the Republic of Kazakhstan
The Astana Summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), held on December 1-2, 2010, was a unique event.
The decision to hold it was not easy. The balance of opinions wavered under the weight of opposing arguments until the very last moment.
Perhaps, the most serious argument against the summit was whether there was a point at all in holding a summit of an organization which, in fact, has already fulfilled its mission? The OSCE had come out successful of the Cold War era, helped dismantle the Iron Curtain, and instill the Helsinki principles in the post-totalitarian countries of Eastern Europe and the CIS.
Now, Europe has changed, and the world has become a different place. Therefore, as proponents of this view have asserted, in modern circumstances, the OSCE could only aspire to take its proud place in a global museum of history. This view is still reflected in some of the numerous assessments of the outcome of the Astana summit.
I never shared this opinion. On the contrary, I believe that the value of the OSCE is exactly in the fact that, at times of different, critical years for Europe and the world, its goals and principles have remained a universal basis for maintaining and strengthening security in the vast area of the northern hemisphere from Vancouver to Vladivostok.
In July 1992, speaking at the third summit of the CSCE in Helsinki , I called for the beginning of a similar process in the Asian continent. A few months later, in October of the same year, speaking from the rostrum of the 47 th session of the UN General Assembly, I proposed the idea of convening a Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA). Today, the CICA is a successful security structure, which acquired the status of a fully-fledged international organization. Its work involves 27 Asian states. That is 90% of the continent's area, inhabited by half of the population of the world.
Isn't this compelling evidence of the strength of the “Helsinki Spirit” as a global factor?
The Astana Summit: a Step into the 21st Century
My initiative to convene the OSCE summit in Astana was based on a number of considerations.
First was my deep conviction that, in the 21 st century, the OSCE can and must use all of its vast experience to build an ambitious new security system spanning the entire Eurasian continent, the space surrounded by four oceans, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Arctic to the Indian.
Second, it was important to recover the OSCE from the critical state in which it found itself.
After the 1999 Istanbul Summit, the Organization got “lost” in the rapid pace of global change.
Although it managed to freeze the local conflicts in its area of responsibility – namely those in the Balkans, Transnistria, Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia , – it has not been able to find a way to resolve those conflicts.
New sources of complex challenges and security threats, such as international terrorism, drug trafficking, transnational crime and illegal migration, have sprung up far beyond Europe , while the OSCE participating states have developed differing approaches to understanding the fundamental issues of military, humanitarian and economic dimensions of security.
Third, it was necessary to restore the value and effectiveness of direct dialogue among the leaders of the OSCE.
It is hard to achieve trust without direct dialogue and without summits. Some participating states have had a whole generation of political leaders who had never met each other at an OSCE summit.
I further developed all of these arguments in favour of convening a summit in an address to the OSCE Permanent Council, during bilateral meetings with my colleagues, heads of state and government, and in speeches at a number of fora held under Kazakhstan 's chairmanship in the OSCE. I am grateful to my colleagues, the heads of state and government of the OSCE, for their support of my arguments.
At the Istanbul summit in 1999, the OSCE essentially stopped at the open door of the 21st century.
Now, it was able to cross the threshold in Astana. It was a difficult step, but it has now been made. This bold step has become a unifying success for the entire Organization, and the beginning of its renewal.
The Astana Summit, attended by 73 official delegations from all participating states and partners, as well as key international organizations, demonstrated their readiness to further the dialogue about the necessary changes in the largest international security structure.
It should be noted that the OSCE summit in Astana was simultaneous with such major international fora as the EU-Africa summit in Tripoli and the Climate Change Conference in Cancun in Latin America . Despite this, the OSCE summit in Astana became the most representative forum of the Organization.
Not without pride, I would venture that Kazakhstan 's chairmanship of the OSCE has played an important role in this success.
The Energy of Kazakhstan 's Chairmanship
As we assumed the OSCE Chairmanship in January 2010, we put forward a plan for the renewal of the OSCE and implemented it benefitting from the wide support of all our partners.
A key task of Kazakhstan 's chairmanship has been to expand and strengthen the field of consensus on fundamental issues of security.
We have continued the process of establishing a common approach by all the OSCE participating states to the understanding of present threats and challenges.
This was especially important in order to find coordinated responses to them and, in general, to build confidence within the Organization.
Kazakhstan has introduced innovation into this process, building on multi-country dialogue through consultations with representatives of such authoritative global and regional institutions as the UN, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, NATO, the EU, the Council of Europe, SCO, CIS, CSTO, OIC and others. Their delegations attended the Astana Summit of the OSCE.
The political lexicon of the OSCE firmly embraced the concept of a common and indivisible area for Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security.
We have methodically worked on all three baskets of the OSCE.
