Policy Brief Number 6: Kazakhstan Holds the OSCE Chair
January 14, 2010
On January 1, 2010, Kazakhstan assumed the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), an organization that includes 56 countries, including the United States. Kazakhstan is the first Central Asian, post-Soviet, and predominantly Muslim state to chair the OSCE, an organization that celebrates its 35th birthday this year.
At the Ministerial Meeting in Athens in December 2009, Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev of Kazakhstan reiterated the proposal of President Nursultan Nazarbayev that the OSCE hold a summit of heads of state and government during 2010. The last OSCE Summit took place in November 1999 in Istanbul and marked the 25th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act and the 10th anniversary of the Paris Charter for a New Europe. However, the last decade has witnessed the emergence of novel security challenges that necessitate closer consultation among OSCE capitals in addressing these threats. A heads-of-state summit in 2010 would provide the ideal venue and opportunity for fashioning greater security coordination among participating national leaders.