By J Nastranis
NEW YORK (IDN) – Kazakhstan has made a strong plea for a close and proactive working relationship between the United Nations Secretary-General and the Security Council. In doing so, Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov of Kazakhstan – which began its two-year term as non-permanent member of the Security Council on January 1 – concurred among others with Sweden's Foreign Minister and Security Council President for January, Margot Wallström.
She said such a relationship "is the cornerstone of this Organization's ability to deliver lasting peace and security" – "not least to improve the UN's capacity to take early action to prevent violent conflict". Though conflict prevention had been discussed "many times before . . . progress is meager".
Participating In an open debate in the Security Council on January 10, Abdrakhmanov said: "The Secretary-General as the honest broker, bridge builder and messenger of peace should play the crucial role in conflict prevention at the earliest stages, by bringing to the attention of the Security Council any matter, which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security."
Article 99 of the Charter of the United Nations, he added, is "very clear on this point". Abdrakhmanov was speaking on 'Conflict Prevention and Sustaining Peace' in connection with the agenda item 'Maintenance of International Peace and Security'.
Abdrakhmanov said it was "deeply symbolical" that the year 2017 had started "with a renewed focus on prevention jointly facilitated by Sweden – a nation with an impeccable record of promoting UN values" – and the new Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, "a trusted leader and a symbol of the Organization's ideals".
The Kazakh Foreign Minister reminded that the first ever UN office on conflict prevention was established in Central Asia, 10 years ago. "Now it is time for the rest of the Organization to follow suit."
While prevention of conflicts is a complex approach that requires a paradigm shift, he said, "the UN has a duty to ensure a safe and prosperous future for all, and fulfilling it requires practical steps to build a world free of the virus of war and conflict".
Abdrakhmanov referred to the Manifesto "The World. The 21st Century" – a far-reaching document combining a realistic take on the world with an ambitious vision based on unity rather than division, on cooperation rather than rivalry – published in March 2016 by President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
On New Year's Day, the first day of Kazakhstan's tenure in the Security Council, President Nazarbayev unveiled his Policy Address on Sustaining Global Partnership for Secure, Just and Prosperous World, copies of which were made available in the Security Council room. Dwelling on the principles of the Manifesto, the Policy Address puts forward seven points related to making Kazakhstan's contribution to the work of the Council as meaningful and constructive as possible.
In the context of Security Council agenda related to Conflict Prevention and Sustaining Peace, President Nazarbayev's address makes it clear that without genuine dialogue preventing conflicts and sustaining peace are unattainable.
"At the global level, it requires setting a goal of building by 2045, the UN's Centenary, a world free of nuclear weapons," the Kazakh Foreign Minister said. "Such a very practical decision will send a message that political leaders – and nations they represent – are strong enough to destroy invisible walls and build bridges for the common good."
The Policy Address further emphasizes the need to do much more at the regional level. Abdrakhmanov announced that in line with Kazakhstan's commitment to strengthen peace and security in Central Asia and Afghanistan, the country would "endeavour to develop a model of regional peace and cooperation, taking special care of root causes of the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan and prevention of proliferation of terrorism and violent extremism".
Rivalries, lack of trust and unity of purpose, injustice as well as stark economic and social inequalities and underdevelopment were hindering the global community in achieving progress in the Middle East.
"As a nation committed to dialogue and mediation, we are ready to host talks in Astana to help pave way for restoring peace in Syria. We also believe that dialogue between political leaders and religious authorities should be intensified with a view to find lasting political solutions to eradicate the threat of terrorism."
The Kazakh Foreign Minister invited all member states to jointly draft an Astana Code of Conduct for International Counter-Terrorism Operations as a step towards creation of a Global Anti-Terrorist Coalition (Network). Soonest adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism will undoubtedly be a major prevention measure, he said.
Abdrakhmanov described Secretary-General Guterres' remarks at the Security Council on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a "key prevention tool". President Nazarbayev's address emphasized the role of Security-Development Nexus in preventing wars, protecting human rights and building a safer and prosperous future. SDGs, he said, are a direct and significant contribution to the 2045 Vision.
Astana is hosting EXP0-2017 this summer, and Kazakhstan hopes that this event, along with obvious benefits such as a greater international cooperation in the area of sustainable energy, would produce an added value in the form of stronger collective commitment to security through development.
"During Kazakhstan's tenure in the UN Security Council, we will support efforts to make the Council and the entire United Nations better equipped for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century," Abdrakhmanov said.
"To enhance the level of trust between states and generate the political will required, the President of Kazakhstan proposed to convene Council meetings at the level of Heads of State and Government. We believe that this is a timely and highly relevant initiative to achieve a paradigm shift in the Council," he added.
As far as the UN machinery are concerned, Kazakhstan welcomes the recommendations of the UN commissioned reports on peace operations and peace-building architecture.
However, a systemic approach should be further developed to identify and prevent emerging crises, take into account new factors, such as cyber-crime, deployment of weapons in outer space and pay foremost attention to development and human rights.
The Kazakh Foreign Minister said: "We strongly believe that the Security Council should have a direct oversight role in the 'peace continuum', including through greater cooperation with the Secretary-General. Regular joint consultations both formal and informal between the UNSC and the Secretary-General continue to create important opportunities for cooperation, prevention, conflict resolution, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and long-term development." [IDN-InDepthNews – 15 January 2017]
Related article: New UN Chief Takes Landmark Step To Build and Sustain Peace
Photo: Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov addressing the Security Council Open Debate on 'Conflict Prevention and Sustaining Peace' on 10 January 2017. Credit: The Astana Times.
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