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March 2nd marks 27 years since the official accession of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Nations.
In December 2018, our country successfully completed a two-year rotation as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) -the UN's main body entrusted with the key responsibility for maintaining peace around the globe.
Throughout our time on the UNSC Top of form
Our work, our work was guided by 7 priorities identified by President Nursultan Nazarbayev in the Political Address to the UN Security Council in January 2017. This in-depth and considered document not only set out Kazakhstan's tasks and principles, but also defined the strategic goal of our diplomacy - to make the world in the 21st century safe, just and prosperous.
Mindful of the policies set out by the President, we worked closely to align our national interests with the interests of global powers, finding ways to promote mutual understanding and cooperation and offering constructive, compatible solutions to complex international issues.
For the first time, the ancient and diverse region of Central Asia was represented on the Security Council. We took our responsibility seriously, acting as the voice not only of our part of the world, but of the entire vast Asia-Pacific region.
Over the last 2 years we have been able to make a considerable contribution to implementing the agenda of the UNSC. We aspired to use our post to promote the importance of creating a renewed 21st century model of international relations, which establishes real, collective responsibility for addressing global and regional challenges.
Kazakhstan's partners, other Member States, as well as the UN observer countries and organizations, helped us to achieve many important goals in this regard. In a relatively short period, we have made significant progress in enhancing global partnerships. We made a significant contribution to the restoration and development of dialogue, building and strengthening trust between all UN member states and, above all, between permanent members of the Security Council.
At the same time, we worked closely with all actors, in particular with countries suffering from various conflicts, crises, disasters and threats, while demonstrating full adherence to the norms and principles of international law. We acted objectively and impartially, on the basis of the primary importance of preserving and consolidating peace and security, and are rightly seen as a bridge-building nation.
Our membership on the Security Council coincided with an unprecedented level of tension around the world. Relations between many of the global powers became aggravated, which created difficulties in reaching consensus when trying to address acute international problems. Despite these difficulties, Kazakhstan was able to adequately fulfil its mission, realize national priorities and repay the trust of the international community.
Kazakhstan's achievements were possible largely due to the well-known policies of President Nazarbayev, including in areas such as nuclear non-proliferation, anti-terrorism, and conflict resolution. Astana's message has always been that inclusive dialogue between leading powers is necessary to overcome “bloc thinking" and reach consensus on key global issues.
Priority 1: Disarmament and Non-proliferation
We have continued to consolidate the efforts of the world community to rid the planet of nuclear weapons through the consistent affirmation and expansion of the non-proliferation regime. The central event of Kazakhstan's chairmanship of the UN Security Council in January 2018 was a high-level thematic briefing on “Non-proliferation of WMD: Confidence Building Measures".
This event was a landmark moment in the history of Kazakhstan. For the first time, the President presided over the UN Security Council and spoke in the Kazakh language, expressing the main priorities of Kazakhstan's foreign policy on this hugely significant issue.
The discussion meant that for the first time, non-proliferation was recognised as a key element of a comprehensive conflict prevention strategy, inspired by President Nazarbayev's international Manifesto “The World. The 21st Century". This, in our opinion, positively influenced the search for ways to address the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and, we hope, will continue to serve to both prevent and resolve the effects of various crises around the globe.
At the briefing, all members of the council highly appreciated the relevance of the innovative topic chosen by Kazakhstan, which allowed for the consideration of issues of non-proliferation of WMDs in the context of confidence-building measures.
It is important that the UN Security Council, following Kazakhstan's proposal, sets out the provisions that conflict resolution can include, where and when it is appropriate, what measures are needed to restore confidence by combining the efforts of member states to achieve common goals in order to save future generations from the disaster of war. These requirements are included in the politically binding document of the Council - the first presidential statement in 2018.
Priority 2: Building a World without Conflict
The Manifesto “The World. The 21st Century", which became an official document of the Security Council and the UN General Assembly, sets out mankind's overarching priority in the 21st century, to implement a strategy that will forever save the world from the threat of wars. The manifesto also focuses on the elimination of the root causes of conflicts by developing a robust and impartial legal system which can be implemented at a global level. [A1]
Contemporary global issues such as terrorism, violent extremism, migration and other international challenges can trace their links back to economic crises, poverty, illiteracy and unemployment, global competition in international finance, and unequal trade and development. In view of this, Kazakhstan's efforts on the UNSC were aimed at creating conditions for the prevention and complete elimination of the threat of global war by reducing the degree of military confrontation at the global and regional levels.
