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Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to the United States testifies before the US Helsinki Commission

On Tuesday, October 16, Ambassador of Kazakhstan, HE Erlan Idrissov, testified in the US Congress during the Helsinki Commission’s hearings on Kazakhstan’s bid to chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2009.

Category: General
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Ambassador Idrissov highlighted the key points of his country’s official position on the OSCE chairmanship citing a number of arguments in favor of Kazakhstan’s bid. He strongly urged the US to support the young republic in achieving one of its main foreign policy goals. “Kazakhstan as a trustworthy partner of the US… has every right to count on reciprocity over this matter,” he claimed during the hearings.

Other witnesses, including Freedom House’s Director of Programs, Dr. Robert Herman, US National Security Council’s former Central Asian affairs guru, David Merkel, and a prominent opposition figure from Kazakhstan, Evgeniy Zhovtis, offered their own insights into the issue.

Dr. Herman and Mr. Zhovtis expressed rather critical views on Kazakhstan’s chances to chair the influential organization, whereas Mr. Merkel adopted a more optimistic approach calling for support of the Central Asian state’s aspirations as, according to him, Kazakhstanian ambitions fully comply with the best interests of the OSCE as well as those of the United States.

US Helsinki Commission’s co-chairman, Rep. Alcee Hastings, was all balance and impartiality in his comments, warning the participants however that no country is ideal and that becoming chairman-in-office is a heavy responsibility which can itself encourage further change and transformation in any state.

The questions & answers session, which followed the main discussion, brought about a lively debate involving the audience.