The goals and priorities of the UN Security Council in January
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The goals and priorities of the UN Security Council in January

Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov delivers speach to the UN Security Council

In the coming month, war-torn Afghanistan, the fight against terrorism, Middle East and nuclear non-proliferation will be at the top of the agenda at the United Nation Security Council. Kazakhstan is chairing the UN Security Council for the whole month of January 2018. The cornerstone of Astana’s chairmanship will be the Security Council adoption of a new document on Central Asia and Afghanistan.

Afghanistan was at the top of the agenda in the meeting between Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev and U.S. President Donald Trump this week at the White House.

Trump in August unveiled a new strategy for Afghanistan, vowing to deploy more troops, on top of the 11,000 already in the country, to train and advise Afghan security forces. The US President reiterated his intentions, in phone conversations between Trump and Kazakh leader Nazarbayev, in September.

Afghanistan has been in protracted conflict for almost thirty-five years, which has seriously hindered poverty reduction and social and economic development, while depleting its coping mechanisms. Amidst growing signs that has seen the country’s low intensity civil conflict escalating, the UN strategic review of 2017 reclassified Afghanistan from a post-conflict country to one in active conflict.

The authorities in Astana have announced their intention to continue support peace efforts in Afghanistan through humanitarian assistance and transport infrastructure investments. Astana has also provided over 1,000 scholarships to Afghan students in Kazakhi universities in the faculties of medicine, agriculture and engineering.

Kazakhstan’s agency for international aid and development, KazAID, works with other countries in various humanitarian projects to strengthen the Afghan economy and develop the society of this war-torn state.

Afghanistan will be further discussed during Astana’s chairmanship in the UN Security Council in the ministerial debate titled “Building a regional partnership in Afghanistan and Central Asia as a model for the interdependence of security and development”.

Astana emphasizes three main aspects in the solution of the Afghanistan problem, which could serve as a further model for application in other conflict areas: the close relationship between security and development, regional approach to solving various problems and a comprehensive development strategy between the UN structures.

Kazakhstan has led the charge for banning nuclear weapons. For this reason, Astana places special focus organising a high-level UNSC event on “Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction: confidence-building measures”, chaired by President Nursultan Nazarbayev on January 18.

The issue around North Korea’s nuclear and missile program is more critical than ever – a task in which Astana can help. Kazakhstan was the first country to close a nuclear test site, and renounced all the nuclear weapons on its territory, at the time holding the world’s fourth largest nuclear arsenal.

Kazakhstan can be a positive model for the North Koreans and others on how to trade in a nuclear arsenal for a massive investment and financial assistance package, as well as security guarantees from the UN Security Council five permanent members.

Moreover, under the chairmanship of Kazakhstan, the Council will hold open and closed discussions on the situations in Syria, Libya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Darfur, West Africa and the Sahel, South Sudan, Mali, Somalia, Cyprus and Colombia.

On 25 January, there will be quarterly open debates of the UN Security Council at the level of the permanent representatives of the UN member states on the theme “The situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine.” It is scheduled to adopt a number of resolutions and presidential statements.

Kazakhstan is a key player in the fight against international terrorism. Astana proposes the establishment of a unified global network to counter international terrorism and extremism, under the auspices of the UN. To achieve this objective, the new Security Council’s member offers to adopt a comprehensive document to the United Nations to combat terrorism.

The emphasise in the proposal is focused on social development to oppose the current worldwide trend of increased military spending. Thus, Kazakhstan invites UN members to annually transfer 1 percent of their defence budgets to a Special United Nations Fund for sustainable development, which will deal with poverty alleviation and combat hunger – the main basis of radicalization.

Kazakhstan is the largest and most oil rich country in Central Asia, bordering Russia and China. It has steadily played the role of peacekeeper and peace-broker since its founding in 1991. Astana’s Syrian peace talks – what is known as the Astana peace process – is the most recent example of what Kazakhi officials refer to as a “multi-vector foreign policy”.

In 2010, it became the first Central Asian and post-Soviet country to chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. In 2017, it assumed a two-year seat on the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member.

The Brussels Times