Kazakhstan as the OSCE chairman will promote this structure on the post-Soviet territory
The OSCE Council of Foreign Ministers met on November 29 and 30 in Madrid, Spain, and voted to make Kazakhstan chairman of this international organization in 2010. All 56 OSCE members voted "aye". Experts believe that Kazakhstan as the OSCE chairman will capitalize on promotion of this structure on the post-Soviet territory. Indeed, Astana as an intermediary between the Moslem and European communities may help with settlement of numerous conflicts in Eurasia.
The promised OSCE chairmanship is a major foreign political triumph for Kazakhstan and this opinion is shared by everyone in the republic including President Nursultan Nazarbayev himself. Nazarbayev's charisma and activities as the president were essentially the principal asset of Kazakhstan's application for chairmanship in the first place. The international community is generally pleased with the Kazakh leader's initiatives like the Cooperation and Measures of Trust Asian Conference and the World Forum of Religious Leaders. The international community was particularly impressed with Kazakhstan's decision to denounce the Soviet nuclear past and join the non-proliferation regime. Nazarbayev's personal contacts with OSCE leaders helped promote the application for chairmanship too.
Racing against the time and resistance put up by some "old members" of the OSCE, Kazakh diplomacy scored this victory without compromising national interests. First and foremost, the OSCE chairmanship is a victory of the Kazakh people. This is the first time in modern history that the Kazakhs' efforts to modernize their country were appreciated. The OSCE chairmanship in the meantime is not an end in itself, it is but another step in the long-term strategy of the country aimed at a profound rearrangement of the sociopolitical life.
Securing the Kazakh chairmanship in it in 2010, the OSCE recognized correctness of Nazarbayev's policy - the policy that maintains ethnic and religious harmony in society. A multinational state as it is, Kazakhstan retained peace and stability in society in the transition period following disintegration of the USSR better than any other post-Soviet republic. Kazakhstan nowadays is a vivid example of peaceful co-existence of faiths and ethnic groups. (It was the experience in this sphere that the Kazakh application for chairmanship heavily drew on.)
No wonder Kazakhstan became the first post-Soviet state expecting to chair the OSCE. The decision made in Madrid serves as an additional confirmation of the importance of the experience in a stable and balanced development that other OSCE may find handy. Kazakhstan is viewed as a guarantor of development and stability in Central Asia, it is OSCE's key partner in the whole region. Its future chairmanship will promote the OSCE all over the post-Soviet territory. It is reasonable to expect from Kazakhstan's chairmanship a special emphasis on the opinions and interests of the OSCE members "east of Vienna". Kazakhstan has all CIS countries rallied behind it. The decision to nominate Kazakhstan for the OSCE chairmanship was made at the CIS summit in Kazan in 2005 and seconded by the Dushanbe summit in October 2007.
The Kazakh chairmanship will "add Eurasian touches" to the OSCE looks. It may even facilitate settlement of some old international conflicts (Kosovo, Cyprus). Kazakhstan may become an intermediary between Moslem and European civilizations and therefore assist with solution to a great deal of pressing problems.
The international community appreciates Astana's contribution to regional security, maintenance of the non-proliferation regime, and involvement in the international efforts to normalize the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq. Kazakhstan has always promoted a dialogue between civilizations, cultures, and faiths. It is Astana's chance. A look at the world from Eurasia may help the OSCE get out of the crisis and revert to its prime objective of conflict settlement on the continent.
Yuri Solobozov, Vremya Novostei, December 5, 2007. © Translated by Ferghana.Ru