STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KAZAKHSTAN NURSULTAN NAZARBAYEV AT THE 47'th SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 5 OCTOBER 1992.
by President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev at the 47,h session of the UN General Assembly October 5, 1992
First, I whould like to express our profound satisfaction, Sir, at your election to your high post, and we wish you every success in carrying out your duties as the President of the United Nations General Assembly at its current session.
At the preceding session the Republic of Kazakhstan was unanimously admitted as a Member of the United Nations. On behalf of the people of Kazakhstan! have the honour to express our deep gratitude for that step and to declare that the Republic of Kazakhstan, as a peace-loving State, is fully capable of fulfilling its obligations, as defined in the Charter of the United Nations, and of making a constructive contribution in all the spheres of activity of this authoritative international Organization.
The current session is no less important for us, since during this session the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan has for the first time, been given the opportunity to speak from this rostrum. I take this opportunity to extend cordial greetings to all the State Members of the United Nations. It would be difficult by now to conceive the present world order without the United Nations. The world community places many hopes in unique international organization, chief among the m being the formation of a reliable machinery, reliable stability and security.
The world has now come close to the threshold beyond which the visible disturbing challenges of the future compel us to adopt a new quality of coordination, a new way to organize our joint efforts.
We must clarify what is the essence of this new and as yet unknown process, and we must master it within the context of our whole community, our continent, our region and our own country. These are the aspects on which I should like to focus Membersattention.
The first aspect relates to the world community itself and the role of the United Nations in the world. At this session there has already emerged an understanding of the new realities, which must be defined in a new agenda for the entire world. It is no accident that this is the title of Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghalfs well-known report. We believe that his concept of preventive diplomacy is an extremely timely, politically rational initiative, in the realization of which all members of the world community should become involved.In this connection I regard preventive diplomacy as a system of political and socio-economic measures designed to prevent hotbeds of potential by the conditions which are needed for maintaining social and political stability and are visible on the surface and by those proble ms the detection of whose very existence requires prognosticatory analysis in depth.
It is not difficult to understand that the question of borders is a powder-keg that could explode at any moment, and the explosion usually hurts not only those who are playing with fire but also many others who have only a very remote connection with the fuse-lighters. In my view, it is obvious that even one precedent in the revision of currently existing borders would cause a chain reaction of geopolitical disintegration with unforeseeable consequences.
In referring to the importance of the principle of the inviolability of State territory,I whould like to emphasize that the rights of national minorities today are often thought to be identical with the rights of nations to self-determination, extending even to the establishment of independent States. If we were to hold to such an approach, then, hypothetically speaking, thousands of economically weak sovereign States might arise all over the world. Such a situation would be a striking demonstration of turning a principle into a fetish, carrying it to the ultimate absurdity.
I am convinced that the world community, which today quite rightly gives so much attention to the rights of national minorities, should define clearly the criteria for such rights, in order to ensure that human rights and the rights of nations will triumph on the basis of the triumph of democracy and peace. Otherwise, under cover of a nation's right to self-determination, the integrity of any national State will be called into question, and the corrosive principle of separatism will go on without end.
At the same time, taking a look forward from the present day to the twenty-first century in a search for hotbeds of potential tension, I wish to draw the world community's attention, among other questions that give cause for great concern, to the problem of water in the Central Asian region, which in time might become a source of dangerous disputes in the very heart of the oldest continent. I am convinced that we need to speed up work now, not later, on the preparation of special United Nations projects that would provide for a gradual and effective solution to the problem of furnishing water resources to Central Asia.
I must point out that the decrease in geopolitical tension along East-West lines and the increasingly dangerous confrontation between North and South is a universally recognized fact. However, the emergence and exacerbation of the second confrontation do not decrease the timeliness of the first. The longstanding complexity of relations between East and West cannot be dissipated with the breakup of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Accordingly! believe that the proposed efforts for preventive diplomacy in establishing, keeping and enhancing the peace should be exerted equally along all the lines of global interaction. I stress this because some distortions have already become visible in this connection. United Nations efforts, to judge from the events of recent months, are predominantly political and military-political in nature. We see more use being made of prohibitions than of encouragement and incentives. These measures are aimed at reducing the tensions, visible on the surface, but so far they have not had any influence on the roots of the conflicts that have arisen and grown. The real cause of these conflicts was recently pointed out from this rostrum. The richest 20 per cent of the world's people, in the Northern and Western countries, consume 83 per cent of the world's gross product, and the poorest 20 per cent of the world's people, in the countries of the South and the East, only 1.4 per cent. As we can see, the income of the richest 20 per cent is 60 times that of the poorest 20 per cent. I would call this 60 to 1 ratio the formula of world inequality. Until this gap begins to narrow, we shall not have a real basis for the comprehensive prevention of conflicts.
