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07/03/08

Special Issue No 8


KAZAKHSTAN’S PRESIDENT PROMISES FURTHER DEMOCRATIC REFORM, INTENDS TO STRENGTHEN THE OSCE

Category: General
Posted by: admin

 

 
Kazakhstan
News Bulletin
Released by the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States of America
 
1401 16 Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
Tel.: (202)232-5488 Fax: (202)232-5845

Special IssueNo 8, July 3, 2008
 
KAZAKHSTAN’S PRESIDENT PROMISES FURTHER DEMOCRATIC REFORM, INTENDS TO STRENGTHEN THE OSCE
 
 
As the Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2010, Kazakhstan will contribute to its transformation into a powerful organization able to withstand growing challenges and threats, President Nazarbayev said in his keynote address at the opening of the 17th session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Astana on June 29.
 
“Kazakhstan seeks to strengthen the organization as a forum for an equal dialogue, exchange of positive experience and search for efficient decisions. We believe that the forthcoming chairmanship is a good opportunity to give a fresh impetus to the cooperation among the OSCE member states”, President Nazarbayev said.
 
According to a recent Reuters report (on June 29, by Maria Golovnina), “addressing the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in the Caspian state's capital Astana, President Nursultan Nazarbayev reassured the West he was fully committed to democratic change. "We want to be a modern, democratic and prosperous nation," he told the Assembly, the OSCE's first such meeting in Central Asia. "The potential of Kazakhstan's constitution... allows us to fulfill many very important steps of further democratization"…
“…many in Kazakhstan credit him with bringing stability after years of post-Soviet chaos and using oil revenues to raise living standards. In his speech, Nazarbayev said a key step would be to create a more democratic parliament with at least two political parties, but gave no hints as to whether he wanted to call a snap parliamentary election to achieve the goal. He also vowed to allow more media freedom, reform electoral law and make it easier for parties to gain state registration.”
 
Visiting Chairman of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Mr. Goran Lennmarker, took a positive look at the country’s chairmanship prospects: “I look forward to Kazakhstan’s OSCE chairmanship in 2010 as an opportunity ... to strengthen democracy and openness in this big and important country”.
 
Please find some extracts from President Nazarbayev’s address below
 
Extracts from the address delivered by the President of Kazakhstan, Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev
at the opening of the 17th annual meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly
 
 
Dear Mr. Chairman,
Ladies and gentlemen,
 
Parliamentary diplomacy plays a key role in maintaining the atmosphere of trust and mutual understanding across the OSCE space.
 
The work of the Parliamentary Assembly is of great importance for the national parliaments involved in democracy-building and the development of humanitarian and legal standards.
 
It is parliamentarians that – being elected by the general public – are capable of integrating needs and hopes of the common people into the political ideas promoted by the OSCE.
 
This is of special importance nowadays, when the global context is growing complicated and unstable.
 
The context is being defined by the financial, energy, food and environmental crises, repercussions of which are felt by all nations without exception. All this calls for a global solution worked out through as wide as possible international cooperation.
 
Non-proliferation-based system of global security is close to paralysis. Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is of asymmetric nature: it only imposes sanctions against non-nuclear states and does not encourage members of the nuclear club to reduce their nuclear arsenals or renounce them altogether. This injustice transforms into inobservance of the Treaty.
 
No less serious trends have been seen in the global economy realm. Significant devaluation of the US Dollar, notably against the currencies of China, Japan and Europe, resulted in weakening of the Dollar’s positions as the universal reserve currency.
 
This makes many players look at the financial mechanisms in a new way and brings the issue of multi-polar financial system into today’s agenda. We are aware of Russia’s plans to turn the Ruble into the regional reserve currency by 2020. Similar opportunities are being considered in the Arab World, Latin America and South East Asia.
 
Profound geopolitical changes of recent years have made us understand that there is no such thing as exclusively European security or exclusively Asian security. Instability in any state poses a security threat for the entire Eurasia.
 
Security issues are at the core of the OSCE efforts. How will the Organization pursue security and stable development for its members? The ultimate answer is yet to be found.
 
Since gaining its independence, Kazakhstan has been a model nation which contributes significantly into the strengthening of both regional and global security.
 
An important decision taken at the dawn of the sovereign nation was to close the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing site, renounce the 4th largest nuclear arsenal in the world and dismantle the entire related infrastructure.
Our nation has been an active player in the wide international efforts to promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, fight against international terrorism, religious extremism, drug trafficking and other contemporary threats.
 
We are fully aware of the serious role we have been playing in the regional and global economic processes. Kazakhstan is a key player in the global system of energy infrastructure; we are among the largest hydrocarbon exporters. This role is bound to grow.
 
In the context of the global food crises, Kazakhstan – being a leading producer of wheat and flour and capable of significantly expanding crops areas – is a fertile soil for advanced agricultural technologies and new investments.
 
Thus, Kazakhstan has abundant energy and food resources and is able to increase supplies to global markets in return for large-scale investments and best European technology. Such cooperation will be beneficial for all parties involved and will bring the global prices down.
 
We are ready to work closely with the international community along the “resources in return for technology and investments” formula.
 
According to the World Bank, we are among the top 20 countries most attractive for investors. For the last 8 years our annual average GDP growth stood at 10%. The amount of our gold and currency reserves exceeded $50 billion. During the years of independence, Kazakhstan has attracted around $100 billion of FDI, which is about 80 percent of the overall FDI accommodated by the entire Central Asia. In recent years our nation itself has turned into an active investor: our investments, including into the economies of neighboring states, total $4.5 billion.
 
