Kazakhstan has achieved a cherished foreign policy goal, securing a commitment to host an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe summit this fall.
Kazakhstani Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev announced the news after a recent two-day OSCE foreign ministers’ meeting outside Almaty. “We have reached a consensus on the need to hold an OSCE summit by the end of the year in Astana,” he told a news conference.
The dates of October 29-30 are being bandied about as potential summit dates. An early December timeframe is also possible. The gathering needs to be endorsed by the OSCE Permanent Council, but such approval is widely regarded as a formality. For much of this year, Astana engaged in a relentless lobbying campaign to host the first OSCE summit in 11 years. Kazakhstani officials’ persistence ultimately succeeded in persuading member states who were originally unenthusiastic – including the United States – to back the idea. Kazakhstan is serving as the chair of the OSCE in 2010.
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Joanna Lillis is a freelance writer who specializes in Central Asia.