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Kazakhstan’s abstention in the UNSC voting prompted a strong reaction

Kazakhstan’s abstention in the UNSC voting prompted a strong reaction

Washington Post, in a report published with reference to Associated Press and entitled «UN rejects Russian attempt to condemn US aggression in Syria», said: «The U.N. Security Council overwhelmingly rejected a Russian resolution calling for condemnation of «aggression» by the United States, United Kingdom and France against Syria on Saturday, a vote reflecting support for the allied airstrikes on Syrian chemical sites.

But the vote at the end of an emergency meeting called by Russia also demonstrated again the paralysis of the U.N.’s most powerful body in dealing with Syria’s seven-year conflict.
Russia’s demand for condemnation and an immediate halt to «aggression» and «any further use of force» by the three Western allies got support from only two other countries on the 15-member Security Council – China and Bolivia.
By contrast, eight countries voted against the Russian draft — the U.S., U.K., France, Netherlands, Sweden, Kuwait, Poland and Ivory Coast. Four countries abstained — Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Equatorial Guinea and Peru».
Kazakhstan’s abstention in the above-mentioned voting may, or would have remained unnoticed on another occasion. But this was not the case. Kazakhstani wish to refrain from participating in taking a decision on the Russian resolution at the meeting of the Security Council on 14 April 2018 provoked a strong reaction in Moscow’s political circles. This has in turn drawn more attention to this issue in Kazakhstan.
At first glance, it’s much ado about nothing. The number of contributors to the discussions, which this issue has engendered, is gradually being expanded. Opinions still differ widely and the end to the debate is not in sight.
The discussions on the topic which were prompted by the participants of Russia’s premier political talk show, «The Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyov». The host of that nationally televised event, Vladimir Solovyov himself, took the initiative to discuss the matter. He said: «When it comes to Turkey, that’s okay. We can get on board with that. We are in a situational alliance with that country. And what exactly is the union of which we are a part along with Kazakhstan, who abstained from voting? And what is CSTO (the Collective Security Treaty Organization), who also gave us their support in a manner that is kind of rather unclear? This isn’t the first time Kazakhstan has taken the ambiguous position. We do not know something about our relations with Kazakhstan? I mean, what if our two countries are a little on edge with each other? Or should we expect Kazakhstan to be the objective of next Maidan aimed at estranging that post-Soviet nation from Russia?».
He was followed by Konstantin Zatulin, a Russian politician, first deputy chairman of the committee of the State Duma for CIS affairs, Eurasian integration and Relations with compatriots; head of the Institute of CIS Countries. He said that a process of «Kazakhization» was well under way in this country. He also noted that Kazakhstan had strictly refrained from supporting the Crimea, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This is when other participants of the political talk show began to express their concern about Kazakhstan’s switch from the Cyrillic alphabet to the Latin script.
But «we always treat Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev with all due respect», Solovyov noted.
In this context, it is relevant to note that political talk show hosted by Vladimir Solovyov was named the second-most watched news program in Russia. It has the capacity to reach a huge audience at once.
Novayagazeta.ru, in an article by Vyacheslav Polovinko entitled «Соловьев напал на Казахстан» – «Soloviev has attacked Kazakhstan», quoted Konstantin Kosachev, a Russian politician, head of the Russian Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee, as saying (on his Facebook page): «Almost without surprise. And there’s almost nothing to comment, except for one position. I didn’t expect». That also means Kazakhstan’s abstention in the above-mentioned voting.
This kind of talk from the represen­tatives of the Russian Federation raised considerable concern in Kazakhstan, especially among local journalists.
Zakon.kz, in an article by Vladimir Demidov entitled «Шоу или провокация? Эксперты об антиказахстанских высказываниях Владимира Соловьева» – «Show or provocation? Experts on Vladimir Solovyov’s statements against Kazakhstan», quoted Dos Koshim, a public figure and chairman of the Ult Tagdyry (Nation’s Destiny) national patriotic movement, as saying: «I don’t know whether there was an assignment that had come from above, or was it initiated by Solovyov himself. But to my mind, all indications are that Russia still considers Kazakhstan as a «younger brother», and independent position in the UN Security Council is seen as a kind of phenomenon. In my opinion, some Russians, including politicians who were present at this political talk show, have not yet realized that Kazakhstan has been a sovereign state for almost 30 years, and therefore it is just politically incorrect to raise such a question. As for the remarks that Kazakhstan’s allegedly pulling away from Russia, they are totally misleading. We’re not going anywhere, we’re not walking away from our northern neighbor, but we do have our own political path. We abstained on the recent Moscow-proposed UN Security Council resolution, condemning airstrikes against Syria. And it must be considered a position taken by Kazakhstan as a sovereign state».


The Kazakh government authorities also responded to those speeches on our country’s foreign policy.
«Such information has been received. To our regret, such remarks are from time to time being uttered in this neighboring, fraternal and friendly country. First of all, we focus on the public statements by representatives of state agencies of the Russian Federation. We are all well aware of the outcome of the negotiations between Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s president, and Vladimir Putin, Russia’s President. We have established a good constructive and confidential dialogue at the level of governments and state agencies, consultations between the Russian and Kazakh Ministries of Foreign Affairs are regularly being held. Therefore we are oriented to the formal position held by the country», Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Yerzhan Ashikbayev said, while answering questions from reporters at Government House in Astana.
Upon being asked by journalists on that subject, Minister of Information and Communication Dauren Abayev replied: «Russian journalist Solovyov? No, I have not watched it (this news program). It’s a high-rated political talk show? Honestly, I do not know the journalist who said that».
EurasiaNet, in an article by Almaz Kumenov entitled «Kazakhstan gets Russian flak over UN Syria vote», said: «The strategic partnership between Russia and Kazakhstan has ostensibly deep roots. Both countries are close military partners and fellow core mem­bers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a post-Soviet analogue of NATO. They are also founding members of the Eurasian Economic Union. Less tangibly, the leaderships of the two nations fundamentally share a worldview, predicated on suspicions of the West (occasional for Kazakhstan, extremely strong and frequent for Russia) and unease at the type of political convulsions that first brought about the Syrian crisis.
Kazakhstan’s behavior at the UN has, therefore, come as a surprise – to some people in Moscow, at least».
Sputnik Kazakhstan, in report by Sergey Kim entitled «Почему Ка­зах­стан воздержался при голосо­вании в Совбезе ООН по резо­люции России» – «Why did Kazakhstan refrain from participating in the voting on the Russian resolution at the meeting of the Security Council», said: «Kazakhstan abstained during the vote on the Russian resolution at the meeting of the Security Council, guided by pragmatic considerations. This is the opinion of the well-known political scientist Alexander Knyazev.
He stresses that there is no room for emotional thinking in politics. In his opinion, the affirmative vote of Kazakhstan during the voting could play against the Astana process».

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