Collective efforts to renew and strengthen the regime of arms control and confidence-building measures acquired new dynamics.
This makes it possible to complete the process of modernizing the 1999 Vienna Document in 2011. At the same time, the agreement on the beginning of substantive negotiations on issues of entry into force of the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (Adapted CFE) is of special importance.
Furthermore, the negotiation processes over settlement of frozen conflicts in the framework of the OSCE have been updated.
As the OSCE chair-in-office, Kazakhstan has worked to strengthen the OSCE's capacity in conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation.
The work of the Minsk Group to resolve the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh was also activated.
We have been actively involved in resolving the political crisis in Kyrgyzstan in close cooperation with the United Nations, Russia , the United States and other countries. Kazakhstan continues to play an important role in stabilizing the situation in that country and in the restoration of economic damage caused by internal conflict.
We have encouraged our OSCE partners to expand their participation in the peace settlement in Afghanistan and its economic revival.
Kazakhstan has provided Afghanistan with many different kinds of assistance. We have allocated funds to educate domestically one thousand young Afghans who will learn the most needed peaceful professions. Food has been delivered and agreements to build several economic facilities in Afghanistan have been signed.
We are convinced that Kazakhstan 's contribution to resolving the Afghan problem could be useful as an example to all OSCE participating states.
Kazakhstan 's Chairmanship has drawn the attention of our partners to a number of issues of relevance to Central Asian security.
Specifically, we held a donor conference on the Aral Sea , and promoted the idea of adopting, in the OSCE format, the “Water and Rights” Programme as an international legal framework for resolving water issues of the region affected by water shortages.
This has become Kazakhstan 's contribution to the renewal of the economic and environmental basket of the OSCE, in light of the global trends and contents.
We have also drawn the attention of our partners in the Organization to the need for a consolidated search of ways to overcome the consequences of the global financial and economic crisis.
Kazakhstan has proposed to carry out work on the high-quality implementation of the Maastricht Strategy of the OSCE and adapting it to a post-crisis environment.
Within the third, human basket, Kazakhstan as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious state, has actively promoted the idea of an intercultural and interreligious dialogue.
Convened by Kazakhstan 's Chairmanship in Astana in June 2010, the OSCE High-Level Conference on Tolerance and Non-Discrimination confirmed the importance of the exchange of experience in ensuring interethnic and interfaith accord.
Its participants highly praised the model of peace and accord among 140 ethnicities and 46 faiths successfully implemented in Kazakhstan .
They have called for active use of the capacity of the OSCE in addressing nationalism, religious intolerance, racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism.
Overall, Kazakhstan 's Chairmanship in the OSCE has provided dynamism to OSCE's entire work. We approached this noble mission with a deep sense of responsibility and fully accomplished the objectives we have set for ourselves.
In their addresses at the Astana Summit, heads of state and government and heads of delegations praised Kazakhstan 's vigorous efforts as Chair of the OSCE.
Kazakhstan , which shut down the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, fully relinquished its nuclear arsenal, realized the idea of establishing the CICA and has actively promoted the integration in Eurasia , has once again proven itself a responsible member of the global community.
OSCE's Global Geometry
In geopolitics, the shortest distance between the two points is not always connected by a straight line. For the OSCE, a road from Istanbul to Astana has taken eleven years.
This is why the historic value of the "Astana Commemorative Declaration: Towards a Security Community" is indisputable.
First, it confirms the relevance of the principles on which the Organization was based and the commitment of all 56 participating states to the norms and commitments adopted within it, starting with the Helsinki Final Act, the Paris Charter, the Charter of European Security, and other instruments.
Second, the Eurasian vector of the OSCE has been enshrined for the first time ever.
The Astana Declaration particularly noted that the security in the OSCE area is inextricably related to the security in neighbouring regions, especially, the Mediterranean and Asia .
It set the goal of establishing common and indivisible Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security community as the primary goal for the OSCE in the new century.
Third, the document welcomed all initiatives to strengthen the OSCE and its ability to adequately and effectively address the challenges of the 21 st century.
I would like to note that numerous proposals have been heard from the tribune of the OSCE Summit stressing shared motivation of all participating states to take the Organization to a new and higher level.
This is the essence of the "Astana spirit" brought into life in a difficult and open discussion.
An initiative by the President of the Russian Federation , Dmitry Medvedev, on the adoption of a legally binding Treaty on European Security is aimed at the creation of strong guarantees of indivisibility of the common security area.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi noted the importance for the OSCE of using the example of tolerance and mutual respect, which Kazakhstan and Astana demonstrated to the world during the summit.
All the ideas for strengthening OSCE mechanisms should certainly be viewed as a collective contribution to the process of rethinking the role of the Organization in consolidating global security.
