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INTERVIEW OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE CICA SECRETARIAT AMBASSADOR DULAT BAKISHEV, GIVEN TO THE JOURNAL " L'ESSENTIEL DES RELATIONS INTERNATIONALES" # 29, JANUARY 2010 . KAZAKHSTAN: BRIDGING THE EAST AND THE WEST

Posted on: March 03, 2020 | Back | Print



The attention of the Euro-Atlantic community is increasingly focusing on Kazakhstan as it assumes the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on January 1, 2010. Few in Europe know, however, that Kazakhstan is no stranger to leading major international forums and, more importantly, bringing a meaningful contribution to strengthening the international security.

Kazakhstan's initiative to convene the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and its success in bringing most Asian countries together in creating this structure, now one of the most dynamic and promising multilateral institutions in Asia, is a particular case in point. Bridging Europe and Asia geographically and now, with simultaneous chairmanships in the OSCE and CICA, also politically, Kazakhstan can play an important role in promoting the dialogue and cooperation between the two parts of Eurasia. It is then important to share what the CICA stands for and where it could work with the OSCE.

The collapse of the bipolar world in the late 20th century, the appearance of new states in Eurasia following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the dynamic development of major Asian nations and their diverging interests created a new challenging security environment.

Kazakhstan, a newly independent state coming onto the world stage with no negative baggage internationally, saw the opportunity to shape this environment in a way that would benefit all. One of the country's first acts was to call on the international community to establish a new forum for security and dialogue in Asia.

THE IMPORTANCE OF CICA

In 1992, in his maiden speech to the UN General Assembly, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed to convene the CICA. After a decade of intense diplomacy, in 2002 Kazakhstan hosted the first ever CICA summit, bringing together countries such as China, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and Russia.

Since then the Conference, under Kazakhstan's chairmanship, has become a functioning body effectively dealing with a variety of security issues.

Today, it is the only forum covering the entire Asian continent. It has twenty member states representing nearly ninety percent of the area and population of Asia. Its reach extends from Turkey in the west to the Republic of Korea in the east.

The CICA is a unique platform that offers equal opportunities to each and every Asian state to participate in the debate and decision making on a broad range of security problems of common interest.

It has already been able to demonstrate its ability and relevance as, for instance, when last year the CICA issued an appeal to its member states for humanitarian assistance, including emergency food aid, to Afghanistan which elicited good response.

CICA's main objective is to move towards a unified Asian collective security structure on a step by step basis.

The CICA aims to achieve this through implementing confidence building measures (CBMs) in five areas, including military and political dimension; the fight against new challenges and threats including terrorism, drug trafficking, trans-national crime, and human trafficking; economic dimension; environment; and human dimension.

CICA founders recognized the response to common security challenges should be collaborative and multilateral. The CICA decided to adopt a consensus-based approach. The CICA member states also came to understand that the existing discords in the region could not be an obstacle to finding common approaches to common problems. The CICA offers a platform for the member states to discuss current issues of common interest.

A few weeks ago, CICA deputy foreign ministers met in Beijing to consider the way to implement confidence building measures in military and political dimension.