29.06.2011 – Mevlüt Çavusoglu, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has proposed that Kazakhstan apply for “Partner for Democracy” status with the Assembly, one of several measures to step up relations with the Council of Europe.
Mr Çavusoglu, who is attending the meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation for Islamic Co-operation (OIC) in Astana, made the proposal during bilateral meetings on the margin of the conference with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev as well as the Speakers of both chambers of the Parliament, the Secretary of State and Foreign Minister.
“Partner for Democracy” status allows the parliaments of countries neighbouring the Council of Europe to take part in the work of PACE, but without the right to vote, in return for a number of pledges to uphold the Organisation’s values. The Moroccan Parliament recently became the first to be granted this status.
The PACE President welcomed the progress made in recent elections in Kazakhstan, which were observed by the Assembly, but said further efforts were needed to increase political pluralism, especially in parliament. It was time to “step up” co-operation between Kazakhstan and the Council of Europe, he said.
As well as applying for the new status, the authorities could consider joining relevant Council of Europe conventions that are open to non-member states, and make use of the work of the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe’s group of independent experts in constitutional law.
The President congratulated Kazakhstan on its chairmanship of the 57-nation OIC, following its successful chairmanship of the OSCE in 2010, describing it as “a Central Asian leader”.