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Is Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures about to become an Asian analogue of OSCE?



astana-obseUndoubtedly Astana, the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan, has been a centre of attention in the past several years as it hosted a number of large scale international events including the OSCE summit and the 7th Asian Winter Games.


This autumn Astana once again came into focus as on the 12th of September it hosted a Commemorative Session of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) dedicated to the 20th Anniversary of the CICA process and the Fourth Meeting of the CICA Ministers of Foreign Affairs.


The Conference was initiated on the 5th of October back in 1992. The idea of CICA belonged to Nursultan Nazarbayev - the first President of then a young Republic of Kazakhstan which has just got its independence. CICA was created as an international forum for the dialogue, consultations, solutions and implementation of arrangements related to the issues of security in Asia. The main goal of CICA was and still remains consolidation of cooperation through development of diversified approaches to provision of peace, security and stability in Asia.


Today as CICA has grown and member states include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cambodia, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Palestine, Republic of Korea, Russia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.





 A bit of CICA history:
·1993-1994 - projects of basic documents: Rules of CICA Procedure, Declaration of Principles of CICA Member States Relationship, CICA Structure and Institutions.
·1996-1997 – two meetings of Deputy Ministers of International Affairs of CICA member states
·October 1998 – international colloquium with participation of 24 experts from 12 countries
·14 September 1999 – the first meeting of Ministers of International Affairs, signing of declaration, which regulates relationship between member states of CICA
·4 June 2002 – First CICA summit, Declaration of elimination of terrorism and promotion of dialogue between civilizations
·22 October 2004 – Second meeting of Ministers, enactment of the catalogue of trust measures,
·17 June 2006 – Second CICA summit, signing of Agreement on the Secretary of CICA
·22 August 2008 – Third meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Declaration of CICA Progress in Implementation of the measures of trust
·8 June 2010 – Third CICA summit in Istanbul, the first one to take place outside Kazakhstan, transfer of chairmanship from Kazakhstan to Turkey, Convention on privileges and immunities of the Secretariat and its staff and representatives of CICA member states. 


The Member States are involved in implementation of specific projects under a number of broad categories including economy, environment, human dimension, military and politics and new challenges and threats (terrorism, illicit drug trafficking, trans-border crime, human trafficking, money laundering, illicit trade in small arms and light weapons).


During this year's session in Astana the representatives of the member states continues to discuss numerous issues that surround the countries in a modern political and economic climate.





Expectedly the issue of terrorism which currently plagues nearly every country has been raised a number of times:


«Terrorism remains a grave threat that must be addressed by all States through a comprehensive global approach and strengthened commitment, to combat it anywhere and everywhere. Many of our CICA member States are victims of terrorism and we must join hands to counter this menace effectively» says Mr. Sachin Pilot, the Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology on India.


Climate change, food security, nuclear weapon as well as facilitation of tourism within the region were also brought up be the speakers and discussed in Astana.


Majority of the performers emphasized the importance of strengthening of cooperation in areas of common priorities. They also stressed the importance of dialogue among member-states of CICA and with other international organization.


Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia stated that they «continue to underline the importance of dialogue in CICA, as a means to address common issues and concerns, as well as an alternate resolution, without conflicting to universally accepted principles and norms of international law».


Compared to other similar international associations CICA is a relatively young one. Nevertheless it seems to have a great potential. Nursultan Nazarbaev suggests that in a due course CICA has a very good chance of transforming from a mere conference into an actual organization. He also talks about the necessity to advance interaction between CICA and OSCE and promote transformation into a common platform of Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security.