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Kazakhstan as mediator limited by international status: political analysts 12 апреля 2015, 16:05

Kazakhstan is taking an active stance in the world affairs. Nevertheless, its potential is limited by its resources and international status. Therefore, it has to choose a role consistent with both these factors.
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Kazakhstan has been taking an active stance in settlement of the situation in Ukraine and has offered to serve as mediator in the conflict. The opposition in Syria has also been planning to ask the Kazakh authorities to provide a platform for negotiations with all the sides of the crisis. These are but recent examples of Kazakhstan’s involvement in the world affairs.

Kazakhstan is able to effectively play the role of a mediator to resolve international conflicts, but cannot reach out very far abroad. This is the opinion Kazakh political scientists gave Tengrinews.

According to Rustam Burnashev, professor at Almaty-based Kazakh-German University, Kazakhstan’s potential should not be overestimated, especially when it comes to conflicts happening in faraway countries.

"The fact is that our country does not yet have sufficient capacity to be a mediator. (...) What does it mean to be an active participant of a negotiation process as a mediator? The country must act as a certain guarantor and provide resources for peacekeeping missions. It is clear that by virtue of its economic and foreign policy potential, our country can neither be a guarantor nor a resource provider. So there are objective limitations. The form of mediation offered by Kazakhstan is fully consistent with its status and potential," Burnashev said.

He cited the examples where such assistance was effective. "Let us remember that Kazakhstan offered its platform for dialogue on Iran's nuclear program. It drew attention to the country, showed its ability to organise diplomatic events. Or take the OSCE summit in Astana, where we offered an interactive platform and agenda for a dialogue. It was not about peacemaking, but nevertheless, it propelled the status of the country," the analyst said.

Hence, Kazakhstan has created an image of a state, which takes a neutral stance on various issues and advocates for peaceful resolution of international conflicts.

"So it is not surprising that when conflicts arise in the post-Soviet space and beyond, Kazakhstan emerges as a kind of a moderator," a well-known Kazakhstani political analyst Dosym Satpayev said.

However, he also advised not to overestimate the foreign policy influence of Kazakhstan. In his opinion the country is not a strong player on the international stage. This is why the country has no ambition to become a full-fledged peacekeeping mediator in global conflicts.

"But in the post-Soviet space, the country does have a solid position in terms of diplomatic outreach and economic performance. But on the global scale one needs to be realistic in assessing the capabilities and diplomatic resources of Kazakhstan. Jump over once head is a senseless endeavour," Satpayev concluded.

Reporting by Dmitry Khegai, writing by Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina


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