High growth rates enabled us to double our economy by 2007 against 2000 and we plan to triple it by 2015 [against 2000].
 
Relying on these successes, Kazakhstan has set the goal of entering the club of 50 most competitive nations in the world. We seek to diversify the national economy based on an innovation-driven industrialization model.
 
Kazakhstan has been pursuing a multi-vector foreign policy. And this is not a simple thing to do. Napoleon once said that “the policy of a state lies in its geography”.
 
Our strategy rests on Kazakhstan’s geography. The Almighty placed us in the heart of Eurasia. We share an extended border with China (1700 km), and even longer border with Russia (7.5 thousand km); not far southwards there is a ‘boiling’ Islamic world, including such countries as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq.
 
Westwards there is the Caspian Sea holding world’s second largest oil and gas reserves. It is important that the Caspian basin should be the region of stability so that its resources could ensure prosperity of the Caspian littoral states and enable them to supply even more hydrocarbons to the world markets.
 
We are located at the crossroads important in terms of geopolitics, geoeconomy and transit. We are a moderate-size nation; there are just 16 million of us. But we are eager to be a modern, democratic and prospering nation. And we always appreciate a kind advice of our friends.
 
To achieve the goals that we set for ourselves, we are working hard to create a non-resource based economy.
 
To enhance security in the region, we have together established the Conference for Interaction and Confidence-building Measures in Asia, an Asian analogue of the OSCE; Shanghai Cooperation Organization; Eurasian Economic Community. Kazakhstan has been rendering active support to these organizations. Establishment of the Union of Central Asian States, an economic integration to guarantee stability and further development of the region, is also of great importance to us.
 
Our major vector is to put in place modern systems of education, healthcare and social security by leveraging recent economic growth.
 
An adjacent set of issues is that of protection of human rights of all the citizens and individual social groups. True equality of rights and accord among all the ethnic and religious groups are our key values.
 
Kazakhstan is home to over 130 ethnic groups representing 46 religious confessions. At the dawn of independence many analysts forecasted chaos and civil wars. Thank God, we have avoided that.
 
Our nation has been successfully putting into practice a unique model of dialogue among diverse cultures and religions. It is a critical component of our moving towards democracy.
 
Starting from 2003 Astana has been one of the centers of global interfaith dialogue through hosting the Congress of World Religions. This forum facilitates mutual understanding and partnership among nations. Next year Astana plans to host the 3rd Congress.
 
We have put forward an initiative to establish dialogue between the West and the Islamic World. I can testify the imitative is of great interest to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). I hope it will be properly appreciated in Europe.
 
By the way, OIC member countries have chosen Kazakhstan to host its next conference in 2011.
 
 
Dear ladies and gentlemen!
 
Having been elected to chair the OSCE, Kazakhstan seeks to strengthen the Organization as a forum for an equal dialogue, exchange of positive experience and search for effective solutions. Against the backdrop of growing challenges and threats, we speak in favor of turning the OSCE into a powerful organization.
 
Despite current disputes, the OSCE potential defined 33 years ago in Helsinki remains solid.
 
We speak in favor of transforming the OSCE efforts with due consideration of interests of all its members. We believe that the forthcoming chairmanship is a good opportunity to give a fresh impetus to the cooperation among the OSCE member states
 
We intend to highlight solutions to important security issues, efforts to foster inter-culture and interfaith dialogue, efforts to bridge new gaps in Europe, search for factors to unite the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian areas of the Organization’s activity.
 
We will be rendering every possible support to the OSCE efforts to eradicate racism, intolerance and discrimination. We expect Kazakhstan’s chairmanship in the Organization to facilitate bringing solutions to problems in Central Asia, boosting the region’s cooperation with Europe and assisting in joint efforts in Afghanistan.
 
Europe and Asia are a single subcontinent interlaced with multiple historic and economic ties. We cannot meet the current challenges and provide security without joining our efforts. I believe that following in the steps of the European Union we will come one day to creating the Eurasian Union. This is what is required for prosperity of Eurasia, our common large continent.
 
The decision to elect Kazakhstan to the OSCE chairmanship in 2010 has led us to developing a special program “Road to Europe”. The program reflects our interest in a wider interaction with European countries in energy, transport transit, technology transfer, education, humanitarian cooperation.
 
By all means, an important component of the program and of strategic plan of the nation’s development is the enhancement of institutional capabilities of Kazakhstan.
 
Our understanding of democratic processes rests on two major points. First of all, on a number of fundamental/universal principles. And secondly, on national and cultural features which must be taken into account when adhering to the universal principles.
 
Kazakhstan’s way to democracy is a realistic scenario that seeks to effectively meet the goal.
 
The potential of Kazakhstan’s Constitution – which is based on the modern democratic model – enables us to take some very serious steps to democratize the society.
 
First of all, it is the creation of a legal mechanism to form a parliament comprising at least two political parties.
 
Secondly, it is the creation of more favorable conditions for state registration of political parties.
 
At the same time we have to keep in mind that the creation of parties should be in line with the nation’s Constitution.
 
Thirdly, it is the improvement of election procedures.
 
Fourthly, we need to remove the excessive bureaucratic barriers in regulation of the country’s mass media. Nevertheless, the state should make sure that the media do not violate human rights, do not threaten the nation’s security or undermine interfaith and interethnic tolerance.
 
I hope these principles and suggestions will be considered by our Parliament.
 
 
 


 

News Bulletin of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Contact person: Zhanbolat Ussenov
Tel.: 202-232-5488 ext 104; Fax: 202-232-5845
E-mail:zhan@kazakhembus.com
 Web-site: www.kazakhembus.com