The decision to make Kazakhstan chairman of the OSCE was made by the member countries solely to promote the relations between the East and the West, said Alexander Kelchevsky, the head of the OSCE center in Kazakhstan.
"I think the OSCE has made this decision [to make Kazakhstan OSCE chairman in 2010] solely to bring the East and the West closer together," Kelchevsky said in an interview published in the Thursday edition of with the newspaper Vremya.
"I can't say that it's some kind of a 'commercial agreement,'" Kelchevsky said, adding that Kazakhstan is one of the "most important countries in today's Central Asia."
"Certain strategic interests are concentrated in this region, I mean the situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran," he said.
In addition, Kazakhstan "can contact the Russian Federation and other post-Soviet republics promptly in its own language and sense things that are not always obvious to representatives of Western countries," Kelchevsky said. Such an approach may change the work of the OSCE and "bring something new to it," he said.
The OSCE chair cannot be elected "solely on the basis of economic interests," Kelchevsky said. "The oil factor is important, of course. But the new chair of the OSCE will largely determine the fate of the organization itself," he said.
The decision to trust Kazakhstan with chairing the OSCE "was not easy" and was "a risky political step," Kelchevsky said. He recalled that when Kazakhstan proposed its candidacy for the post of OSCE chair in 2003, it "voiced readiness to conduct a number of reforms in the sphere of politics, mass media, and local self-government."
Kazakhstan will be the first post-Soviet republic to chair the OSCE.