Following extensive negotiations, Kazakhstan managed to reflect in the official documents of the Security Council the need to build a world free of violent conflict by 2045, the UN's 100th anniversary. For the first time, the Security Council recorded in its politically binding document the agreement of all members on a time frame for achieving a better world without war for future generations.
This idea was proposed by President Nazarbayev in 2015 during the 70th anniversary session of the UN General Assembly. President Nazarbayev previously proposed using confidence-building measures in 1992 during the 47th UNGA session, offering to convene the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA).
Building on this positive legacy, confidence-building measures have become common instruments for maintaining and achieving peace. Kazakhstan's knowledge of this vital mechanism is now well-known amongst many in the international community.[A2]
During our term on the UN Security Council, we made a practical contribution to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, conflicts in the Middle East, including Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Africa, as well as to improving the situation in Afghanistan and reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. A new practical stage of Kazakhstan's participation in UN peacekeeping operations has become a landmark result. In October 2018, our country first sent a peacekeeping force of 120 Kazakh troops to Lebanon to serve in partnership with India as part of the UN Interim Force.
Kazakhstan is the largest country in Central Asia in terms of the number of deployed peacekeepers abroad. The issue of sending Kazakh military observers and peacekeepers, including women, to various parts of the world, including Western Sahara, has been resolved[A3] . Moreover, the Kazakh Partnership for Peace Training Center (KAZCENT) is certified by the UN to train peacekeepers in the Protection of Civilians and UN Staff Officers for participation in international peacekeeping operations. This was one of our significant contributions to the implementation of the UN's first pillar – ensuring international peace and security.
Thus, we created an environment to actively promote our initiatives as part of the UN peacekeeping mission and have become a regional peacekeeping hub in Central Asia. Considered and well-grounded approaches, combined with the close and effective coordination of efforts of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense were key to successfully implementing this critical task.
Priority 3: Central Asia and Afghanistan
Kazakhstan became the first Central Asian state elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. We used this platform to actively promote the interests of all countries of our region, including Afghanistan.
For the first time in the past 7 years, we organized a visit for Security Council members to Afghanistan. It gave them a better understanding of the situation on the ground and enabled them to hold meetings with the country's leadership, business representatives and NGOs.
Furthermore, we organized an important and relevant ministerial-level debate at the Security Council “Building Regional Partnership in Afghanistan and Central Asia as a Model to Link Security and Development". This debate was attended by Central Asian foreign ministers.
During our tenure on the Security Council, the international community developed a positive understanding of the integration processes in Central Asia, recognizing the key role of the countries of the region in Afghanistan's economic development and ensuring joint efforts to build peace in that country. As a result, the meeting adopted a corresponding official Security Council document.
The Council also adopted a document drafted by Kazakhstan on the situation in Central Asia and the activity of the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy in our region, which had been pending for the past 3 years due to a lack of alignment amongst major players. The Council managed to overcome this impasse thanks to the internationally recognized constructive role of Kazakhstan in the region and the world, and also because we acted on behalf of all the countries of the region having received the corresponding mandate.
Priority 4: Counterterrorism
Terrorism remains one of the most important and pressing challenges to international peace and security. And it was not an easy task for us to chair the Council's sanctions committees for the fight against major terrorist organizations. Nonetheless, Kazakhstan has managed to adequately address many of these issues by injecting dynamism to the work of these subsidiary bodies of the Security Council.
Many UN Member States recognize Kazakhstan's effective counterterrorism activity, as well as our successful chairmanship of the relevant committees. Thus, the President of the Security Council visited Afghanistan, the states of Southeast Asia (Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore), Uzbekistan and Russia. Our office visited a record number of countries exposed to or threatened by terrorism as part of our leadership of these committees.
The main outcome of our work in this area was clearly the adoption in September 2018 of the Code of Conduct Towards Achieving a World Free of Terrorism. The document was originally conceived by President Nazarbayev in 2015 at the UN headquarters.
As a result of our diligent work, Kazakh diplomats managed to complete the task and succeeded in the establishment of a global coalition for a world free of terrorism, which we hope can be achieved by 2045. Today, the international coalition includes approximately 80 countries from around the world.
Priority 5: Peace and Security in Africa
Around 75% of the current UNSC agenda is devoted to conflicts in Africa.
During our term on the Security Council, the Kazakh delegation participated in over 100 meetings on protracted conflicts in countries such as the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Sudan and South Sudan, Mali, Libya, Somalia and others. The individual problems of Africa and the developing world are, generally, similar to the problems of our region. This is namely combating international terrorism, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, providing humanitarian assistance, creating jobs, and combating climate change.
