Astana Calling, Dec 9, 2011
The OSCE Ministerial concluded in Vilnius on December 7, having reviewed the progress achieved by the 56 OSCE participating States over the year of Lithuania’s chairmanship.
“Together we have made progress at the Ministerial Council in providing direction for the OSCE’s future endeavours. The discussions here have also shown how much work there remains to make the vision of a free, democratic, common and indivisible Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security community a reality,” OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius A?ubalis said.
At the Astana OSCE Summit in 2010, the 56 participating states committed to work together to fully realize the vision of a comprehensive, co-operative and indivisible security community in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian region, free of dividing lines, conflicts, spheres of influence and zones with different levels of security.
Less than a year later the Forum for Security Co-operation under Kazakhstan’s chairmanship came to a common decision and succeeded in issuing a newly updated version of the 1999 Vienna Document for confidence and security in the military area. This is a strong measure and a major step of the organisation towards building common Euro-Atlantic security on a wide area from Vancouver to Vladivostok.
“The updated 2011 Vienna Document is a major breakthrough and a highlight of this year,” Yerzhan Kazykhanov, Kazakhstan Foreign Minister, said.
Kazakhstan has been working really hard throughout the year to assist their colleagues in its capacity as the FSC chairmanship and the outgoing OSCE Troika member. Kazakhstan stands ready to continue providing their support to forthcoming OSCE chairmanships, Kazykhanov said.
Among others decisions, the OSCE Foreign Ministers took ones on enhancing OSCE’s capabilities in early warning, early action, dialogue facilitation and mediation support, and post-conflict rehabilitation. Decisions were also taken on addressing transnational threats, promoting equal opportunity for women in the economic sphere, strengthening the transport dialogue, the role of the OSCE in facilitating UN Security Council Resolution 1540, dealing with small arms and light weapons and conventional ammunition, and on issues relevant to the Forum for Security Co-operation, reaffirming the participating States’ commitment to the updated Vienna Document, among other things. A declaration on combating all forms of human trafficking was also adopted.
On the sidelines of the conference Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov held a series of bilateral meetings.
At the meeting with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius A?ubalis, the parties discussed prospects of cooperation on a bilateral basis, as well as within the OSCE. OSCE Chairperson-in-Office praised Kazakhstan’s contribution to the OSCE’s activities in 2011 as a member of the Troika, and thanked Kazakhstan for its productive chairmanship in the Forum for Security Co-operation and efforts applied to ensure the adoption of an updated Vienna Document.
At the meeting with Eamon Gilmore, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ireland, the ministers discussed bilateral cooperation as well as prospects for cooperation within the OSCE. Gilmore said Ireland, which will take over the OSCE chairmanship on January 1, 2012, draws “great inspiration from Kazakhstan’s chairmanship”. Kazakhstan and Ireland stressed continuing priority of the Central Asia region and Afghanistan for the OSCE.
In light of the topics discussed, despite all the difficulties countries face in different corners of the world, the OSCE continues to provide a unique forum for promoting open dialogue and for maintaining and strengthening trust.
Kazykhanov also met Foreign Minister of Cyprus Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis. They discussed organizing a visit by the Cypriot President to Kazakhstan scheduled for the next year which could give a needed impetus to trade, economic and political cooperation of the two countries. In light of the Cyprus’ forthcoming EU presidency in the second half of 2012, the ministers discussed the prospects of negotiations over a new advanced partnership and cooperation agreement between Kazakhstan and the EU. The ministers also reviewed the preparation process of drafting an agreement on avoidance of double taxation that would lay the foundation for strengthening trade and economic cooperation between Astana and Dublin.
Kazykhanov also met EU Special Representative for Central Asia Pierre Morel, with the two noting the effective implementation of the EU Strategy for Central Asia adopted in 2007. They, too, underscored the importance of signing a new advanced partnership and cooperation agreement.
At another meeting, Kazykhanov and OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier discussed Kazakhstan’s future interaction with the OSCE, and the work of the OSCE Centre in Astana. They also brought up an opportunity of setting up an OSCE institute for security studies in Astana.
At a meeting with OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Petros Eftimiou, Kazykhanov thanked the OSCE PA for the support rendered to Kazakhstan during its chairmanship in 2010. The sides also discussed the preparation process for the upcoming parliamentary election in Kazakhstan that will be observed, among others, by an OSCE PA mission led by OSCE PA Honorary President Joao Soares of Portugal.
As reported earlier, Kazykhanov also met Janez Lenarcic, Director of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights who said the OSCE/ODIHR observation mission will be led by Miklos Harasti, the former OSCE representative on the freedom of the media.