A Plot to destabilize Constitutional Order in Kazakhstan

The deployment of CSTO peacekeeping troops which started on January 6, turned out to be extremely timely and effective

Permanent Representative Magzhan Ilyassov at the UN Security Council Debate on 16 February 2022.

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On 16 February 2022, the Security Council organized a debate on cooperation between the UN and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). UN Secretary-General António Guterres and CSTO Secretary-General Stanislav Zas presented detailed statements. Russia, a founding member of the CSTO, organized the debate as a signature event of its February presidency, and its Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov chaired the meeting. The remaining CSTO member states—Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan—have been invited to participate in the debate under rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.

The Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan Magzhan Ilyassov issued a statement at the UN Security Council Debate on “Cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations in maintaining international peace and security (CSTO)” concerning the events of January 2022, that led to the involvement of the CSTO peacekeeping contingent.

Tokayev meeting with government officials and Mazhilis MPs, 15 January 2021. Credit: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. Author parlam.kz

“Mr. President,

Excellences and distinguished delegates,

Let me start by expressing my gratitude to the Presidency of the Russian Federation for putting the very important spotlight on cooperation between the UN and the CSTO.

We thank United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and CSTO Secretary-General Stanislav Zas’ for their detailed statements and constructive proposals to further strengthen joint collaboration between the UN and the CSTO.

I am taking the floor to inform you of the tragic January events in my country, Kazakhstan, that required short-term but prompt involvement of the CSTO peacekeeping contingent for the first time in the history of the Organization.

On January 2, protests started in Western Kazakhstan, triggered by a sharp increase in the price for liquefied gas (LNG).

Despite the timely steps taken by the authorities to meet the demands of the initially peaceful protesters and engage in a meaningful dialogue with them, criminal elements and religious extremists, including foreign fighters, hijacked the protests and deliberately escalated them into coordinated violent armed riots in 11 out of 14 provinces of the country in order to destabilize constitutional order. As a result of the plot, many people were injured throughout Kazakhstan, including law enforcement officers and unfortunately peoples’ lives were lost.

At the special meeting of the National Security Council of Kazakhstan on January 5, the situation in the country was qualified as a terrorist threat to national security and act of aggression.

The UN Charter recognizes the right of every state to individual or collective self-defense in such event.

In this regard and in accordance with Article 4 of the Collective Security Treaty, President of Kazakhstan, Mr. Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, requested the CSTO to provide peacekeeping assistance in order to maintain stability in the country. This request was promptly met and supported by all members of the Organization (Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyz Republic, Russian Federation, and Tajikistan).

The UN was properly informed in a timely manner about the intention of the CSTO to send a peacekeeping contingent of all five member states to Kazakhstan to stabilize the situation.

The deployment of CSTO peacekeeping troops which started on January 6, turned out to be extremely timely and effective. I would like to underline that during their mission in Kazakhstan, the peacekeepers were providing security for strategically important facilities and infrastructure, and did not engage in any counter-terrorist operations or direct combat; there is no single registered event of them having to use their weapons during the mission in Kazakhstan.

On January 11, President of Kazakhstan announced that the mission of the CSTO peacekeepers had been successfully completed. The withdrawal started on January 13 and by January 19, the CSTO peacekeeping contingent was completely withdrawn from Kazakhstan. By that time situation in my country was under control and the plot to seize power through violent armed riots had failed.

Within those tragic days in January, Kazakhstan has experienced the most dramatic events in its 30-year long history of Independence. The results of the ongoing investigation will be shared with international community in due time.

We also witnessed firsthand CSTO relevance and effectiveness as a recognized regional security organization. It has proven to be a well-functioning collective mechanism for ensuring stability and security of its member-states while strictly adhering to the rules and norms of the Treaty.

Therefore, the Republic of Kazakhstan stands for comprehensive and close cooperation between the UN and regional structures, like CSTO, that are ready to make a significant contribution into strengthening global and regional security.

I thank you.”

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