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In the system of foreign policy priorities of Kazakhstan creation of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence building measures in Asia (CICA) has a special place.

The 47th General Assembly of the UN (1992) became a historical event for the Republic of Kazakhstan. It was then when for the first time the world learnt from the President of Kazakhstan N.Nazarbaev about his initiative on creation of CICA. In his speech the leader of Kazakhstan emphasized the aim of the initiative - to create an effective structure on security matters in Asia, where, unlike other regions of the world, such a mechanism was yet to be created.

Stages of the process.

The first stage. In the course of realization of the initiative several meetings of experts of MFA of the member- states took place. The first one was held in April 1993 (12 participants); the second in August-September 1993 (28 participants), and the third - in October 1994 (29 participants). The main achievement of the first stage was an agreement to find common approaches to the problems concerning security and cooperation among the regional states. All participating countries came to an understanding that the various disagreements existing between some countries in the region should not be an obstacle to the development of a common approach to security and stability in the entire region.

The second stage. The Special Working Group (SWG) aimed at the preparation of the meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the CICA participating countries was set up by the decision of the member-states. The first meeting of SWG was held in March 1995. Ambassadors, Charge d' Affairs, Counselors of the Embassies, accredited in Almaty and experts from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs were among the participants of SWG. The SWG meetings have been conducted on the regular basis.

During the sessions in the years 1995-99 the drafts of the basic CICA documents such as - "The Rule of Procedures", "Declaration on the Principles", "The CICA Structure and Institutes" had been discussed. At the meeting of Deputy Foreign Ministers, held in Almaty on 7-8 February 1996, the representatives of 23 Asian countries agreed that the development of the CICA process would take a long time and joint efforts of all participants. The course of debate showed, that the states of the region have an intention to work thoroughly on elaboration of the drafts of basic documents and defining the directions of future cooperation. In the final document of the meeting an optimal period to hold the Conference of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs was specified. By that time all work on preparation of the basic documents had to be completed.

On December 3, 1997 the second meeting of the Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the CICA member-states was held. There were representatives from 27 countries and international organizations. Participants accepted the Statement of Conference, reflecting the common vision on the development of Kazakhstan’s initiative. It was decided that the meeting of the ministers of Foreign Affairs would be held in the year 1998 or 1999. During that period within SWG the work on finalizing the text of the Declaration on Principles have been continued.

In accordance with the Memorandum, distributed by the Kazakhstan’s side, a permanent Contact Group, composed of the representatives of the Embassies of member-states, accredited in Almaty was created on a voluntary basis. The aim of the Contact Group is to hold consultations, exchange opinions concerning the documents of the Conference. The expertise of academicians of Asian countries and international organizations during the inter-session period is also welcomed.

The international colloquium "Asian security in the context of convocation of CICA", held in Almaty on October 21-22, 1998, was an important moment in the course of CICA process. The heads of leading scientific research centers and institutes from 16 countries of Asia, Europe and USA participated in the colloquium. The main aim of that event was to exchange opinions on all aspects of Asian security with an emphasize on the idea of creation of regional security system.

In January-February 1999 the Kazakh side held bilateral consultations in the capitals of some CICA member-states. During the consultations it was managed to agree on rapprochement of positions of the participants concerning several disputed provisions of the Declaration on Principles.

By the next SWG meeting of 26-28 May 1999 there were three disputed provisions remaining in the text of the Declaration:

  • period to reach the world, free from the nuclear weapon, (contradictions between India and China),
  • the right on development and application of scientific and technological advancements (contradictions between Iran and Israel),
  • the right of people under colonial and foreign occupation on fight for self-determination (contradiction between India, Israel from one side and Pakistan - from other side).

After long bilateral consultations, before and during the meeting, the text of Declaration was agreed in general, except a reservation of the Pakistani delegation, which pressed for the provision on the right of people to fight for self-determination to remain in the document. The final decision on that matter was taken on the eve of the Ministerial meeting.

The third stage. The Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of CICA member-states, held in Almaty on September 14, 1999 and signing of the Declaration on Principles Guiding Relations Between CICA Member-States became the biggest achievement of Kazakhstan diplomacy since the launch by the President Republic of Kazakhstan N.A.Nazarbaev of the initiative about creation of multilateral mechanism on security and cooperation in Asia. Thus, for the first time was created juridical basis for establishing an Asian security system, with concrete activities, measures and mechanisms of ensuring stability in the region.

The Ministers of foreign affairs of the 15 CICA member-states, representatives of the observer-countries such as Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, USA, Ukraine, Japan, international organizations (UN, OSCE, Intergovernmental Council of Central Asian States) participated in the ministerial meeting.

The participants adopted the Resolution of the ministerial meeting, where they confirmed their support for the development of the CICA process as the regional forum. They also decided to work out a document within the CICA framework to be signed by the Heads of States and the Governments. The joint statement denouncing the acts of terrorism in the Osh region and expressing the solidarity and support to the government of Kyrgyzstan was adopted as well.