I entirely support the position voiced at the Astana Summit by U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, that, other than the OSCE, “there is no other regional organization as well positioned to do so”.
It is especially relevant when it comes to strengthening the Organization's capacity in effectively responding to emerging threats and challenges, preventing and resolving grave conflicts in the entire area of its responsibility.
In its turn, Kazakhstan has also made proposals to strengthen the OSCE, and their significance was praised by the participants of the Astana Summit.
In our view, the global geometry of the OSCE in the 21 st century should consist of the following targeted actions:
• First, Kazakhstan has called for interaction in strengthening global security among integration structures of the Eurasian continent.
In terms of "East – West", it is the interaction between the European Union and NATO on one hand, and EurAsEC and CSTO on the other. In terms of "North – South", it is the interaction between the OSCE, CICA and the Organization of Islamic Conference, which Kazakhstan will chair in 2011;
• Second, we have proposed to single out the issues of financial and economic security as a separate basket of the OSCE.
Today, the OSCE area and, overall, Eurasia, comprise the most promising areas of the planet's economic growth – North America, the European Union, China, Russia, India, the Persian Gulf, and Southeast Asia.
This is why it is important to look for ways of interaction among them through trust and effective security systems.
I believe the OSCE has the potential to participate in the process of creating the world reserve currency, develop guidelines for coordinated monetary and financial policies, and cooperation and integration in the Euro-Atlantic and Euro-Asian area.
In our view, there is a need to adopt a new document, "Maastricht Plus", in which it would be reasonable to reflect these issues . This position has received support in several speeches by heads of state and government at the Astana Summit, including by Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, and others.
It is necessary to supplement the OSCE structure with councils on energy security and economic interaction;
• Third, in order to enhance the politico-military dimension, we have proposed to establish a specific OSCE forum to elaborate new contractual norms in disarmament and non-proliferation.
There is also a need to establish the council at the level of ministers of the OSCE participating states to coordinate the fight against cross-border crime, drug trafficking and illegal migration;
• Fourth, we have called for honest and open interfaith dialogue.
In his speech at the Cairo University in June 2009, US President Barack Obama fairly stated: "In order to move forward, we must say openly to each other the things we hold in our hearts and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground.”
I believe that it is possible to hold such a dialogue within the OSCE through the already available platform of the ‘Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions', which has regularly been held in Astana since 2003.
In our view, it is necessary to develop the document “OSCE: Towards Tolerance in a New Decade,” which will outline the principles of interaction and cooperation among main religions of the world, especially between Islam and Christianity, for the sake of global confirmation of ideals of goodwill and fair world order;
• Fifth, within the OSCE, it is crucial to organize the work on forecasting various security issues as a separate dimension by creating an OSCE Security Institute.
It is also important to ensure that OSCE structures are equally deployed throughout the area of responsibility of the Organization, including in its Asian portion.
This process was initiated by the Astana Summit, held for the first time ever in Central Asia, beyond the geographic borders of Europe .
At the beginning of the century, in my book "A critical decade", I strongly refuted the thesis, imposed on us, about Central Asia as a part of a global arc of instability.
I believe in a different potential for the region: its ability to be a bridge between West and East, North and South.
After the OSCE Summit in Astana, one may say that Central Asia has avoided the fate of becoming an area with down-sized security mechanisms.
Today, Kazakhstan and all the Central Asian states have entered the international arena as an important link in strengthening Eurasian and global security.
This is necessary for strengthening our new states which will be all celebrating the 20 th anniversary of their independence in 2011.
I must note that the OSCE Summit in Astana has positively influenced Kazakhstan . It has united our nation, strengthened belief in our ability to resolve incredibly difficult challenges and achieve our highest goals. We have shown that we are responsible before the world community, consistent and active in enhancing peace, stability and security.
The OSCE Summit in Astana has drawn a line under the complex period in the history of the OSCE. It opened a door into the future for the OSCE and gave it a unique chance for renewal.
Now it is necessary to continue the joint work unabated. All proposals to reform the OSCE made in Astana should be thoroughly analyzed and taken into account while finalizing the OSCE Action Plan for the forthcoming years.
I am convinced that the experience of Kazakhstan , which led the OSCE in 2010, will be seamlessly developed by subsequent chairmanships: Lithuania in 2011, Ireland in 2012 and Ukraine in 2013, and others.
At the same time, it is crucial that the OSCE high-level dialogue is not interrupted. This depends on the will and motivation of all OSCE participating states and their leaders.
This is the main condition for ensuring the Organization's efficiency, while strengthening the stability and security of its participating states.
Globalization has closely tied the fates of different countries and peoples. We all share common objectives: peace and accord, progress and prosperity on the planet. It is these noble goals that constitute the global mission of the OSCE in the 21 st century.