CICA: platform of dialogue and security

Sept 13. Kazpravda

By Laura Tusupbekova, Vladimir Kuryatov

CICA: platform of dialogue and securityYesterday President Nursultan Nazarbayev took part in the jubilee session of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA). The President announced initiatives to broaden the dialogue for further institutional development of this international structure.

Potential to be developed

The forum was held in Astana Palace of Independence, hosting various global events of any level of representation. The participants of this meeting are the foreign ministers of the CICA member states and representatives to broaden organizations.

Opening the forum, the RK foreign minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov recalled that the current session is jubilee: 20 years ago at the 47th session of the UN General Assembly, President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced the initiative to convene the Conference. During this time, under the guidance of the RK President, the CICA process enjoyed recognition of the international community.

Today, the CICA is a stable and a real factor of regional and global policy in collective security. According to the President, within 20 years the CICA, the effective forum of multilateral diplomacy, brought together 24 countries, occupying over 90% of the Asian continent, which is home to half of the world’s population. Nursultan Nazarbayev, congratulating the participants on the upcoming 20th anniversary of the CICA, expressed gratitude to all the countries for supporting this initiative and for the fact that all these years they were together with Kazakhstan and contributed to development of the Conference.

Over the period a tremendous job has been done: three summits and three ministerial meetings were held; the basic documents, which have created a political and legal framework for cooperation in the CICA frames, were elaborated; the forum’s institutionalization was completed; the Secretariat and its structures are working; the concepts and action plans in almost all the CICA areas were adopted; a ground for expansion of economic cooperation between the CICA countries is under creation; the CICA Business Council is under establishment and CICA business forums are arranged regularly; relations with international and regional organizations and forums have been established.

In 2010 Turkey started chairmanship in the CICA and will conduct this important mission up to 2014. For the last two years the Conference expanded its geography significantly. The new members of the Forum are Vietnam, Iraq, Bahrain and Cambodia. Bangladesh and the Philippines are its watchdogs.

Kazakhstan supports the China’s intention to accept the mission up to in the CICA for 2014-2016. The President expressed confidence that China’s chairmanship in the Conference would give a significant impetus to further strengthening of the CICA, promote the concept of cooperative indivisible security in Asia through multilateral dialogue, mutual interest and consensus.

Asian continent is turning into the main platform of global international relations of XXI century for its economic potential and the degree of influence on the world policy. Even today, the countries of the region collectively produce more than 57% of global GDP.

However, unfortunately, Asia suffers from unresolved inter-state problems, related to territorial disputes and contradictions. At the same time the Asian region is the area of greatest concentration of the countries, possessing nuclear weapons and increasing their military potential.

Rapid development of Asia is accompanied by aggravation of existing conflicts, increases the level of mistrust and geopolitical rivalry. Problems of illegal migration and drug trafficking, territorial claims and separatism, religious extremism and terrorism still exist.

Obviously, it is impossible to progress in addressing global security challenges without confidence among Asian countries. Therefore, the President is sure, it is necessary to use the CICA potential for joint decision-making on security and cooperation in Asia.

Kazakhstan is one of the leaders of the movement for a nuclear-free world. The republic made a historic contribution to the process when closed the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site and abandoned nuclear weapons forever. Today Astana calls all countries for adoption of the Universal Declaration of a nuclear-free world.

Recently the Republic of Kazakhstan has initiated the International Project “ATOM”; any citizen of the Earth can stand against nuclear weapons, signing the online petition to the governments.

Nursultan Nazarbayev noted that creation of the world without nuclear weapons is the most important General Assembly the future.

Kazakhstan is sure that the question on complete elimination of North Korea’s nuclear program should be resolved within the frames of six-party talks. As for the Iran’s nuclear program, the President reiterated that the only possible solution to the problem is diplomatic negotiations.

This forum is held at a crucial time for the entire planet, stressed the President. The global transformation of the world order has started. Serious upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa are an example. Kazakhstan has repeatedly expressed support for the efforts, aimed at a peaceful settlement of the crisis in Syria.

– We are convinced that the future of the country is in the hands of the Syrian people, and therefore the parties must come to the table of negotiations, – said Nursultan Nazarbayev.

One of the urgent tasks of the CICA is implementation of measures to address the problems of Afghanistan. During the presidency in the OSCE, Kazakhstan made significant efforts to normalize the situation in the country: Afghan students are taking training in Kazakh universities; humanitarian aid and funding of construction of social facilities are provided. Expansion of transport infrastructure for Afghanistan involvement in regional transportation is under consideration. In the frames of international organizations, the work on fighting drug production and trafficking is being improved.

Another important aspect is partnership in transport sector. Kazakhstan, as a supporter of Central Asian integration, intends to become the largest transit and logistics hub in the region, a “bridge” between Europe and Asia.

Various multi-regional and trans-regional associations are working in the Asia-Pacific region. In this regard the CICA is of particular importance as an institutional instrument for maintaining security and cooperation in the region.

