2015 11 10 Astana Oliver TokayevChairman of Kazakhstan's Senate Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and OSCE PA Secretary General Spencer Oliver meeting in Astana on 10 November 2015. (Photo: Kazakh Parliament)

COPENHAGEN, 12 November 2015 – OSCE PA Secretary General Spencer Oliver was a keynote speaker at the Astana Club’s inaugural meeting, held in the Kazakh capital from 9 to 11 November under the theme “The Geo-Economics of Eurasia.” Speaking on 9 November, Oliver addressed the OSCE’s role in the region, including the added value of the Parliamentary Assembly, describing the organization’s efforts in resolving protracted conflicts and in particular its work in Ukraine.

The Secretary General discussed the Ukraine crisis in the context of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, noting that through its actions in Crimea and the Donbas region, the Russian Federation has violated all ten principles of the Helsinki Final Act’s Decalogue. He questioned whether the OSCE could survive the breach of Helsinki promises in relation to the Ukraine crisis.

He further described the PA’s efforts in taking stock of the OSCE and its 40 years of important work, including through its recently concluded Helsinki +40 Project, a series of seminars held in conjunction with prominent think tanks with the goal of promoting reform and reaffirming the Organization’s institutional and conceptual framework in the spirit of the Helsinki Accords. Oliver noted the central importance of human rights in the Helsinki Final Act.

Other speakers and participants included representatives and experts from leading think tanks and universities in Russia, China and the United States, as well as from Turkey, Jordan, Iran, Korea, France, Kyrgyzstan, Singapore, Afghanistan, Germany, and several European institutions. The conference was organized and hosted by The Institute of World Economy and Politics of Kazakhstan.

While in Astana, Oliver also met with the Head of Kazakhstan’s OSCE PA Delegation, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Chairman of the Senate and former Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, as well as with Deputy Head of Delegation Ikram Adyrbekov. Tokayev, who previously has served as OSCE PA Vice-President and Director-General of the United Nations Office in Geneva, said that he intends to organize a conference next May under the theme “Religious Leaders against Terrorism,” in which he hopes for strong participation by PA members.

Tokayev thanked Oliver for his good co-operation and strong support for Kazakhstan during his service as Secretary General of the OSCE PA. Oliver expressed gratitude for Kazakhstan’s robust participation in the Assembly, noting that the Kazakh Delegation has been the most active national delegation of all the Central Asian States since the inception of the OSCE PA. He thanked Tokayev in particular for Kazakhstan’s hosting of the PA’s Annual Session in 2008 and the Trans-Asian Parliamentary Forum in 2010, the year of the Kazakh OSCE Chairmanship.