History of Kazakhstan’s participation in the OSCE
Kazakhstan joined the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe on 30 January 1992. In the same year, on 8 July, it signed the Helsinki Final Act of the CSCE, and on 23 September the Charter of Paris for a New Europe.
During the first years of its independence, Kazakhstan needed the support of the world powers and authoritative international organizations, including the OSCE. At the same time, the world community was interested in the constructive foreign policy line followed by the young republic, which, as history willed it, had turned out to be the possessor of the fourth largest nuclear arsenal. Mindful of this, the country made a conscious choice in favour of balanced approaches in its foreign and domestic policies, in which a pivotal role was assigned to the strategy of multilateral partnership and liberalization of the economy and society.
The invitation extended by the leading Western countries to join the Organization was perceived in Kazakhstan as a step towards forming a new European security architecture based on equality and absence of dividing lines.
Having become a full member of the pan-European conference, Kazakhstan took an active part in the processes of its further development, including its conversion into an international organization. President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan participated in the OSCE Summits held in Helsinki (1992), Budapest (1994), Lisbon (1996) and Istanbul (1999). Each year, Kazakhstan is represented at the meetings of the OSCE Ministerial Council by its Foreign Minister.
Kazakh parliamentarians take an active part in the work of the Organization’s Parliamentary Assembly.
In 1994, as a result of the Budapest Summit, the Conference was converted into the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in order to put it on a firmer institutional footing.
In 1995, Kazakhstan established its Permanent Mission to the International Organizations in Vienna, which ensured the country’s direct participation in the OSCE. Since 2008, in view of the forthcoming Chairmanship, there has been an independent Mission of Kazakhstan to the OSCE headed by Ambassador Kairat Abdrakhmanov.
In 1995, the OSCE established the regional Liaison Office in Central Asia in Tashkent. In 1999, the OSCE Centre in Almaty was opened. It was renamed the OSCE Centre in Astana in 2007. The Centre is now headed by Ambassador Alexandre Keltchewsky (France).
During the last few years, Kazakhstan has carried out a number of major OSCE activities, including:
- Regional Central Asian conference on combating trafficking in human beings – a regional response (Astana, 18-19 May 2006);
- Kazakhstan chaired the Third Review Conference of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (Vienna, 29 May-2 June 2006);
- Tolerance Implementation Meeting on Promoting Inter-Cultural, Inter-Religious and Inter-Ethnic Understanding (Almaty, 12-13 June 2006);
- Regional workshop on confidence-building measures and regional co-operation on demining (Almaty, 26-27 March 2007);
- Seventeenth Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (Astana, 29 June-3 July 2008).