BY HIS EXCELLENCY MR. KASSYMZHOMART K. TOKAEV
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRSOF THE REPUBLIC OF KAZAKHSTAN
AT THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE FIFTY-EIGHTH REGULAR SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEW YORK, 25 SEPTEMBER 2003
Please allow me to express confidence that, under the current President’s able leadership, the general debate during the fifty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly will be successful and fruitful.
At the turn of the millennium, the international community is living through changes of epic proportions. The process of transition to a new world order is facing unprecedented global threats: interethnic and inter-confessional conflicts; international terrorism and organized crime; natural, man-made and humanitarian disasters; diseases and epidemics; and energy and environmental problems.
These threats come on top of globalization processes. All states have begun to share not only economy, technology, information and management but also numerous problems that hang over mankind like a dark cloud.
We in Kazakhstan believe that time has come to join the efforts of the entire international community to ensure broad and effective cooperation to address global threats. Today, it is becoming more and more evident that states’ involvement in globalization processes is an important factor of their economic prosperity.
It is our conviction that there is no alternative to Kazakhstan’s political and economic openness. In the last four years, our country has had one of the fastest economic growth rates in the world. Kazakhstan is leading the Commonwealth of Independent States in main economic indicators. As a country with a market economy, Kazakhstan is an integral part of the global economy and an active participant in the globalization process. The early admission to the WTO is a top priority for Kazakhstan.
Our country’s efforts to create a comprehensive security system in Asia are well-known. The process of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, initiated by President Nursultan Nazarbaev, serves this purpose and also provides for active cooperation between regional states in such an important area as combating international terrorism. Further support of this process by the United Nations and all our partners will undoubtedly go a long way to create a climate of trust and good-neighbor relations on the Asian continent.
We are firmly committed to the strengthening of regional integration. Kazakhstan is actively involved in the work within the Eurasian Economic Community. We have great expectations regarding single economic space in the territories of four C.I.S. countries. A significant contribution to counter-terrorism efforts and trade and economic cooperation in the Eurasian region could be made by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. We are taking steps to develop cooperation with the Central Asian states. We intend to further promote the activities of the Economic Cooperation Organization.
Kazakhstan backs the UN action to strengthen the efforts of the international community in support of the dialogue between civilizations and religions. Kazakhstan, a unique state in terms of religious tolerance and interethnic harmony, has convened a congress of representatives of world religions and confessions, which, in the unanimous opinion of its participants, has revealed a considerable peacemaking capacity of our country.
An unprecedented attack against the United Nations Office in Baghdad last August has become the most cruel and large-scale terrorist act in the entire history of our Organization. Together with the rest of the international community, Kazakhstan pays special tribute to Sergio Vieira de Mello, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, and his colleagues.
In our view, it is imperative to ensure that that the efforts to restore peace and stability in Iraq are again made in the legal framework of the United Nations. Post-war reconstruction of the country and assistance to the Iraqi population could be provided only under the umbrella of the United Nations. Kazakhstan has already made a practical contribution to this process by deploying in Iraq a group of its military officers.
The Iraqi crisis has become a serious test for the United Nations and has highlighted an urgent need to carry out an institutional reform of the Organization.
Kazakhstan reaffirms its commitment to the concept of a multipolar world as a political philosophy of modern international relations. At the same time, we do not reject unipolarity if its means joining the efforts of all states in the world to avert global threats.
The United Nations, with its authority, universal character and unique experience, continues to play an indispensable coordinating role in all global affairs. Its effectiveness, however, depends on our will, and we should, through joint efforts, reform the Organization with a view to democratize international relations. In this context, it is essential to strengthen the role of the Security Council in the settlement of crisis situations and to provide it with appropriate mandates and means of conflict prevention. We are calling for making it a more representative body by co-opting five new members, including Germany and Japan, as well as, on the basis of rotation, African, Asian and Latin American states. To achieve the much-needed consensus, new Security Council members might exercise veto power with certain exception, subject to further discussion in the High-Level Panel which the Secretary-General intends to establish. We believe that it is also necessary to increase the number of non-permanent members with due account for the interests of the Asian region.
In our view, coordination between the United Nations
and regional organizations should be reinvigorated. In this context, Kazakhstan
proposes to establish a permanent Council of Regional Organizations under
the United Nations Secretary-General.
The current surge of terrorist acts throughout the world has laid bare transnational nature of terrorism. One has to recognize that terrorism is well organized, financially self-sufficient and bolstered by powerful ideological dictums which poison the consciousness of an ever greater number of people.
Against this background, the strengthening of the international legal framework of counterterrorist cooperation is especially relevant. Kazakhstan supports the adoption, without further delay, of a comprehensive convention against international terrorism.
With drug routes running through its territory, Kazakhstan calls for joint efforts by states to eliminate this evil which seriously erodes international security. Increasing drug production in Afghanistan demands special attention. In order to effectively counter the existing drug threat, it is necessary to apply an integrated approach on the basis of an agreed international strategy with the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime playing a coordinating role.
As a state which voluntarily has renounced its nuclear heritage, Kazakhstan is concerned by the continued proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The desire of a number of countries and some extremist organizations to possess nuclear weapons and other types of weapons of mass destruction poses a serious threat to global security. Well-known British writer Aldous Huxley made a prophecy when he said: “Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means of going backwards.” Let’s face it: today, the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty do not work in practice. The main reason of this state of affairs is a weakened international control.
There are already 39 states in the world capable of producing a nuclear bomb or a nuclear device and at least eight countries with a significant nuclear capacity. In addition, there are at least another four countries whose denuclearized status is highly questionable.
The United Nations and its institutions should have the last word in the solution of the problem of nuclear non-proliferation. There is actually only one way out: to tighten the control and to improve transparency when it comes to weapon development and testing. The existing international agreements in this area should be adapted to new realities. We can no longer accept the fact that the international community lacks effective means to discipline states violating non-proliferation regimes. Here we witness an absence of a single standard: some countries are punished by military force while others are urged to give up their nuclear programmes.
Kazakhstan has welcomed the initiative of the Big Eight regarding global partnership against the proliferation of nuclear materials and weapons of mass destruction and expresses hope for a fruitful cooperation on the issue with this group of states.
Our country considers it important to implement the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons.
The International Ministerial Conference on Transit Transport Cooperation, held in August in Almaty, has actually become a turning point in the efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The Almaty Declaration and the Programme of Actions adopted as an outcome of the Conference have laid a solid foundation for global partnership designed to put in place effective transit transport systems. Occupying a vast stretch of land in Eurasia, Kazakhstan is keenly interested in the practical implementation of these documents so that it could tap better its own transport potential.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate Kazakhstan’s commitment to the United Nations reform process in order to ensure a safer and just world order. I fully share the Secretary-General’s sense of urgency when it comes to structural changes within the United Nations. Indeed, history would be unforgiving to us if we squander a chance to reform our Organization.
Thank you for your attention.