​Statement of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan B. Atamkulov at the Informal OSCE Ministerial Gathering

(High Tatras, July 9, 2019)

Dear Minister Lajčak,

Dear colleagues,

First of all, I would like to thank the Slovak chairmanship and Minister Lajčák personally for the excellent organization of our meeting in this picturesque corner of the world – the High Tatras. And thank you for showing us your homeland.

I am especially grateful for your dedicated efforts to bring our Organization to the level and place that it should reach in the system of international relations.

We fully support the Chairmanship's efforts to strengthen the OSCE's capacity, as we see two Organizations – the one that it is now, and the one that it could and should be.

Dear colleagues,

Judge for yourself.

It has been almost 10 years since our leaders adopted the Astana OSCE Declaration, which notes that the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security of all participating countries is inextricably linked to one another.

At the same time, we are all witnessing the loss of mutual trust in the region that our Organization covers, escalation of tensions and aggravation of serious disagreements. The number of so-called frozen or protracted conflicts has not only remained the same during this period, but also increased. Conflicts are smoldering in the Balkans and the Caucasus. Indeed, the crisis around Ukraine has become a shared pain for Kazakhstan. It has not become quieter outside the immediate area of responsibility of the OSCE – we see the blazing fire and humanitarian tragedies in Afghanistan and Syria, the “thickening of clouds” over Iran.

The existing system of international relations can be described as “bursting at the seams”. The crisis in the nuclear disarmament system clearly demonstrates how fragile the current security architecture is.

Trade wars and different geopolitical scenarios that undermine the economies of all countries have once again become a reality.

This crisis in the international cooperation system requires a global dialogue in order to achieve a strategic balance in the world.

We believe that until the global players sit down together at the negotiating table, the situation will not change radically, and there will be no progress in the OSCE.

I believe that all of us can do the following – organize a meeting of the leaders of the United States, Russia, the European Union and China to address global security issues.

This is what the Organization can do in the first place.

Almost half a century after the adoption of the Helsinki Final Act, we – a new generation of diplomats and politicians – must show the leadership and vision that made it possible to create our organization in the midst of the Cold War. Friends, it is time to remind ourselves of the “spirit of Helsinki!”

We think it is important to build on the efforts of the OSCE in combating new transnational and transboundary challenges and threats, including the threats posed by ISIL militants returning home or moving to other countries and to our member states. We call on the OSCE participating states that have not yet joined the Code of Conduct Towards Achieving World Free of Terrorism within the UN, to which 82 states are already parties, to sign it.

In times of growing intolerance and xenophobia in the OSCE region, providing a platform for a better interreligious dialogue is a good tool for preventive and mediation efforts. I agree with my colleagues that Islamophobia and discrimination against Christians should be the focus of the OSCE's attention, along with the fight against anti-Semitism.

Dear colleagues,

Let me say a few words about one country which affects not only the Central Asian region, but also the whole world. The situation in Afghanistan plays an important role in ensuring long-term stability and security in the OSCE area. In this regard, the reconstruction of Afghanistan assisted by non-military tools was one of the priorities of Kazakhstan's 2010 chairmanship in the OSCE and is one of the keypriorities of Kazakhstan's foreign policy.

The security threats and other challenges that Afghanistan continues to face require continued support from the countries of the region and international and regional organizations, as well as regional platforms.

However, in recent years the attention that the OSCE pays to Afghanistan has slightly decreased.

We believe that the time has come for the Organization to demonstrate in practice that it stands for an early return of Afghanistan to its peaceful life, for provision of comprehensive assistance to that country in economic and social development, as well as in countering threats to peace and security.

Kazakhstan expressed its readiness to hold a round-table on Afghanistan back-to-back with the visit of OSCE permanent representatives to Nur-Sultan this October.

In this regard, I call on my distinguished colleagues to support this initiative.

Dear colleagues,

In the spirit of the Astana Declaration, Kazakhstan calls on OSCE participating countries to advance the unifying agenda. And the second dimension seems to be the most appropriate sphere for this.

One of the most pressing issues for all of us today is the promotion of connectivity, which is also of concern to a number of international organizations. This is evidenced by the decision of the OSCE Ministerial Council on “Strengthening Good Governance and Promoting Connectivity” in 2016, by the results of the ASEM meeting in 2018 in Brussels, as well as by the EU's Strategy for Connecting Europe and Asia and the new EU Strategy for Central Asia.

In the development of the initiative of Secretary General Thomas Greminger on the establishment of OSCE Thematic Centres, Kazakhstan has proposed to create an OSCE Thematic Centre for Sustainable Connectivity in Nur-Sultan.

We need to conduct analytical and research work, including on good governance, green economy, development of new technology, disaster prevention, energy security and promotion of trade throughout the OSCE area.

Kazakhstan, being in the center of Eurasia, is a key link of different transcontinental projects and is perhaps the best place to promote the concept of sustainable connectivity.

We hope that the OSCE participating countries will support this initiative, new approaches and mechanisms of cooperation, which are crucial for the stable development of our common Eurasia.

Dear colleagues and friends,

We all remember what the basis of the Organization was, we remember the “spirit of Helsinki.”

The Organization has come a long way in almost 45 years. But now some raise questions like: “Why do we need the Organization?”, “What does it give us?”, “Where will the OSCE go next?”

In 2010, Kazakhstan held the only OSCE Summit so far in this century and was able to achieve the adoption of the Final Declaration.

Let me remind you that the leaders of our countries worked and argued until two o'clock in the morning to accept it. Back then, they were sincerely worried and, perhaps, truly saw the complexity of the situation, its intensity.

We, indeed, saw at that moment the “spirit of Astana” as a continuation of the “spirit of Helsinki” – the atmosphere of dialogue, complex and acute, but necessary and inevitable. The relevance of such a constructive approach, which we saw then in Astana, has increased today.

Today, being in the High Tatras, I would like our decisions and thoughts to be as great as these mountains outside the window.

Yesterday our Chair and dear friend Miroslav treated us to strong and fiery Tatra tea.

And I thought that our meeting, like the Tatra tea, should energize our Organization, imbue it with a new spirit, change it from the inside and encourage us to new good deeds.

I would like the “Tatra spirit” to be born today in the OSCE.

On this note, we propose to hold next year a conference dedicated to the 45th anniversary of the OSCE in order to renew our commitment to the fundamental principles of the Organization and discuss the prospects for its development with a view to its half-century anniversary.

We offer and will be ready to host such a conference in Kazakhstan.

Thank you for your attention.

Created at : 10.07.2019, 12:35, Updated at : 10.07.2019, 12:35