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Kazakhstan: OSCE Differences Emerge During Astana Summit

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev addresses the opening session of the OSCE Summit. (Photo: OSCE/Vladimir Trofimchuk)

The first day of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe summit in Kazakhstan produced consensus on the need to address security threats. But as participants prepared for the final day of the gathering, deep divisions remained on key democratization issues, including human rights standards.

OSCE officials and leaders of the 56 participating states were quick to embrace calls to revitalize the organization, where mistrust has undermined cooperation in recent years. “It is no secret that today the OSCE is facing an identity crisis,” Petros Efthymiou, the president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, told delegates bluntly.

Other officials agreed that the organization currently finds itself at a critical stage. “The OSCE is a mirror of the state of security in greater Europe,” its Secretary-General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut said, and “what I see troubles me.”

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Joanna Lillis is a freelance writer specializing in Central Asia.

Kazakhstan: OSCE Differences Emerge During Astana Summit

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