The regular session of the Special Working Group within the CICA framework took place on April 12-14, 2000.

The participants noted that after signing of the Declaration on Principles by the ministers of foreign affairs the process reached a new stage, and that concrete measures should be taken to implement the provisions of Declaration. The Declaration was regarded as the main document of the process and the guarantor of success of future activities. It served as a basis for all follow-up documents adopted within the CICA framework, as well as the document signed by the CICA Heads of States and the Governments.

On that session the participants adopted the structure of the document to be signed by the Head of States and Governments and agreed that the main provisions of the document will be in line with the principles of the Declaration, as well as the elaboration of a common approach to the new threats and challenges to the security in the Asia such as terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, international crime and ecological problems.

The international seminar on "The ways and methods of implementation of Declaration of principles, guiding relations between the CICA member-states" was held on June 15-17, 2000. The main objective of the seminar was to elaborate and exchange opinions about the content of the document to be signed by Heads of States and Governments.

The heads and experts of the scientific and research institutes, as well as diplomats, representatives of the 15 member-states, observers and international organizations (UN, OSCE, CIS, League of Arab States) contributed to work of the seminar.

The following proposals for future work on elaboration of the CICA document were put forward in the course of the seminar:

  • cooperation to tackle new threats to security (terrorism and religious extremism, illicit trafficking of drugs, small arms and light weapons and the components that can be used to produce WMD);
  • conceptions of regional co-operation and security in Asia (confidence building measures and mechanisms of their implementation by using experience of Shangai forum and OSCE, disarmament and arms control, including creation of nuclear free zones, conflict prevention, cooperation in the field of human rights and cultural as well as economic cooperation);
  • organizational structure of CICA (creation of the secretariat, development of CICA's scientific potential, exchange of information on vital issues regarding Asian security, financing of organization, rules of procedure).
The results of the seminar's work were used in elaboration of the Summit's documents.

To speed up the convocation of the CICA's Summit, the special envoys of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan visited the capitals of the CICA member-states with the mission to deliver the message-invitation to the CICA Summit as well as to conduct on negotiations on the further development of the process.

In the period between 26 - 31 of March, 2001 the regular session of SWG was held in Almaty to continue elaboration of the Summit document. During the session experts agreed on majority of provisions of the document.

The Kazakh side, as the host of the Summit set up following ad-hoc groups: 1) group dealing with organizational issues of Summit; 2) group dealing with security; 3) group for informational support of the Summit. The Executive Secretariat of the CICA Summit was created, as well.

In compliance with the decision taken by experts during the SWG meeting (26-31 of March 2001), and with the aim to conduct consultations on the draft of the document to be signed by Heads of States and Governments, as well as to define the dates of the Summit, the Vice-Minister of foreign affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan K.Abousseitov visited capitals of the CICA member-states.

On June 4-9, 2001 was held the last SWG meeting to prepare the draft of the CICA Summit Document. At the first day the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Yerlan Idrissov briefed the Ambassadors of the CICA member-states and observers, accredited in Almaty. At the briefing the first Information Circular of the Executive Secretariat of the Summit was distributed.

According to the results of last SWG meeting it was recommended to hold the Senior Officials Meeting on September 4-6 2001 to finalize the text of the Summit Document. Besides, participants of the meeting decided to recommend to their government to send officials to the same meeting to arrange organizational, protocol and security issues related to the participation of the Heads of States and Governments.

4-6 September 2001 the Senior Officials Meeting took place in Almaty. As a result of this meeting the elaboration of the Summit document was completed. The participants agreed on the name of the document - Almaty Act.

The organizational issues of the Summits preparation and realization were discussed as well. The delegations of the security and protocol officers visited all main sites of the Summit.

However, some time later the Kazakh leadership took a decision to postpone the Summit from November 8-10, 2001 to the first half of 2002, because of the counter-terrorist operation in Afghanistan. At that time the main attention of the world community was attached to the most acute problem of the international terrorism. The convocation of a meeting at that moment could have narrowed the format of the political discussion at the Summit and adversely affect the content quality of the meeting.

First CICA Summit.

On 3-5 of June the First CICA Summit was held in Almaty, attended by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, Chairman of the People’s Republic of China Jiang Zemin, President of the Republic of Turkey Ahmet Necdet Sezer, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan General Pervez Musharraf, President of Mongolia Natsagyn Bagabandi, President of the Kyrgyz Republic Askar Akayev, President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmonov, Prime-Minister of Azerbaijan Artur Rasi-zade, Chairman of Interim Administration of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, Prime-Minister of the Republic of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime-Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Utkir Sultanov, Special Envoy of the President of the Islamic State of Iran Mohsen Aminzadeh, Adviser to the President, Director General UN and International Organizations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine Zuhdi Labid Tarazi, Minister for Awqaf of the Arab Republic of Egypt Mahmoud Hamdi Zakzouk, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction and Housing Natan Sharansky, representatives of the observers-states: Australia, USA, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Ukraine and Republic of Korea and the leadership of the OSCE, UN and League of Arab States.

