New Delhi, Aug. 28 : The recently concluded two-day Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) saw Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev significantly dwelling on several points, the sum objective of which was to promote greater unity and association in the Asian region to ward off traditional and non-traditional security challenges.
Nazarbayev described the international community as passing through and uneasy time, which made all the more necessary for countries in the seven continents - Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America - to avoid "confrontation, resorting to heavy-handed methods and using radical rhetoric".
Apparently hinting at the conflict between Russia and Georgia over who would retain control over South Ossetia and Abkhazia, this sort of confrontation promoted "mutual distrust and tension."
"I cannot circumvent the situation which has developed in South Ossetia and Caucasus as a whole. Recent developments have raised great concern over the future and safety in this region. The attempted forceful solution of the conflict resulted in deaths of civilians in South Ossetia and Georgia as well as deaths among Russian peacemakers," he said.
He described the Russian use of military force as a factor "seriously undermined the potential for political and legal resolution of this ethno-territorial problem".
"We are also in favor of increasing the number of international observers in the conflict area and enhancing their role. Kazakhstan is willing to join in OSCE's efforts aimed at normalization of the situation," he said.
He also said that global problems like famine, poverty, epidemics, environmental degradation, terrorism and drug trafficking could not be resolved without the joint efforts of the international community.
Commenting on the CICA intitiave, President Nazarbayev said: "Over the past years, this initiative has passed a long evolution: from the idea of establishing peace and confidence in the Asian sub-region and all way through the practical mechanisms of collective diplomacy. Two CICA summits were held to usher in new mechanism for maintenance of international safety on the continent. The institutionalization phase in the forum's evolution is complete now".
He said that CICA members are facing important challenges today and needed to use "every facilities of collective diplomacy" to combat international terrorism, religious extremism, organized crime, drug trafficking and illegal migration.
"It would be expedient to take practical steps towards establishing and strengthening cooperation in military and political dimension, which in a long run should become one of the major dimensions of the Confidence Building Measures Catalogue," he added.
He admitted that in the Asian region, an atmosphere of instability and tension still prevailed.
Afghanistan, for instance, he said is still a matter of great concern.
"It is a country that has become one of the largest centers of international drug industry, which accounts for nearly one third of annual turnover of "terrorism economy," he said, and added that every step should be taken to help Afghanistan promptly transit to peaceful life and restore its destroyed economy.
Iraq too was going through a period of distress, and its people deserved a better destiny.
Kazakhstan, he said, also supports the world community in its efforts to achieve universal nuclear disarmament, and welcomed the progress in phasing down the North Korean nuclear program achieved within the framework of six-partite negotiations.
He also said that the Iranian nuclear program should be addressed diplomatically.
"Our country has made historical contribution to the nuclear disarmament process and strengthening the non-proliferation regime, by voluntary giving up the world's fourth largest nuclear arsenal. As well as shutting down the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site," he said.
Turning to the economic aspect, President Nazarbayev acknowledged that a global financial crisis required all countries try to take steps to "mitigate the consequences of economic turbulence."
"Being aware of collective responsibility for development, we urge our partners to give joint cooperation within the framework of "Cooperative Approach" in economic dimension," he added.
He concluded by saying: " I am convinced that we will not encounter intractable problems in Asia, if we address them with interaction and confidence. This understanding inspires us and strengthens our belief in the future. We are sure of the efficiency of such multilateral mechanisms as CICA in ensuring safety and stability." By Ashok Dixit