Kazakhstan, the largest country in Central Asia, has completed non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council. For two years, the country made every effort to strengthen the position of the Organization, as the global political regulator of security.
Since the collapse of the USSR, Kazakhstan had been in a difficult situation. The “inheritance” of the Union automatically turned the republic into one of the largest nuclear powers of the world. In 1991, Kazakhstan owned the fourth largest nuclear arsenal in the world. However, already in 1992, the republic decided to curtail the nuclear program and completely abandon the possession of nuclear weapons. Becoming the first (and so far the only) country in the world that voluntarily renounced the weapon of influence.
Since then, Kazakhstan on the world stage has been pursuing a policy of peaceful settlement of any conflicts and the maximum expansion of the NPT.
Being in the chairmanship of the UN Security Council in 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. It noted that a comprehensive conflict prevention strategy should include early warning, preventive diplomacy, mediation, peacekeeping, non-proliferation, accountability measures, and post-conflict peace-building. Along with these issues, the document includes for the first time the problems of the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This is the uniqueness of the adopted document.
At the same time, Kazakhstan was one of the initiators of the transformation of the United Nations into a more consistent, integrated and efficient structure, which should more effectively use the tools of conflict prevention and preventive diplomacy, including through cooperation with regional and sub-regional organizations.
The inclusion of the last point in the statement of the Security Council President demonstrated the recognition by the UN of the degree of influence on the political processes of various regional associations, including the developing countries that are not in the G20.
According to Kazakhstan, the Security Council in its current state no longer reflects the realities of the world. This is also because the key players of the UN Security Council refuse to recognize the emergence of new centers of power that have emerged in the past couple of decades. First of all, we are talking about the growing influence on the world economy and the policies of the developing sector.
Astana is of the opinion that it is necessary to expand the size and composition of the permanent composition of the Security Council to include representatives from all regions of the world (including Africa, Latin America and South-East Asia). At the same time, the country advocates the need for package reform, which addresses the issues of the right of veto, the relationship between the General Assembly and the Security Council.
Actually, this position of Kazakhstan was very clearly manifested around the adoption of the Security Council’s decisions on the situation in the Middle East, Syria and the DPRK. Kazakhstan demonstrated that the developing world could become a counterweight to the political pushing through of the interests of major powers, including the United States and Russia.
For example, despite lobbying by the United States of the idea of strengthening sanctions against North Korea and even approval (in perspective) of a military operation against this country, Astana proposed the development of a roadmap for the liberation of North Korea from a nuclear arsenal, indicating that the nuclear powers should give the DPRK firm guarantees.
The President of Kazakhstan, speaking at a meeting of the Security Council, proposed to abandon the division of countries into military blocs, since “their existence becomes provocative and meaningless.” And only a return to international life of political trust and a systemic dialogue can contribute to a constructive resolution of the North Korean nuclear problem.
At the same time, Kazakhstan, refusing to support the US position on strengthening sanctions against North Korea, did not support Moscow’s position on reducing the sanctions pressure on Pyongyang. Considering that the issues of sanctions will be possible to return only after real steps to resolve the situation on the Korean Peninsula as a whole.
This position of Kazakhstan, which spoke in the Security Council from the position of denuclearizing the region as a whole, became an incentive for a 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. Here, Kazakhstan also acted on the neutral side, not allowing one or the other opposing military bloc to push through its position. In particular, Kazakhstan, on behalf of the developing world, did not support the US resolution establishing a new mechanism for investigating chemical attacks in Syria. But it also abstained on the Russian resolution, which demanded “to immediately stop the aggression against Syria.”
The position of Kazakhstan, which was supported by many members of the Security Council, was based on the resolution of the internal Syrian conflict by politico-diplomatic means. Moreover, all parties to the internal Syrian conflict expressed their agreement in the political dialogue proposed by Astana.
The Astana process (the negotiating ground proposed by Kazakhstan) was the first in the history of the civil war in Syria, when, during the peace settlement, both the Syrian authorities and the oppositionists fighting them turned out to be at the negotiating table. The process was also attended by representatives of the UN and the guarantor countries (Russia, Turkey, Iran). The United States acts as an observer country.
An important outcome of Kazakhstan’s work in the UN Security Council was lobbying for giving political influence to the Security Council. From the recommendations of the Security Council turned to political statements. And the first of these was the statement by the Security Council chairman – a document aimed at strengthening confidence-building measures within the framework of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Kazakhstan also lobbied for the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the Code of Conduct on achieving a 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.
Kazakhstan during its chairmanship in several structures of the UN Security Council especially focused on Central Asia and Afghanistan. (Including because it became the first country in the region elected to the UN Security Council).
On the initiative of Kazakhstan, the first field mission of the UN Security Council delegation to Kabul in January last year was organized since 2010. This allowed the Security Council to understand the situation from the inside and give an objective understanding of the real interests and priorities of the country and its civilians.
A statement by the UN Security Council Chairman, adopted shortly after the end of the mission in 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 its support by the Security Council for the joint efforts of the countries of the region to expand the zone of peace, cooperation and prosperity.
The presence of Kazakhstan in the Security Council showed that attracting influential countries from the developing world to the politics of world-building management yields quite good results. And it contributes not only to the growth of the efficiency of conflict resolution processes, but on the whole changes the approaches to understanding the new picture of the world.
In general, this leads to an increase in the influence of the UN Security Council on the processes taking place. That is extremely important against the background of the significantly damaged reputation of the last decades. /// nCa, 18 February 2019