Policy Brief Number 9 -- After the Astana Summit: More Questions than Answers

The OSCE Astana Summit on December 1-2, 2010 concluded with an important Commemorative Declaration outlining the road ahead for the organization, but failed to adopt a tangible Action Plan. While all member states reconfirmed their commitment to the Helsinki Final Act adopted 35 years ago, they missed the opportunity to put these principals into practice and agree on settling the unresolved conflicts in the OSCE region. Moreover, the summit and the preceding review conferences highlighted the irreconcilable differences between member states, particularly Russia and many Western powers. Although the summit ended in acrimony, paradoxically the gathering of 56 heads-of-states-and-governments in Astana was necessary to underscore the real problems within the OSCE: the lack of a common interest among the member states in preserving and enhancing comprehensive security in the OSCE area and advancing the role of the Organization. The differences that Russia labeled “ideological” during the Astana Summit stretch from hard security and military transparency to promoting human rights and democracy and the OSCE field missions operations.

U.S.-Kazakhstan Task Force