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Kazakhstan’s President Tokayev Calls for Multilateral Renewal Amidst Global Turbulence – Middle Powers Hold the Key

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan articulated his vision in Euronews for the nation’s role on the global stage, highlighting Kazakhstan’s commitment to multilateralism and its efforts to create new platforms for international dialogue and cooperation, as reported by Kazakh media.

President Tokayev emphasized that the current global landscape is characterized by extraordinary geopolitical turbulence and persistent conflicts, necessitating urgent multilateral solutions. He pointed out that wars in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa are causing significant loss of life, while climate change is exacerbating hunger, vulnerability, and displacement. These crises appear intractable, with no resolution in sight.

“In this environment of global discord, traditional powerhouses—both economic and political—are increasingly unable to collaborate effectively,” Tokayev observed.

He highlighted the diplomatic deadlock caused by the conflict in Ukraine, the severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and the rising tensions in the Indo-Pacific region, which are leading to confrontations rather than constructive dialogue. Simultaneously, international institutions designed to foster global consensus, such as the United Nations, are experiencing stagnation and impasse.

Against this backdrop, Tokayev asserted that middle powers like Kazakhstan are becoming essential and agile players on the international stage.

“The veto power held by permanent members of the United Nations Security Council often results in deadlock, preventing decisive actions against global crises and leading to repeat scenarios where unilateralism is favored over collective action. This weakens multilateralism and the credibility of international institutions,” Tokayev explained.

Despite not possessing the global influence of superpowers, countries like Kazakhstan have the economic and military resources, as well as the political will and diplomatic skill, to significantly impact issues such as food and energy security, green transitions, and the sustainability of supply chains.

“Unburdened by the complexities of superpower politics, our agility enables us to navigate intricate diplomatic terrains and carve paths toward compromise and reconciliation,” Tokayev added.

President Tokayev emphasized that middle powers are dedicated to supporting the multilateral system. Unlike superpowers, which may view these institutions as constraints, middle powers rely on them to resolve disputes, protect their territorial integrity, and address collective challenges such as climate change and pandemics.

Kazakhstan has consistently demonstrated its commitment to multilateralism, seeking new forums for international dialogue and collaborative action. The nation’s efforts extend beyond nuclear disarmament to initiatives like proposing a new multilateral agency for biological security to guard against global threats such as pandemics and biological terrorism.

Tokayev highlighted that Kazakhstan and France are co-chairing the inaugural One Water Summit this year, addressing global water scarcity and desertification. Additionally, Kazakhstan has proposed hosting a UN Regional Centre for Sustainable Development Goals in Central Asia and Afghanistan to lead regional climate change initiatives.

Kazakhstan’s active involvement in resolving long-standing conflicts, as evidenced by hosting recent peace talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia, underscores the influential role of middle powers in promoting peace.

“That the path to global unity is not uncharted—it has been successfully navigated before. The world has overcome divisions in the past and can do so again through diplomacy and dialogue,” Tokayev reminded.

In conclusion, President Tokayev underscored the urgent need for global cooperation to revitalize the multilateral system, which is currently under significant stress. He argued that while major powers are reluctant and smaller countries lack influence, middle-sized nations like Kazakhstan should take a leadership role. He called for these countries to not only participate but actively manage global affairs, urging all international partners to bolster multilateralism.

“Let our collective actions reflect our commitment not just to a more peaceful present but to a prosperous and harmonious future. The task is formidable, but with determination, leadership, and a steadfast commitment to dialogue, we can transform today’s challenges into tomorrow’s successes. Let us lead the way to an era of multilateral renewal,” Tokayev concluded.