Kazakhstan's OSCE Chairmanship
December 3, 2009
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) designated Kazakhstan as its chairman-in-office (CiO) for the year 2010. The selection of Kazakhstan to chair a major European organization is a precedent: it is the first post-Soviet country, the first predominantly Muslim country, and the first Central Asian country to be entrusted with such a responsibility. For these reasons, Kazakhstan more than any previous chairing country regards its chairmanship at the OSCE as a project that can enhance its national stature and reaffirm its young independence.
Kazakhstan has chosen a very ambitious role in seeking and then preparing to chair the OSCE. This prestigious international position may well represent the culmination of one stage of Kazakhstan’s recent history and the beginning of another. By assuming the OSCE chairmanship, Kazakhstan’s leaders are signaling that the period of consolidating the country’s independence is effectively complete and that the country is now prepared to participate more fully as a major player in both the Euro-Atlantic and Euro-Asian spheres of security and cooperation. By choosing to chair a democratic pan-European security organization, Kazakhstan has made a clear statement that it pursues good relations with the West and commits to European values, including democracy.