by the Minister for Foreign Affairs
of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Mr. Erlan A. ldrissov
at the plenary meeting of the fifty-fifth session of
the UN General Assembly
September 12, 2000
PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF KAZAKHSTAN TO THE UNITED NATIONS
The current political debate is taking place against the background that is not quite usual. This Hall has just heard the statements by the participants in the Millennium Summit. Unprecedented round tables have just been conducted. The last several days have brought unusual hectic activity to the UN and the city that hosts the Headquarters of our Organization. The most spectacular thing, however, is that the Summit has triggered an intellectual burst, an explosion of collective thinking. Apparently, this has been predetermined by a special quality of this particular moment in time as we find ourselves at the threshold not just of a new century but a new millennium. Our acquisitive mind tries to look forward as far as possible and aspires to see there, against all odds, a better future. Such is the predominant human trait to look forward with optimism. Our past experience, however, warns us against excessive euphoria and illusions. We realize that the world is still full of threats and our common impulse is to understand these threats and their causes and to find ways to overcome them collectively.
This is what I felt during the days I have spent at the Summit. Probably, I am not the only one who thinks the same way. But let us hope that the intellectual tide generated by the Summit would not just die down in a humdrum of everyday life but would force all of us to get down to business in order to make our planet a safe and prosperous place.
As we approach the new millennium, we surely want to take a fresh look at the road we have traveled so far. At the threshold of a new century, we are in a position to say that our most important achievement is that the world has become freer. I believe that the key word explaining the substance of the changes that are taking place today should be the word renewal. By our definition, it means an absolutely new era of relations between the nations free of the vestiges of the past pressure and diktat. It should be a triumph of the principle of genuine democracy and justice when all states have equal rights and obligations irrespective of their economic and political differences. The renewal of international relations should be guided by the understanding that we live now in a global and interdependent world whose overriding principle is global partnership. The UN Secretary-General has rightly proclaimed a three-pronged task freedom from fear, freedom from want and saving the human environment - precisely in the context of globalization. It is also true that globalization should not overshadow the problems and concerns of an ordinary man. Our efforts will be futile if we do not address the issues we face today in this logical sequence.
Let me dwell on the three main components of our common goal to make the world a safe, free and prosperous place.
While recognizing that global security and stability increasingly depend on economic, environmental and humanitarian aspects of development, we should not belittle the importance of military and political dimension of security. A fundamental issue of elimination of weapons of mass destruction continues to be a matter of our common concern. International instruments in this field, first of all the Non- Proliferation Treaty, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have not yet gained universal support and, thus, cannot be fully effective. The situation with regard to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty is a cause for concern. We call on all countries to radically change this state of affairs and support the Secretary- General's proposal to hold an international conference to find ways to avert the nuclear threat.
Kazakhstan having been the epicenter of the cold war nuclear confrontation and having resolutely resisted the temptation to turn into a nuclear power after it gained independence has every right to raise the issue with such a vigour.
As for Kazakhstan, it continues to contribute to the efforts to ensure global security. Fully respecting its obligations under the above-mentioned international instruments, Kazakhstan has been consistently promoting on its initiatives with regard to the Conference on Interaction and Confidence- Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in Central Asia. We are convinced that the CICA initiative has a rational kernel and call on the UN and the Asian states to continue their support of the CICA process in the interests of Asian and global security.
We should be no less and, probably, more concerned by new threats international terrorism, extremism, illegal trafficking of arms and drugs and organized crime. Our newly independent state has come into the direct contact with these threats. We are seriously alarmed by the situation in Central Asia and view the conflict in Afghanistan, the bandit groups' infiltrations in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and the situation in Chechnya as links in one and the same chain. You have heard our neighbors Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan talking here about the same thing. I want to emphasize again that, the way we see it, the root of the evil is the prolonged war in Afghanistan and we urge the Security Council to seriously address the problem in that country on a long-term basis. Without it, it would be naive to hope for the elimination of the threat to stability in our region and, thus, in the whole world. At the -same time, we believe that the key to the solution of the Afghan problem is in the economic revival of Afghanistan. Our common experience points to the futility of palliative measures and attempts to bring the conflicting sides to the negotiation table without a clear economic plan. There should be a comprehensive plan of economic revival of Afghanistan which should incorporate the fight against the production of drugs, illegal arms trade, terrorism and extremism and take into the account the specificity at ethnic and religious situation in Afghanistan. Of course, adequate financial resources should bolster this comprehensive approach. The price of peace and human life is well worth it.
I would like now to look at the threat to the stability in our region through the prism of the Caspian Sea. The Caspian treasure-trove has turned now into the center of attention. The interests of many states, not just of our region, converge there. The recent discovery, in the Kazakhstan's part of the Caspian shelf, of the Kashagan oilfield, which is the largest one in the last 30 years with forecasted reserves of 7 billion tonnes of high-quality oil, confirms once again that the potential of the Caspian Sea is enormous. It is our genuine desire and intention to see to it that this gift of God serves the interests of peace and prosperity.