The Almaty Act and the CICA Declaration on Eliminating Terrorism and Promoting Dialogue among Civilizations were signed at the Almaty Summit.

The participants of the Summit paid a special attention to the fact of the creation of a new political process, aimed at opening of new possibilities for multilateral dialogue, equal interaction of the Asian countries in order to strengthen security and stability, creation of an atmosphere of trust and cooperation. The Asian leaders especially emphasized the timely proposal to create such kind of a forum for multilateral dialogue and consultations in Asia.

The leaders of the Asian countries elaborated on the new principles in regard of the security in Asia, based on trust, respect and cooperation. The Almaty Act and the CICA Declaration on Eliminating Terrorism and Promoting Dialogue among Civilizations reflect these principles. Participants of the forum pledged to follow the common principles and aims enshrined in these documents.

The participants emphasized that the Almaty Act was the breakthrough document, which contained the innovative norms and reflected the member-states approaches to enhancement of security. In particular, it relates to parallel application of the confidence building measures and settlement of disputes, elaboration of the catalogue confidence measures, priority for the liquidation of the weapon of mass destruction, creation of the nuclear weapons free zones in Asia, adoption of the obligations in the struggle against terrorism, separatism and the drug trafficking, illegal weapon trade, transnational crime.

The CICA Declaration on Eliminating Terrorism and Promoting Dialogue among Civilizations, as a reaction to the terrorism and extremism challenges, reflects a common approach to this evil. The member-states not only condemn the methods, acts and the practice of terrorism, but underline the necessity for the dialogue among the civilizations as a main way of eliminating the breeding grounds of terrorism, preventing the conflict between different cultures and nations.

Participation of the leaders whose countries were in conflict - India and Pakistan, Palestine and Israel - made the Summit a unique event. Thus, CICA has confirmed its meaning – to serve as an open forum for the dialogue aimed to find the compromise solutions of problems and conflicts.

Numerous bilateral meetings and contacts became one of the most important results of the Summit. As a contribution to the development of interstate contacts in Asia, Kazakhstan officials, including President, Prime-Minister, State Secretary and members of the government have had 22 meetings with their counterparts. More than 40 bilateral meetings and negotiations between the Heads of the delegations took place during the Summit. The leaders of Russia, India and China were especially active in this regard, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan mentioned in his speech that they ought to play the role of a locomotive of the CICA process.

First CICA Summit has drawn a big attention and support from the world community. The UN General Secretary K.Annan, President of Ukraine L.Kuchma, Head of the State of Palestine Y.Arrafat, General Secretary of OSCE J.Kubish, General Secretary of the League of Arab States A.Musa addressed to the Summit their welcoming messages. Participants of NATO Rome meeting and the countries of the European Union expressed their support for the Summit.

More than 500 of journalists from the CNN, NBC, Associated Press, BBC, NHK, Reuters, France Press, Kyodo News, Xinhua, Ren min ri bao, ITAR TASS, European Broadcasting Union, New York Times, Al-Jazeera Channel were covering the events of the Summit. In the history of Kazakhstan the Summit in Almaty became one of the most largely covered by world media event.

Today’s developments.

On September 25-27, 2002 the workshop "CICA: prospects development" took place in Almaty. The scientists from the CICA countries discussed ways of further development of the process. The main subjects of the workshop were the issues of the CICA Secretariat creation and elaboration of the CICA Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures.

During the discussions the participants came to an understanding that for the implementation of the First CICA Summit decisions, the current stage requires the creation of at least two special working groups.

First group will elaborate the CICA Secretariat statute and the CICA Rules of Procedure for submitting to the Ministerial meeting in 2004. The second one is responsible for the elaboration of the CICA Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures. Because of wide range of issues to be included in this document, the CICA Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures it will be considered at the Second CICA Summit in 2006.

There is a possibility to create other working groups on different issues such as: terrorism, combating illicit drug trafficking and etc. This working groups may be hosted by initiating countries.

These issues ought to be considered at the next Senior officials meeting, which is planned to be held in January 2003 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

CICA Membership.

The member-states of CICA are: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Mongolia, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Palestine, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan (16); observer-states: Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Lebanon, Malaysia, Ukraine, USA, Vietnam, Thailand (9) and three international organizations: UN, OSCE and the League of Arab States.

The membership in the CICA might be obtained by the consensus decision of all member-states. An applicant state has to submit a written application in the form of the note verbale to the chair and then the chair distributes the information to the member states. Only after receiving affirmative answers from all 16 parties, at the next meeting of Special Working Group or Senior Official Committee (which comes first) the country is officially declared a member.

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