Kazakhstan Secures Seat on UN Security Council
Kazakhstan has become the first country from Central Asia ever to secure a seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Out 193 countries represented at plenary session on the UN General Assembly on June 28, 138 voted to hand the role to Kazakhstan, which squeezed out contender Thailand.
Seasoned UN veteran and current speaker of Kazakhstan’s Senate, Kassym Jomart-Tokayev, broke the news with a message of congratulations on his Twitter account.
“Kazakhstan is a UNSC Member. It's a historic achievement of my country led by President Nazarbayev on the 25th Anniversary of Independence,” he wrote.
Election to the Security Council requiring garnering 129 votes. Kazakhstan won 113 votes in the first round of voting, coming ahead of Thailand with its 77 votes. It took a second session of voting to secure the seat.
Kazakhstan take up its temporary seat on the council alongside Sweden, Ethiopia and Bolivia starting from January 1 and occupy through to the end of 2018.
This kind of positioning on the global stage is something that Astana, which strives to be see as major diplomatic player, takes very seriously.
The country’s most recent moment in the diplomatic spotlight was in 2010, when it became the first post-Soviet republic to chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. In June that same year, Kazakhstan declared its candidacy to claim a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council. In 2011-2012, Kazakhstan became the first Central Asian country to become chair of Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Astana received some public relations support in the bid for the Security Council seat in the form of an op-ed titled “Kazakhstan can help the United Nations” and written by former US ambassadors Ken Fairfax and Larry Napper.
Among their arguments, the ambassador cited Kazakhstan’s positive relations with Russia and China.
“It has deep ties with Russia, with which it shares many traditions and is a partner in the Eurasian Economic Union. Kazakhstan also has close ties with its other great power neighbour, China. Together they are improving Eurasian transport infrastructure and speeding trade,” they wrote.
Fairfax and Napper also mentioned Kazakhstan’s deicision to relinquish its nuclear weapons arsenal and its donations to the African Union program to fight Ebola as positive factors.
“It is hard to imagine that any country only a quarter-century into its independence could do so much for regional and global comity. A seat on the UN Security Council will enable Kazakhstan to contribute even more to its region and the world beyond,” they wrote.
The news has been welcomed as a nice change from the political unrest and violence that has made the headlines in Kazakhstan in recent weeks.
“The election of Kazakhstan as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council will give our country the opportunity to participate directly in shaping the current global agenda on security and to increase the relevance of issue important to Central Asia on the international arena,” Yerlan Karin, director of Kazakhstan Institute of Strategic Research, wrote on his Facebook account.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Karim Masimov and Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrisov exchanged SMS messages like excited teenagers ahead of and after the UN vote. Masimov posted the conversation on his Twitter account.
Aigerim Toleukhanova is a journalist and researcher from Kazakhstan.