Kazakhstan – Chairman of the UN Security Council

Image credit: KazakhWorld

by Nasrullah Brohi   27/1/2018

The UN Security Council is waiting for an interesting time. At least, such a conclusion can be drawn from the stated working agenda for the next month. In January 2018, the UN Security Council was headed by one of its non-permanent members, the Republic of Kazakhstan. This young, ambitious country has been demonstrating effective credibility in the world, as well as the reputation of a peacekeeper in international conflicts besides commitment towards uncompromising stance to fight against terrorism and extremism.

The country has a history of peaceful growth and firm adherence to the international norms for non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. It was during the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991; the state got world’s fourth largest nuclear arsenal. However, the stiff resolution to withdraw those voluntarily was a depiction of Kazakhstan’s intentions enduring global peace and a world free of weapons of mass destruction. The country even set an example for many others that how to maintain the status of a nuclear-weapon-free country thus significantly changed the mindsets rooted in hawkish realities on the ground that prestige in global affairs is not merely confined with the possession of the nuclear weapons.

The world has already been facing severe strain and still suffering at the hands of terrorism, extremism, and evils that drag the human race towards an unending arms race and destruction. In such a scenario, the role of countries who believe in peaceful co-existence and growth for the common welfare must be encouraged. Amidst prevailing nuclear tension in Korean peninsula that is also a major cause of regional and global concern however, a nuclear weapon free country would exceptionally serve for the realization of nuclear ambitious states that a constructive role without possessing nuclear weapons can also enable states to play a key role in global affairs and international institutions like the UN Security Council.

The actions of states and the words of the leaders have lasting effects which in actuality at some point also contribute to making history. The pledging efforts and the initiatives set forth by Nursultan Nazarbayev further progress towards prospective hope that the Korean conflict will be settled and the two Koreas will soon make peace. Moreover, the Chairmanship of the Kazakhstan of Security Council in such a globally anarchic scenario will prove as the newfangled impetus for a peaceful world progressing towards disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The priorities of Kazakhstan as a member of the UN Security Council in 2017-2018 are outlined in President Nazarbayev’s political address to the UN Security Council which in actuality can be termed as a conceptual vision of Kazakhstan on strengthening the global partnership for building a safe, just and prosperous world. One of the first initiatives of the new chairmanship was the official flag-setting ceremony for countries elected last year by the non-permanent members of the Council – Côte d’Ivoire, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland and Equatorial Guinea. Representatives of many delegations called this event “a bright business card.” It is assumed that such ceremonies will become a new tradition of the organization.

During the first working day, the program of the Security Council activity was presented, which was subsequently voiced at a briefing for the UN member states. The topics chosen are the most current – nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, promotion of green technologies, a solution of humanitarian problems in the zones of military conflicts and also the resolution of conflicts itself. The UN Security Council will have to analyze the situation around North Korea, Iran, Myanmar, Palestine and Israel including the prospective status of Jerusalem and many other countries. Moreover, during quarterly open debates of January on the “Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question”, as well as open and closed discussions on the problems of Syria, Libya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, CAR, Darfur, West Africa and the Sahel, Southern Sudan , Mali, Somalia, Cyprus and Colombia came under discussion. Some resolutions and statements of the new Security Council chairman are yet to be adopted.

The proposed program was approved and supported by the permanent member countries of the UN Security Council. The Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzia, expressed confidence in the success of the work of the Kazakh delegation in the capacity of Chairman of the Council. The US Ambassador Nicky Haley and other ambassadors of the Council’s member countries noted the informative and saturated program of Kazakhstan, as well as the fact that it focuses on the most actual issues and contemporary challenges in the world. The permanent representative of Kazakhstan to the UN Kairat Umarov highlighted the importance of paying more attention to building trust relations between different political leaders and countries because it is inevitable to solve the problems.

President Trump invited Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Central Asia’s undisputed leader, for an official working visit to the United States. The head of Kazakhstan will become one of the first foreign leaders with whom, after his election, the head of the White House, who has been in office for almost a year, will meet. At the same time, it is expected that shortly Nazarbayev will also hold an official meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin therefore; such developments illustrate the active role of Kazakhstan in international affairs.

On January 16, 2018, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev visited the United States and met with his counterpart Donald Trump and held in New York thematic debates of the UN High-Security Council members on the topic “Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction: Confidence-Building Measures.” The meeting of two leaders of course immediately aroused and drew the close attention of the representatives of different countries. Moreover, the security situation of Afghanistan is a pressing issue for regional and global powers. Among other things, “Afghan issue” became a serious topic for discussion of the two leaders. The fact that the White House announced the development shortly of a new US strategy for Afghanistan, but this document has not yet been voiced.

The Afghan strategy is one of the key aspects of US domestic policy, as it is an indicator that will offer this or that leadership, how it will continue to operate, to solve this issue. It is quite obvious that meeting with the Kazakh leader will be of great importance from elaborating the American strategy for Afghanistan.

Most notably, it is a fact of the moment that at present international community has practically withdrawn from the problems of this country. The UN mission records depressing statistics – the number of civilians killed in Afghanistan in 2017 from armed conflicts reached a record level of almost 18,000 people. This is the highest figure since the beginning of the war that is since 2001. Considering that Kazakhstan is an active regional participant and negotiator in conflict resolution, and also heads the UN Committee on Afghanistan and moderates the discussion of the Afghan issue, its possible proposals can be invaluable. The Afghan problems in the last two or three years began to fall out of sight. The elections are carried on all the time, the number of victims among the population is still growing, however, the visit of President Nazarbayev is believed to assist towards further progress for ensuring peace and stability and enduring solution of Afghan problem since the issue has direct consequences for the whole region including Kazakhstan which is also neighboring country of Afghanistan.

However, the Chairman of the Kazakhstan Council on Foreign Relations, well-known political analyst Yerlan Karin, views President Nazarbayev’s visit to the United States as “the most important event”, which is of great importance both for the future prospects of Kazakh-American cooperation and for determining the relationship between Central Asia and the US in the whole and, the role of the United States in this region. This will undoubtedly be important in the international context since Kazakhstan has declared itself as an active participant in various international forums and discussions. The last vivid example is the Astana negotiation platform for Syria.

In the last, it would be accurate to say that the countries with policies of peaceful co-existence can inspire many others to play a constructive role in international politics without being indulged into the ambitions of acquiring power multiplier means and adhering to nuclear non-proliferation. The international communities’ recognition of Kazakhstan’s Presidency of the UN Security Council will undoubtedly raise the prestige of the UN and Kazakhstan itself. However, such moves shortly will allow the international community to wait for heated discussions and discussion of the accumulated problems over the years. The new chairman of the UN Security Council is set for a multi-vector peacekeeping dialogue and a role for conflict resolution.