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Plans to coordinate foreign policies with Russia alarm Kazakh senators

27 october 2014, 18:31
Photo ©Turar Kazangapov
Photo ©Turar Kazangapov

A clause on coherent foreign policy in the Agreement between Kazakhstan and Russia on Good-Neighborliness and Alliance in the XXI Century has raise concerns among Kazakh senators at the expanded meeting of the Committee on Defense and Security, Tengrinews reports. 

"The Parties will conduct a coordinated foreign policy. What is the depth of this coordination? Do we have to negotiate every move with the Russians, or what does it mean?" chairman of the Senate Committee Ikram Adyrbekov asked the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Askar Musinov.

"Indeed, Article 4 is one of the main articles of the treaty and contains this provision on coordinated foreign policy. But I would like to stress that in signing any agreements with foreign partners the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as all state bodies of Kazakhstan, are ruled primarily by the principle of our national sovereignty and independence," Musinov replied.

"No treaty can come at the expense of our Constitution and our basic laws. Consistent foreign policy does not mean daily coordination of our steps in the international arena. It implies rather a mechanism for mutual consultations and exchange of information about planned and undertaken steps in foreign policy," Musin continued.

He stressed that Kazakhstan did not always assume the same stance as Russia on various foreign policy issues.

"Recent events testify to this. If you look at the results of the vote on the United Nations resolutions concerning the annexation of the Crimea, Kazakhstan was among those who did not support the steps taken by Russia. Moreover, as a result of negotiations, we managed to convince our Russian partners that we had our own approach and view of international problems, such as the Syrian crisis, the Iranian issues, the situation in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. We have our own point of view and a developed foreign policy with respect to the conflicts in the post-Soviet space," the Vice-Minister stressed.

According to Musin, Kazakhstan's foreign policy is independent and sovereign, but at the same time there is a mechanism for mutual provision of information and consultations on acute international issues.

This explanation, however, left some doubts among the deputies. Kazakh MP Adyrbekov said the Vice-Minister’s words reflected Kazakhstan’s understanding of the issue. “But how do the Russians view this article? Will they demand coordination of every step in the foreign policy of our country citing this article after ratification?” he asked.

Musin assured that during negotiations Kazakhstan “explicitly stated that it would never relinquish even one iota of its sovereignty and independence, including in the area of foreign policy."

"This article will not lead to irreversible consequences - to our becoming dependent on Russian foreign policy," Musin said. He noted that coordination implied "full exchange of available information" but stressed that Kazakhstan would reject any treaty that would require "harmonization of our foreign policy with the Kremlin or some other power". 

Reporting by Altynai Zhumzhumina, writing by Dinara Urazova

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