MADRID, Spain, Nov. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Government of Kazakhstan today announced that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has appointed Kazakhstan Chairman-in-Office (CiO) for 2010, with Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin to serve as Chairman. The unanimous vote by the 56 participating Member States was announced at the OSCE 15th OSCE Ministerial Council in Madrid, Spain. "Kazakhstan accepts with a strong sense of duty and firm commitment the role of Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE for 2010," said Minister Tazhin. "We see this appointment as a testament to the transformation our country has undergone since independence and as a strong vote of confidence by OSCE Member States for the Central Asian region as a whole. We congratulate Greece on receiving the chairmanship for 2009 and Lithuania for 2011. Kazakhstan's representatives look forward to engaging with the Greek CiO to assure Kazakhstan's collaboration on all issues that come before the OSCE and to work toward a smooth transition to our chairmanship." "This decision by the OSCE Member States is a firm acknowledgment of Kazakhstan's ability to lead this important regional organization at a time when the people represented by the 56 Member States strive for the political involvement, respect for rule of law and the rights of the individual, economic prosperity, and security. As Chairman, we will aspire to become a powerful catalyst of the reform process and we commit to the continuing modernization of Kazakhstan and the region in its entirety." Minister Tazhin noted that during its tenure as CiO, Kazakhstan pledges to lead the Member States in upholding the principles of the OSCE and those of the Organization for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). ODIHR provides valuable counsel to the national election commissions of all Member States on ways to comply with internationally accepted standards on elections. Minister Tazhin said Kazakhstan plans to work to assure that there is a clear understanding among all Member States on the criteria and standards that should be equally applied. Kazakhstan considers the Human Dimension to be the most important area of activity for the Organization, and has pledged to make this a priority in order to strengthen democracy in all Participating States. Furthermore, Minister Tazhin also emphasized that religious tolerance is highly valued in Kazakhstan, and that the country "enthusiastically supports the establishment of the three CiO personal representatives on religious tolerance: for Anti-Semitism, Muslims and for Christians and Other Religions." In 2009, Kazakhstan will host the third Congress on World and Traditional Religions in Astana. Kazakhstan's leadership in establishing a vibrant, prosperous market economy underpins its expertise in the Economic and Environmental Dimension. Minister Tazhin pledged that Kazakhstan will strengthen OSCE support for development of effective Eurasia transit and transport corridors. Concerning international security, Minister Tazhin stressed that the fight against international terrorism is the priority for Kazakhstan in the OSCE's Security Dimension and that regional security will be enhanced through Kazakhstan's leadership. "Kazakhstan has already demonstrated its deep commitment to international peace and security, having been the first country to dismantle its nuclear weapons after the break-up of the Soviet Union," he said. "It knows only too well the health and environmental degradation that comes from nuclear contamination." Kazakhstan has been a member of the OSCE for 15 years, joining in 1992 - just a year after gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. It will be the first non-European country in the history of the organization to hold the CiO position.
SOURCE The Government of Kazakhstan