Security Council members recognize that Kazakhstan, chairing the committee on Somalia and Eritrea, managed to significantly enhance its work. Visits of the chairman were organized to Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya. I should highlight that this had not been done for many years. [A4]
Kazakhstan made an important contribution to neutralizing the activities of international terrorist groups in the East African region. The actions of the country had an important catalytic effect for the large-scale process of rapprochement of the Horn of Africa countries, which began under the leadership of Ethiopia's new decision-makers. This task was set by President Nazarbayev in January 2017, and now it has been successfully implemented.
The practical outcome of Kazakhstan's efforts was the lifting of the UN Security Council's sanctions against Eritrea, which were in effect since 2009.
Priorities 6 and 7: Security-Development Nexus, UN Reform
Council members supported an innovative strategy promoted by Kazakhstan at the UN headquarters aimed at resolving and preventing conflicts and addressing their root causes.
This strategy may be applied in various parts of the world and can serve as a good model for many states to follow. Its key element is ensuring the security-development nexus, as well as promoting a regional approach and coordinating UN activities under a single entity at the headquarters and on the ground.
I would like to emphasize one more symbolic, but noticeable contribution of our country in the work of the UN Security Council. Kazakhstan has set up the tradition of holding a solemn ceremony of installing national flags for new non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, elected for the next 2 years.
For the first time in UN history, in January 2018 during our presidency of the UN Security Council, Kazakhstan initiated an official ceremony for new non-permanent members joining the Council. UN member states have called this innovation a “hallmark" of Kazakhstan's UNSC legacy. Earlier the flags of UN Security Council non-permanent members, hung in front of the Security Council hall, were changed without any ceremony. It was considered a purely technical procedure. With the introduction of a new tradition, this is now an official event in the Organization's calendar with the wide participation of representatives of UN member states and international media.
During two years of work on the UN Security Council, representatives of Kazakhstan took part in more than 1,000 open and closed meetings, 38 informal meetings of Security Council members, contributed to the adoption of 115 resolutions and 48 statements by the Council President. Behind these figures is the tremendous work of our diplomats, employees of the Foreign Ministry, its overseas agencies, as well as other state agencies of our country.
We presided over the Security Council in January 2018, taking responsibility for the global agenda and the discussion of international issues on this platform.
It is also important to note the participation of Kazakhstan in 12 field visits to various regions of the world. One of them was organized in Afghanistan. This did not go unnoticed and the Leader of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani sent a letter of thanks to our President.
We considered the ambitious task of the UN Security Council membership as a “national project". This was facilitated by our most important qualities and achievements, including tolerant thinking and honesty and impartiality. We have a achieve a great many things in recent years including the organization of Congresses of World and Traditional Religions, the Astana Process on peace negotiations in Syria, our global leadership to achieve a nuclear-free world, as well as our conflict prevention and counter-terrorism initiatives. In addition, the experience of chairing the OSCE, OIC, SCO, CICA, CIS and other international and regional agencies played a special role.
I would like to point out that amidst deep contradictions between various countries, primarily the nuclear-armed nations, the multi-vector nature of Kazakhstan's foreign policy became the key to our effective work on the Security Council, not only preserving, but also strengthening strategic cooperation with leading world powers.
We did our best to meet the expectations of the world community and, I am sure, in many ways we managed to meet their high aspirations. Kazakhstan is convinced that to effectively address the problems and challenges that the world faces we need concerted efforts of all states, increasing the impact of existing international organizations and cooperation mechanisms operating under the leadership of the UN.
The evolution of new threats in a rapidly changing world requires an adequate response and search for optimal forms of collective resistance. This will be facilitated by the good will of the UN member states to move in this direction, as well as the noble goals and activities of the Organization, including on the Security Council's platform.
I am sure that history will show the effectiveness of the position of Kazakhstan on critical issues of international policy.
Kazakhstan will continue to contribute to the consolidation of a global partnership to build a safe, just and prosperous planet.
Working in the main UN body on peace and security was a unique opportunity for us to gain invaluable diplomatic experience and strengthen the international standing of our country.
The success of Kazakhstan's work on the United Nations Security Council and our effective leadership of this body in January 2018 under the direction of President Nazarbayev is considered an important achievement for the whole Kazakh nation. All state agencies and the civil sector played an active part and contributed to the implementation of the great mission of our country on the Council.
We plan to keep actively working on the UN platform, advocating multilateral cooperation, maintaining a global system based on internationally recognized rules, jointly overcoming global challenges and promoting peace and common development throughout the world.