Kazakhstan to Assume Chairmanship of OSCE in 2010

Kazakhstan to Be the First Non-European Country to Hold This Position

Nov 30, 2007, 00:00 ET from The Government of Kazakhstan

    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
     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