Globalization involves a new level of interaction and interdependence of states. However, along with obvious benefits, globalization entails a danger of a lopsided distribution of these benefits both at the interstate and intrastate levels.
A widening gap between developed and developing countries is a burning issue. In fact, this gap is getting bigger, and debates are underway as to the forms of involvement of both groups of countries in the processes of globalization, particularly from the point of view of the solution of the problems facing the developing countries.
The situation with regard to the future of the World Trade Organization (WTO) provides a good example of the differences in appraising the globalization phenomenon. This organization, uniting some 140 states, has become a trade and economic counterpart of the UN.
It should be said, however, that the WTO has to be thoroughly reformed in order to really liberalize and democratize trade relations. It should not be a controlling and selectively discriminating body of the world trade policy.
Bretton-Woods institutions also have to be reformed. We believe that the most important goals of the reform of the Bretton-Wood institutions are to ensure their openness and democratization, competence and adequacy and to improve cooperation with the UN. We share the criticism of the International Monetary Fund for its arms-twisting policy when loans are conditioned on many political factors that have nothing to do with the actual economic situation.
In the context of the role of the Bretton-Woods institutions in the world economy, I would like to mention the issue of the integration of the economies in transition into the world economy. The role and importance of this group of countries, including Kazakhstan, in the world economy and politics will grow.
I want to stress that it is important for Kazakhstan to continue constructive cooperation with the agencies of the UN system, as well as with Bretton-Wood institutions and other international organizations, in promoting economic reforms in our country.
Kazakhstan continues to give priority attention to the development of transit transport system in Central Asian states and neighboring developing countries.
We think it is important to actively pursue the improvement of the existing and the development of new programs designed to raise the efficiency of the present transit system in Central Asia. Our land- locked country and the region as a whole should have secure multiple accesses to the world market. It is a matter of strengthening our sovereignty and independence.
Environmental issues, particularly the management of transboundary water resources, environmental pollution and greenhouse effect, have long ago moved from a social and economic into a political plane and have acquired a truly global significance. All countries face the problems of protecting the environment. Yet, the effect on the environment experienced by the developing countries and the economies in transition is immeasurably much greater.
Economic growth has increased the pressure on all natural resources of our planet. The problem of lack and depletion of natural resources creates serious economic problems and poverty. Economic development cannot stop, however, it should follow a different path. It should cease to destroy the environment so aggressively. It is because of the underestimation of the environmental factor that Kazakhstan faces such ecological disasters as the Aral Sea, the Caspian Sea and the former Semipalatinsk testing ground.
History knows of a lot of cases when nations and states had conflicts over the lack of water suitable to drink and use in irrigation. Very often thousands and thousands of people had to pull up their roots because of the problems with water. The reduction in the number of people without an access to safe water is as vital today as never before.
Kazakhstan calls for every country to adopt, under bilateral and multilateral treaties, legislative and administrative measures with regard to transboundary water resources and their management.
The UN economic commissions for Europe and Asia ECE and ESCAP have devised a joint Special Program for Economies of Central Asia (SPECA), encompassing all priority issues facing the region: development of the transit transport capacity and multiple pipeline systems, management of energy and water resources, environmental protection and technological growth. Such a comprehensive approach promotes better regional cooperation in Central Asia and the integration of its considerable potential into the world economy. It serves common interests. We urge the international donor community to actively contribute to the SPECA programs and to promote economic and democratic growth of Kazakhstan and other newly independent states in Central Asia.
The three-pronged goal of global development, which I have mentioned at the beginning of my statement, would be unattainable without an effective common tool. Such a tool we see in the UN and we are convinced that there is no alternative to our Organization. But the next century and new highly complex task that we face will demand a radically renewed organization free of the Seretary-General to drastically revamp our Organization.
We believe that it is important to start from the "head", i.e. the Security Council. The debates on the subject have been going on for too long. Are we going continue to mark time or take a responsible collective decision?
We stand for the expansion of the Security Council in both categories of its members on the basis of equitable geographic representation and the respect of the sovereign equality of all UN member-states. Kazakhstan supports the inclusion of Germany and Japan, as well as major developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, as permanent members of the Security Council and the increase in the number of its non-permanent members.
We believe that the peace-making capacity of the UN should be strenghtened considerably and support the conclusions of the report by the Brahimi Panel. As for Kazakhstan, it is forming its peace- keeping forces through its participation in Central Asian battalion, made up by three states of Central Asia, and the creation of its own Kazakhstan battalion.
There is no doubt that the financial capacity of the UN should be commensurate with the new tasks that the Organization is asked to perform. All member-states should stand to their financial obligations under the UN Charter. In spite of its temporary economic difficulties, Kazakhstan strives to do just that and takes practical steps in this direction. As to the scale of assessment and its methodology, we have always believed and continue to believe that the main criterion should be the country's real capacity to pay.
We have set ambitious tasks for ourselves. Are we up to them? I am sure that we are if we join our efforts. In fact, there is no other way. Such is the imperative of a new era, such are the aspirations of our nations.
Let me thank you all for your attention and wish you success in your endeavor to build a safer and better world in the next century.