Kazakhstan: two years on the UN Security Council

Prague, 14 March, Caucasus Times. Kazakhstan’s non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council has come to the end. It is the largest country in Central Asia. For the two years, the country made its best to strengthen the position of the Organization as the global political regulator of peace and security.


Since the collapse of the USSR, Kazakhstan appeared to be in a difficult situation: in 1991, the country automatically inherited nuclear weapons from the Soviet Union and became the fourth largest nuclear power of the world. However, only a year later, the country decided to close its nuclear program and completely abandon possession of nuclear weapons. As a result, Kazakhstan became the first and so far the only country in the world that voluntarily renounced its nuclear weapons.


Since then on the world stage, Kazakhstan has been pursuing a policy of peaceful settlement of any conflicts and maximum expansion of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.


Under the chairmanship of the UN Security Council (January 2018), Kazakhstan held a special meeting on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and confidence-building measures.


A unique statement was made by the chairman of the UN Security Council, which noted that a comprehensive conflict prevention strategy must include early warning, preventive deployment, mediation, peacekeeping, non-proliferation, accountability measures, and post-conflict peace-building.


For the first time along with these issues, the document comprised problems of the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This was what made the given document unique.


At the same time, Kazakhstan was one of the initiators of transformation of the United Nations into a more consistent, integrated and efficient structure, which should use conflict prevention and preventive diplomacy tools more effectively as well as cooperation with regional and subregional organizations.


The inclusion of the last point in the statement of the Security Council President has demonstrated that the UN recognizes influence of various regional associations on the political processes, including influence of developing countries that are not in the G20.


Kazakhstan believes that the Security Council in its current state no longer reflects the realities of the world. One of the reasons is that the key players of the UN Security Council refuse to recognize emergence of new centers of power that have emerged in the past couple of decades. First of all, the matter is about growing influence of the developing countries on the world economy and politics.

Astana adheres to the opinion that it is necessary to expand the size and composition of the permanent composition of the Security Council by including representatives from all regions of the world (including Africa, Latin America and South-East Asia). At that, the country advocates a need for a package reform to address veto power issues, relationship between the General Assembly and the Security Council.


In fact, this position of Kazakhstan was very clearly manifested while the Security Council made decisions on the situation in the Middle East, Syria and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.


Kazakhstan’s position demonstrated that the developing world could become a counterweight to imposing interests of major powers, including the United States and Russia.


For example, despite efforts made by the United States to lobby the idea of strengthening sanctions against North Korea and even approval (in perspective) of a military operation against this country, Astana proposed a development of a roadmap to have North Korea remove its nuclear weapon having indicated that the nuclear powers should give firm guarantees to the given country.


The President of Kazakhstan, speaking at a meeting of the Security Council, proposed to stop dividing countries into military blocs as “their existence becomes provocative and meaningless”. Only bringing back political trust and systemic dialogues onto the international arena can contribute to a constructive resolution of the North Korean nuclear problem.


Thus, Kazakhstan, by having refused to support the US position on strengthening sanctions against North Korea, did not support Moscow’s position to reduce the sanctions pressure on Pyongyang. Kazakhstan believes that it will be possible to return to the issues of the sanctions against the country only after real steps are taken to resolve the situation on the Korean Peninsula as a whole.


This very position of Kazakhstan, which in the Security Council advocated denuclearizing the region as a whole, became an incentive to return to the dialogue between the two Koreas.


Another achievement of Kazakhstan is balancing the developing conflict between the United States and Russia on the Syrian issue. On the given issue, Kazakhstan was neutral not allowing any of the opposing military blocs to push through their positions. In particular, Kazakhstan, on behalf of the developing world, did not support the US resolution to establish a new mechanism to investigate chemical attacks in Syria. But the country also abstained on the Russian resolution, which demanded “to immediately stop the aggression against Syria”.

Kazakhstan’s position, which was supported by many members of the Security Council, was based on resolving the internal Syrian conflict by politico-diplomatic means. Moreover, all parties of the internal Syrian conflict expressed their agreement in the political dialogue proposed by Astana.


The Astana process (the negotiating platform proposed by Kazakhstan) was the first in the history of the civil war in Syria, when during the peace settlement, the country’s authorities and the opposition groups sat the negotiating table. The process was also attended by representatives of the UN and the guarantor countries (Russia, Turkey, Iran). The United States acted as an observer country.


An important outcome of Kazakhstan work in the UN Security Council was lobbying efforts to impart political influence to the Security Council. The Security Council moved from making recommendations to making political statements. And the first one was the statement made by the Security Council chairman aimed at strengthening confidence-building measures within the framework of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.


Kazakhstan also lobbied adoption by the UN General Assembly of the Code of Conduct to make the world free of terrorism. The document proposed by this country was recognized as an important event in strengthening the UN system against terrorism and was signed by foreign ministers and high representatives from more than 70 countries of the world.


During its chairmanship in several structures of the UN Security Council, the country put special emphasis on Central Asia and Afghanistan. (Also because Kazakhstan became the first country in the region elected to the UN Security Council).


Following Kazakhstan’s initiative for the first time since 2010, a mission of the UN Security Council delegation to Kabul was organized in January 2018. This allowed the Security Council to objectively understand the situation from the inside as well as real interests and priorities of the country and its civilians.


A statement made by the UN Security Council Chairman and adopted shortly after the end of the mission to Kabul underlines the importance of developing regional, interregional and international cooperation to ensure long-term peace, stability and sustainable development in Afghanistan and Central Asia. The document also contains an important point about support provided by the Security Council for joint efforts of the countries of the region in order to expand the zone of peace, cooperation and prosperity.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *