Kruunuvuorenkatu 4 (2 krs.)
tel. +358 50 599 3252
Office hours 10:00-13:00
3.4.2003 Askar Akajev, Kirgistanin presidentti: About single and indivisible world today
President of the Kyrgyz Republic Askar Akajev
Honorable Chairman! Honorable colleagues! Ladies and gentlemen!
I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the invitation to speak in the society that has the name of the great son of Finland Mr. Juho Paasikivi. Wisdom and prediction of this outstanding Finnish public figure have helped the country to survive and stand through the most difficult times of the XX century. Not only survive but also turn the development of the county into the direction that has enabled it enter the XXI century as the stable and prosperous state.
Many outstanding Finnish and foreign political and public figures have spoken in this hall. I am pleased to be one of them.
Considering the subject of the presentation in front of the representatives of the intellectual and foreign political elite of Finland attending this meeting I had a complex feeling. It is not a secret that personally as the scientist I most of all would like to refer to the subject of the ancient history to the old times when paths of our people came across each other at the Great Silk Road, to the time of the initial contacts.
Another most interesting fact attracts a lot of attention. The people of our countries have two ancient epic poems: the Kyrgyz people have the Manas and the Finnish people have the Kalevala. These epic poems date back to about the same time and have common poetic structure. I do not believe these facts and coincidences happen just accidentally.
Personally I was interested very much in the story of the expedition taken by colonel Mannerheim in early XX century along the Silk Road who afterwards became the great leader of Finland. He spent two years in the Central Asia, covering thousands of kilometers on the horseback from Kyrgyzstan to China, through many difficulties and hardship.
The issue of the historic role of Juho Paasikivi and his antecedents in the development of the Finnish statehood, development of the democratic process and progressive economic reforms in the country is of the same great interest for me as the links between our peoples that date back to ancient times. It became the well known model foundation of the Finnish model of development. Recently we talk a lot about the new Finnish model of the information society and the state of social well being. This Finnish experience can teach Kyrgyzstan a lot. We have also chosen the way towards development of an open information society. Democratic development and well being of the people is our highest priority.
Unfortunately the life has made its own severe changes into my original plans.
The war in Iraq is the center of international life today. The blitzkrieg did not work. The conflict is lingering on. There is a lot of debate and political disputes around this war. I can not stay away from this subject.
Thinking about Iraq we can not forget that the world has suffered in the past XX century along with two global wars taking millions of lives also from many local conflicts leading to huge casualties and material damage. I pray the God that events around Iraq could be the last tragic trial for the human kind.
Sooner or later the war in Iraq should come to the end leaving behind many scars. But how can we make sure similar tragedies are not going to happen again? How should be build future affairs? The smartest people in the think tanks throughout the world, including in the Paasikivi society are looking for answers to these questions. I also have the intention to express my thoughts under the title of "Unity and indivisibility of the world". I would like to emphasize that this word has two meanings in Russian language while there are two words in English: world and peace - meaning the Universe of the Earth on one hand and no war on the other hand. In my reflections I would like to bring two notions to the same denominator.
In the material world there are common physical laws that rule both living and non living nature. Laws of mechanics, physics, atomic and nuclear phenomena, genetics and cells are the same regardless of the place or time. These laws are universal by nature. The human kind relies upon this nature trying only to prevent it coming out of control, in areas of atomic energy or genetics.
In the world of humans things are different. There are about 200 states in the world, each one having its own political and social system. Some of them are not compatible with each other by inner nature and it leads to permanent conflicts. But anyway, when the human kind is facing a potential catastrophe, hanging over the deadly edge, it finds a chance to get together for the sake of survival. This happened after the WWII, when United Nations was established. I believe the United Nations fulfill and continues to fulfil its noble peace making mission. One evidence is the war on terror and actions of the anti-terrorist coalition supported and approved by the UN Security Council.
Finland in the north of Europe and Kyrgyz Republic in the center of Asia, thousands of kilometers away from each other have the same intention to put an end to the greatest threat such as the international terrorism. The whole world has been struck by tragic events in New York and Washington in 2001. Perhaps, our own problems in the Kyrgyz Republic associated with interventions of international terrorist groups in 1999 and 2000 did not echo so much on the global scale at that time. Let me remind, that the Kyrgyz Republic has gone through hardest test, through burden of losses and destructions brought by evil extremist forces formed and funded from Afghanistan. Their goal was to undermine our democratic progress and reverse the history back to middle ages.
That is why the Kyrgyz Republic was the first in the Central Asia to join the anti-terrorist coalition and agreed with placement of coalition forces in its territory. This has made countries of the coalition closer and connected. The world has become single and indivisible.
In the planet today there are many nations, many different confessions, and political trends from fascists and extremists to genuine democratic movements, and a great deal of civil movements some of which openly practice obscurantism.
There is a belief there are different civilization in the world which have originally been in a conflict with each other. Diversity is an undisputable fact of life. There is a legitimate question is it a factor that causes conflicts.
Struggle between the good and evil is what I can see in the realities today. This struggle has been on an on throughout the history of human kind. Yet in spite of any difficulties or hardships the good has always been over the evil no matter what problems the humanity is facing, just like the spring always fights down the winter no matter how sever it is.