I emphasize that, in the final analysis, we are not talking about redistributing the income of the wealthiest 20 per cent for the benefit of the poor. The world inequality formula should be changed not by reducing the income of the wealthiest 20 per cent but increasing that of the poorest through organized assistance to help their countries develop. It may be worthwhile to think about redirecting United Nations efforts towards genuine conflict prevention and finding the root causes of conflicts. What practical steps can be taken in this regard?
I can understand the Secretary-General's concern over the main problem that impedes the United Nations peace-keeping efforts-the shortage of financial resources. It is obvious that the United Nations expenditures for the establishment, maintenance and enhancement of peace must be increased each year. But how can this be done?
As it is well known, until 1992, the United Nations expenditures on peacekeeping totaled approximately US $8.3 billion, not even 1 per cent of total annual defence expenditures in all countries at the end of the last decade, which was approximately 1 trillion dollars.
I propose that all countries should, as a demonstration of their good will, begin to set up a fund for the United Nations peacemaking efforts on the basis of the «one plus one» formula. This means that each State would begin to transfer 1 per cent of its defence budget to the fund and would increase its transfers by the same 1 per cent each year. Thus the amount allocated to peacemaking in 10 years would increase tenfold.
I think that the national security of every member of the world community would be by no means harmed but, on the contrary, actually strengthened by such an action. It is appropriate to recall here the Eastern story which tells of some people who held a contest of strength. One showed the power of his muscles and fists, another found strength in the hardness of his skull, the third in his fleetness of foot, the fourthin the sharpness of his tongue. But a wise man, remembering the heart, without which no strength is possible, suggested that they should compete in generosity. The generosity of each country will be what determines the degree to which my proposal is implemented - a sort of competition for the benefit of the whole world. The Republic of Kazakhstan is ready to begin this process immediately. There are, of course, also other ways that can be provided for States to contribute to the fund of the United Nations peacemaking efforts.
The second aspect on which I whould like to dwell is the problem of peace and security in our continent of Asia or, more broadly, in Eurasia. I am referring to the initiative put forward by the Republic of Kazakhstan to hold a conference on Interaction and Confidence-building Measures in Asia (CICMA). The idea of establishing structures for security and cooperation in Asia of the same type as the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) has long been in the air but has not yet gained wide support.
The useful experience of the activities of continental organizations in the Americas, in Africa and in Europe should, it would seem, impel Asia as well to establish unified bodies for interaction and cooperation. But this is not happening, and there are quite a few real reasons for that fact. Politicians and analysts critical of the idea of setting up structures for security and cooperation in Asia often advance the weighty argument that the level of geographical, historical, economic, political, social and cultural heterogeneity among Asian countries is much higher than that among the countries of Europe, the Americas, or Africa. Such heterogeneity in economic and political matters naturally interferes with the action of continental structures for collective security.
This can be countered with a well-known piece of Oriental wisdom: A journey of a thousand steps starts with the first step. It is by no means necessary to move towards a unified Asian structure and collective security in all these types of interaction at once. It is sufficient to start leveling out the heterogeneity in one area - for instance, in the military-political or economic sphere - and then look for joint approaches in other fields of cooperation. The move towards such a continental structure could take place in many steps and on a stage-by-stage basis. For example, it could go from bilateral relations through regional and continental structures and coalitions in particular types of cooperation, through the elaboration of confidence-building measures and collective security, as well as humanitarian, economic and cultural interaction, to common continental bodies for cooperation on a broad spectrum of problems.
Prospects for this process and its main stages might be as follows: The first stage would consist of preparatory work to organize and conduct the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building Measures in Asia (CICMA). The approximate time-frame would be 1992 to 1994.
The second stage would involve accelerating the work of CICMA, increasing the number of its members, adapting it to the framework of a Conference on Security and Cooperation in Asia (CSCA) and forming pan-Asian structures of the CSCE type. The approximate time-frame could be 1994 to 1998.
The third stage would include defining the development of CSCA, strengthening-its permanent structures, interaction between CSCE and CSCA and the creation of transcontinental bodies in particular areas of cooperation. The approximate time-frame would be 1998 to 2000.
The fourth stage would consist of forming a unified transcontinental conference on security and cooperation in Eurasia and creating machinery for permanent interaction between the continental systems of collective security in Asia,Europe, Africa and the Americas, with the further prospect of setting up a unified global system of collective security and cooperation. The approximate time-frame would be 2000 to 2005.
We in Asia live in a remarkable land. All the major religions of the world-Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam - were born in the sacred soil of our continent. All the spiritual teachers of mankind, ranging from Lao-tse and Gautama Buddhajesus Christ and Muhammad to the greatest of contemporary thinkers, of the calibre of Mahatma Gandhi, were born in our part of the world. Is it not possible for Asia to absorb everything that has been accumulated over the ages and synthesize a new concept of continental cooperation and collective security
This position by no means presupposes any regional autarky. We are not going to lock ourselves within continental borders. On the contrary, in the interests of Asian countries and peoples, we shall collect the best of what was born in other parts of the world.
I am convinced that we must make a collective search for the best way to meet the challenges of the future and lay new foundations for mankind's existence in a world more integrated than ever before. Accordingly, I suggest that we should convene a special session or a United Nations conference to discuss the proble ms of the post-confrontation era, for it is the mission of the United Nations to play a decisive role in confirming new levels of organization in the international community. The United Nations itself should probably be reorganized to a certain extent,and this includes the question of the membership of the Security Council.
The third aspect, which we cannot fail to mention, concerns the events that are taking place in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
The fragile structure of our Commonwealth, set up at the end of the last year, does not yet fully take into account the age-old traditions of interaction between States and peoples in this part of Eurasia. As a result, the processes of transition to free-market economy and democracy in the CIS are accompanied by increasing socio-economic and political instability, the exacerbation of existing conflicts and the emergence of new ones.
Kazakhstan is making every possible effort to re-establish a common customs and economic area in a new capacity within the framework of a unified free-trade zone.
Realists in the CIS have no illusions as far as the $24 billion of assistance promised to Russia is concerned. We take a calm view of the neo-isolationist policy that some of the world's countries are pursuing towards the CIS. We realize that only we ourselves, through our own efforts, can stop industrial decline, the severing of economic ties, hyperinflation and other destructive processes. However, we cannot rule out the possibility that despite efforts to strengthen the princi pies of coordination and the process of integration, contradictory trends may prevail in the CIS in the immediate future, so that the entire territory of the Commonwealth could turn into an area of instability and disintegration. I am certain that such a tragic outcome would not be in the interest of anyone in the world.
In this connection, I believe that the concept of early conflict detection and preventive diplomacy might find direct practical implementation in the former Soviet federation. I am referring primarily to strengthening the areas of stability that exist in the CIS and then gradually expanding their borders by reducing tensions in the areas of conflict. To that end, I propose setting up a regional centre, or a United Nations commission, on preventive diplomacy in Central Asia. The headquarters of the centre could be located in Alma-Ata, the capital of our State.
Lastly, I would like to discuss the vitally important issues of ecology and environmental protection. For Kazakhstan, these issues are embodied in at least two areas, the Aral Sea and Semipalatinsk.
The Aral Sea drying up; it is a zone of ecological catastrophe that demands large-scale international emergency assistance. The desertification of its basin, accompanied by the disse mination of 150 million tons of salty dust, is causing drastic deterioration of the environment and increasing the negative effects on the economy and the health of a vast region with a population of more than 300 million inhabitants. If today this means tragedy for tens of thousands of people, tomorrow, without emergency intervention by the United Nations, it could mean tragedy for millions.
Kazakhstan is grateful for the decision by the leadership of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to set up an assistance project for developing a plan to save the Aral Sea and also grateful for the suggestion by a group of UNEP experts that the Aral Sea basin should be declared a zone of global ecological disaster.
The other severe ecological problem we are suffering from involves the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, which was built on Kazakhland against the will of our people. The total power of the nuclear warheads that were set off here - in the atmosphere, on the ground and underground - brought suffering to more than half a million people; it is hundreds of times as large as the power of the devices that brought tragedy to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
By a decision of our Government, we have closed down this source of death, but tremendous amounts of resources will be needed to clean up this region, to cure those who have suffered and to ensure the safety of the children who will again be born here. The people of Kazakhstan will therefore need active international assistance.
Today, on 5 October, we celebrate the anniversary of the creation of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat). Recognizing its unquestionable importance, Kazakhstan hopes for effective technical and advisory assistance from the Centre to our programmes of governmental development for urban and rural construction.
The Kazakh people has a proverb, «Elu zhylda el zhana», which literally means, «The world becomes new every 50 years». The first half-century of the existence of the United Nations has been marked by confrontation between super-Powers and the burden of opposing military blocs. Now the world community has a historic opportunity to find in the form of the United Nations the means to bring about effective cooperation in the name of peace and progress. We must do our utmost to take full advantage ofit.