CICA’s Istanbul Summit Marks New Age in Asian Security Dialogue and New Level of Cooperation between the CICA and the OSCE
The 3rd Summit of the Conference for Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) was held in Istanbul on June 8, 2010 – first time the Summit took place outside Kazakhstan. Turkey has taken over the CICA presidency from Kazakhstan and will hold it for 2 years. “I would like to emphasize that Turkey possesses unique historic, political and cultural experience to advance this extremely complex process of building confidence and promoting the Asian cooperation. I am sure that the Republic of Turkey will add great momentum to the strengthening and further development of our Conference,” President Nazarbayev said.
It is a historic moment which marks the growing international recognition of CICA’s importance in the region. It is a huge step forward for what began as a bold initiative voiced by President Nursultan Nazarbayev at the UN General Assembly in 1992. President Nazarbayev’s idea behind the initiative was to bring Asian nations into a common framework for a dialogue and cooperation for the sake of stronger security and greater trust between the nations of the world’s largest and most populous continent. First formal CICA meetings took place following seven years of preliminary talks, which did meet occasional scepticism. Indefatigable diplomatic efforts resulted in the first 2002 CICA Summit in Almaty, followed by the establishment of the CICA Secretariat and adoption of the Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures.
Istanbul Summit and Turkish Chairmanship added a new dynamic to the CICA process. With focus on political and security dialogue in Asia as well as cooperative approach to security Turkey will make purposeful efforts to promote the concept of indivisible cooperative security in Asia through enhanced dialogue and consensus. This approach was supported by all member states in the Final CICA Declaration “Constructing cooperative approach to interaction and security in Asia.”
The III CICA Summit opened a way for Iraq and Vietnam to join the Conference as full member states while Bangladesh will join as an observer. This expanded the geography of the CICA towards Middle East and South East Asia. “I am glad to welcome Vietnam and Iraq who joined CICA as full members and Bangladesh as an observer. Thus, our forum has brought together 22 states that occupy over 90% of the Asian territory, with total population over half the globe’s population,” President Nazarbayev said.
President Nazarbayev emphasized the critical importance to enhance the dialog in CICA’s military-political track of activities. “Efficient implementation of CICA’s diplomatic instruments, including confidence-building measures, can help diminish the risk of incidents like the one we witnessed last week in the eastern Mediterranean. We urge all sides of the conflict to engage in a constructive dialogue, which is vital for security and stability in the region”, he said.
Nazarbayev stressed that the cooperation between CICA and OSCE should bring about the development of a continental platform of security for the entire Eurasian landmass. The day before the CICA Summit, Kazakhstan’s OSCE Chairmanship arranged a side-event focused on security and economic co-operation in Eurasia in the 21st century with involvement of ministerial level participants from the OSCE’s Asian and Mediterranean Partners for cooperation. The event was attended by the OSCE Secretary General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, high level officials from the OSCE Troika – Greece, Kazakhstan and Lithuania, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Joao Soares, as well as OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Kazakhstan’s Secretary of State and Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev who presented the above message by President Nazarbayev.
“If we don’t take urgent joint measures, a new wave of financial and economic crises can emerge. We think the OSCE and CICA, as the largest regional alliances of Eurasia, should redouble their efforts to develop economic co-operation in the interest of all participating States,” he noted. “Kazakhstan as the OSCE Chairman in 2010 will further step up efforts for strengthening the co-operation between the two structures and the two continents, to give it more substance via a permanent exchange of ideas and practical experience.” An area where co-operation between the two structures has a good potential could be the engagement with Afghanistan, Saudabayev said. “Today it is becoming clear that the problem of Afghanistan cannot be resolved only by military effort. Afghanistan’s authorities need a firm support in the socio-economic rehabilitation and the democratic development of the country. It is natural that such support should emanate in the first place from the partners of Afghanistan in the OSCE and the CICA,” he added. In this regard, Saudabayev invited his colleagues to discuss within the framework of this event and the upcoming Summit the establishment of the OSCE – CICA Forum, which could become an ongoing dialogue platform between the two structures, where pressing issues of security and cooperation in the huge Eurasian continent, including the recent tragic incident in the Mediterranean can be discussed and examined.
As part of the Summit, heads of states and governments held a number of bilateral meetings in Istanbul. President Nazarbayev met with Turkish President Abdulla Gul and discussed the agenda of the CICA Summit, as well as issues of bilateral cooperation. Kazakh President also held bilateral meetings with a number of his counterparts, including presidents Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian National Authority, Gjorge Ivanov of Macedonia, Prime Ministers Vladimir Putin of Russia and Erdogan of Turkey.
Released by the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States of America
Special IssueNo 26, June 11, 2010