Foreign Policy Overview

Kazakhstan’s foreign policy is based on the understanding that it is a large country with roots in both Europe and Asia; its interests are many. Kazakhstan’s location has helped to define its foreign-policy priorities and diplomatic activity. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev believes that by enacting strong political and economic reforms, the country will be in a better position to build its relationships with other nations. Kazakhstan is an impartial nation, one that has worked hard to reform its military, political and economic policies as it advances toward a full democracy. Its foreign policy underscores its commitment to create strong, long-lasting alliances and partnerships. Kazakhstan's good relations with Russia, China, the United States and other Western nations altogether underscore the “vibrancy and dynamism” of this multi-vector foreign policy approach. One of Kazakhstan’s most important decisions since independence was to gain the status of a non-nuclear state and to pursue the policy of non-proliferation. Kazakhstan set an example, demonstrating its desire for peace, internal stability and sustainable economic and political development.

Kazakhstan has good relationships with the United States, Russia and China as well as in Central Asia and in many other European and Asian countries. With Russia, Kazakhstan has long-standing historical ties and a vast shared border. Kazakhstan also shares a border with China. China’s pursuit of energy security and new markets has strengthened its ties to Kazakhstan and its economy. That will only continue.

The steady development of the country is also based on it being an active, yet impartial, actor in regional events. As a result, Kazakhstan has gained entry to several regional organizations of large importance, such as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), Central Asian Economic Association, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Additionally, it should be noted that joining the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member is one of Kazakhstan’s highest international priorities.The country’s recent track record of leadership speaks for itself: in 2010, it became the first Central Asian, post-Soviet and predominantly Muslim country to chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the world's largest security oriented intergovernmental organization, and chaired the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation the following year. By leading nuclear arms reduction efforts and promoting regional cooperation, Kazakhstan is poised to play an even larger role in regional and international communities.

The motto of Kazakhstan’s OSCE chairmanship was “Four Ts”. The first T refers to trust. The second, ‘tradition’, refers to Kazakhstan’s commitment to the fundamental principles and values of the OSCE. The third, ‘transparency’, conveys maximum openness and transparency in international relations, free from ‘double standards’ and ‘dividing lines’, as well as a focus on constructive cooperation in order to address challenges and threats to security. The US was supportive of Kazakhstan’s role in the OSCE. On 20 January 2010, in his remarks on The Occasion of the Commencement of Kazakhstan’s OSCE Chairmanship, the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Robert Blake, said: “As Kazakhstan begins to serve as the chairman-in-office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe this year, it is charting a course for a bright and promising future. It is a future in which the United States and Kazakhstan together seek peace, security, economic development and prosperity.”

Foreign Minister Idrissov’s speech in the opening plenary of the 71st UN General Assembly (2016) clearly outlined Kazakhstan's foreign policy priorities for our term on the United Nations Security Council. Minister Idrissov noted Kazakhstan’s approach to foreign policy is borne out of our deep-rooted belief in the power of dialogue and our commitment to be as an objective, trusted and steady partner of the United Nations and member states.