– The Declaration of Principles, the Almaty Act and the Catalogue of confidence measures contain political and legal basis for the Asian security system. All this proves to broaden Conference has the potential to transform into the organization, – N. Nazarbayev said.

The President expressed the hope that the IV Summit of the CICA would result in establishment of the Organization. By this time, the status of the head of the CICA Secretariat should be raised from an executive director to the General Assembly.

The President offered to consider creation of a Regular CICA Committee and keep developing cooperation between the CICA and the OSCE.

– Today, when Asia is rapidly developing, we badly need a comprehensive and effective security and cooperation institution. In this context, the CICA should take its rightful place in the new global security architecture. I am convinced that Asia will not have unsolvable problems if we have effective communication and trust. Understanding this gives to broaden and strengthens our faith in the bright future of our sub-continent and the planet, – concluded Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The path of progress

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called the forum a historic moment for the CICA process. According to him, Turkey is proud to be the current chair of this unique structure.

Turkey started to chair the structure 2 years ago and continues its chairmanship today. It was decided to prolong the presidency up to 2014.

Speaking about the plans, the Foreign Minister of Turkey identified priorities. The last period was characterized by active cooperation in economic sphere, during the second term of the Turkish Chairmanship one of the main areas of cooperation will be the military-political issues. This is an important element of the future regional security architecture.

Prospects for development and current challenges were also mentioned by other participants of the forum.

The current processes in the Asian region require uniting efforts to seek effective responses to emerging challenges and threats. The CICA as a part of a partner network of complementary regional structures contributes to promotion of collective methods for solving international problems.

CICA is developing successfully. This fact was noted almost by all speakers, who talked on effectiveness of the Turkish Chairmanship, managed to ensure continuity in the work of the Conference and give a new impetus to it. As a result, the work keeps going in all directions. The elaborated concepts and plans for confidence measures in economic, environmental, and human dimensions provide a solid ground for further work.

RK FM Y. Kazykhanov thanked Turkey for dynamic chairmanship in the CICA.

The importance of the CICA, as stressed Y. Kazykhanov, has increased in recent years. The countries of the region are playing an increasingly important role on the global stage.

In the light of the President’s initiatives, the FM said the ways for strengthening the CICA Secretariat should be considered. As for financial side, the voluntary contribution of Kazakhstan made up more than 75% of the total budget of the CICA Secretariat. It was offered to review the financial rules of the Conference and replace voluntary contributions by regular concrete contributions. Besides, it is planned to move the Secretariat from Almaty to Astana for closer cooperation with the embassies of the member states.

In the frames of the first session Foreign Ministers of UAE – Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bangladesh – Dipu Moni, Bahrain State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Tanim bin Fadul, Iraqi Minister of Planning Ali Yusuf al Shukri, Vietnamese Minister of agriculture and rural development Phat Cao Duc, the foreign ministers of Palestine, Israel and others took the floor at the forum.

Uniting efforts to respond the challenges

During the second session of the Forum, the outlook for the CICA work in uniting efforts with other international organizations was offered.

OSCE Secretary General Assembly in his speech noted the need to strengthen solidarity between the European and Asian organizations, the OSCE and the CICA, which will contribute to increasing the role of both structures.

– Many organizations are trying to confront the challenges of the XXI century in different ways, but we first need to consider the opportunities that may give joint efforts of different dialogue platforms, – said the Secretary General.

– The common goals of the OSCE and the CICA can be implemented in the following areas: the fight against transnational threats – terrorism, drugs, human trafficking, cyber-crime, promotion of security in Afghanistan. We are ready to cooperate with the CICA in implementing the confidence measures, taking into account our competitive advantages, so that we can strengthen our ties, – said L. Zanner.

The time has proved vital importance of creating regional and global security architecture. Today, the CICA makes a significant contribution to fighting modern challenges, helps to build a wide-scale international cooperation, based on equality and mutual respect of interests.

Time for transformation

Following the forum, a joint briefing of Y. Kazykhanov and A. Davutoglu was held.

Kazakh diplomat noted that the IV Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the CICA member states was successful. Within 20 years, the CICA has turned into a complete and authoritative international forum with a membership of 24 Asian states, 8 countries and 3 international organizations have a status of a watchdog of the CICA. During the Meeting, a number of very important, unprecedented documents on cooperation and security in the pan-Asian history were signed. The CICA Secretariat is working in Almaty and it has an observer status at the UN General Assembly.

Today the CICA has all attributes of an international organization and further transformation of the forum for the benefit of Asian cooperation and mutual understanding is the imperative of the time.

The Asian unresolved bilateral problems, related to territorial disputes, ethnic conflicts and contradictions, makes the CICA’s work important.

A. Davutoglu said Turkey would continue to support all the CICA initiatives to broaden. Diversity of cultures, traditions and values of the CICA member states are not a divisive but a unifying factor.

– The consensus is sometimes difficult, especially in those organizations in which membership is diverse as in the CICA, and, of course, co-operation is a key tool to achieve our goals, – the head of the Turkish foreign ministry said.