In light of this I would like to express my old conviction that there is no such a thing as a conflict of civilizations in the world. There is only one - human civilization in the world and there only one single system of human values. The idea of a conflict of civilization I believe is nothing but an attempt to grow the divide between different nations and confessions. I support the diversity but I am opposed to imposed ideas of the conflicts as originally in-built into minds of certain nations in respect to other nations, cultures and confessions.
We talk a lot for instance about the conflict between Muslim and Jews. In February this year the President of Kazakhstan Nazarbaev initiated an international conference of peace in Almaty attended by leaders from a number of Central Asian states, Afghanistan, Turkey as well as outstanding representatives of the Jewish community from the United States. All participants of the conference shared the same view. It is not about conflicts between confessions but the intention of evil forces to benefit politically from development of conflicting trends.
Let me step aside at this point and touch on the history of my people. Scientific research made available after lifting the Soviet era ban provided an opportunity to study the ancient roots of the nation. Based upon reliable historic evidence the 57 session of United Nations General Assembly in a resolution passed in 2002 has confirmed that the Kyrgyz statehood dates back to 2200 years ago and pronounced the year 2003 as the Year of the Kyrgyz Statehood. Under pressure from powerful foreign interventions the small Kyrgyz people brought together by the idea of its own statehood was forced to move across Asia for many centuries prior to obtaining its modern land of Ala-Too in the south east Central Asia. The Kyrgyz people as an ethnic group did not get diluted as many other ancient nations it came across throughout its history. Great survival potential of the Kyrgyz people resulted by its tolerance to other people, cultures and confessions. Even today, when we have other 80 ethnic groups in the country we do not suffer from any inter-ethnic fights. The national idea of the Kyrgyzstan as the common house has served as the great incentive for the unity of the poly-ethnic nation.
Our own experience shows that we must be insistent in searching for the way towards friendship, integrity, living in peace and agreement, while fighting those who bring the separation, conflicts and rows in the society.
This is what we should do in the international community as well, I believe. The world is single and indivisible in our common aspirations. People of all nations regardless of the religion or ethnic groups have aspirations towards peace, prosperity, well being, civil and political freedoms and human rights protection. If any one is driving them away towards different goals, giving raise to the vile feelings have not right to be called humanists. They are the representatives of the Evil that I have mentioned earlier.
Having touched on the issue of diversity let me speak on the situation in the area of international cooperation. Staying within the framework of my presentation I will just focus upon the military and political aspects of such cooperation. Civilized countries trying to protect their national interests aspire towards creation of such security configurations which are able to provide proper conditions for peaceful living and achievement of creative goals. In addition to bilateral mechanisms there are widely practiced multi-lateral unions and alliances.
In respect to Kyrgyzstan, let me underline, that in addition to our bilateral relations with Russia and some other neighbors in the region we are the part of the Collective Security Agreement and the Shanghai cooperation organization. Similar intentions dictated our membership in the anti-terror coalition under the auspices of the United States, designed to put an end to the main source of international terrorism in Afghanistan which posed a direct threat to my republic. Such security configurations as I have mentioned earlier became the reality of the world today. There is hardly any alternative to such systems in the foreseeable future.
Realizing all of the above I would like to underline again and again that there is an organization in the world community which is able to protect the security interests of all states the best way on the universal basis. This is the United Nation with its Security Council that has the highest degree of universal organization. For 58 years it has been serving well the international community and is able to serve the humanity for many years ahead. Universal nature of the United Nations is demonstrated by many specialized effective institutions dealing with various needs of countries that require assistance.
From the point of view of prosperity achieved by developed states after the WW11, at least some of them do not realize how much small and poor countries need UN for purposes of security and poverty alleviation.
I will not hide my fear that belittled role of the United Nations in conflicts regulation recently may lead to dilute its positions in the world and lose the high role it has been playing invariably throughout the post-war period and undermine its role in the future. Standing here I urge to listen to the voice of our small state in the Central Asia in favor of stronger role for the United Nations.
Based upon the historic experience, political and moral values of my country I can say that the collapse of the world order embodied by the United Nations possesses the threat of unpredictable consequences. No distance, oceans and seas, or high mountains, as well as smartest systems of electronic security and rockets can protect against the threat of the Evil forces. Only the unity of forces of Good and Justice and the single and indivisible world, the symbol of which is the United Nations, can be the most reliable shield that we must keep as the apple of our eyes.
Repeating my own statement of the single and indivisible world today I should also make clear that such features of the world will come true by themselves. We must not forget that the political divide in the XX century into confronting groups and lack of ability to get together in face of the imminent threat resulting in two destructive wars.
The United Nations is the cement that helps to keep the single and indivisible world. Urging to strengthen its role I also support the idea of many links connecting countries at different continents with different levels of development. This is the angle from which I look at my visit to Finland.
In conclusion let me say the following: the Kyrgyzstan started its way towards democracy 12 years ago. We are still moving forward in spite of many difficulties and barriers. Reading a source about activities of Juho Paasikivi I found his principle: "To bend but not break down." He talked about relations of Finland with its eastern neighbor at the hard soviet times. This a very wise principle kept by Finland even today is not just local or narrow I believe. This a truly universal rule especially for small states such as Kyrgyzstan facing many constraints in both internal and external affairs. We actually follow the principle established by Paasikivi in our daily life.
At the eve of 10-th anniversary of the state independence of Kyrgyzstan in August 2001 my book entitled "Mard road to democracy" came out. Yes the road to democracy is very hard but this is the road that leads to social progress and stability at the national and international scale in the highest interests of all nations.
Thank you for your attention.