EU is Kazakhstan’s main investment and trade partner – Kazakh Ambassador to Belgium A.Khamzayev
BRUSSELS. KAZINFORM A roundtable meeting on "Kazakhstan: 25 Years of Unity and Creativity" was held in Brussels, Kazinform correspondent reports.
The event was organized by the Kazakhstan Embassy in the Kingdom of Belgium and brought together the officials of European institutions including the European Commission and European External Action Service, diplomatic and parliamentary corps, NGOs and mass media.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Kazakhstan to Belgium Almaz Khamzayev welcomed the participants of the meeting and informed them about the main provisions of Kazakhstan’s Nurly Zhol Program, 100 Specific Steps National Plan on implementation of the President’s Five Institutional Reforms, as well as foreign policy initiatives of our country including G-Global, АТОМ projects, the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, Astana Economic Forum, EXPO-2017 and others.
“The European Union is the main investment and trade partner of Kazakhstan. Trade turnover between Kazakhstan and EU increased 13 times in the past 10 years while the volume of foreign investments from the EU rose by 10 times. Trade turnover reached 31.3 bln U.S. dollars in 2015 that corresponds to 51.4% of Kazakhstan’s foreign trade turnover,” Khamzayev said.
According to him, during the period from 2005 through September 2015, the inflow of direct investments from the EU to Kazakhstan made as much as 107.4 bln U.S. dollars.
“On December 21, 2015 Kazakhstan became the first CA country which signed a new generation agreement with the EU. The new Extended Partnership and Cooperation Agreement will give a significant boost to economic and political ties between the EU and Kazakhstan,” he noted.
The Agreement covers 29 sectors of interaction, such as investments, trade development, infrastructure, innovations, culture, sport, tourism, cooperation of law-enforcement structures. The Trade section of the Agreement has been significantly expanded. While developing this provision, Kazakhstan was guided with its obligations before the CU countries, EEU and its membership in the WTO.
“A solid economic basis and political stability allows Kazakhstan to implement its well-known multi-vector foreign policy, which makes our country an active and responsible player at the international arena,” the Diplomat added.
The Ambassador drew the participants’ attention to Kazakhstan’s efforts in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation area, the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Testing Site, renunciation of the world’s fourth largest nuclear arsenal, placement of the Low-Enriched Nuclear Fuel Bank in its territory under the IAEA aegis and establishment of the Central Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone (CANWFZ).
“From early on, Kazakhstan has been at the forefront of developing new initiatives on some of the most pressing contemporary problems, such as nonproliferation, confidence building, and civilizational dialogue. Kazakhstan’s foreign policy – and its multilateral relations in particular – has expressed a clear logic: to establish the country as a respectable member of the international community,” highlighted he.
According to him, in December 2015, Kazakhstan, at a request of the EU and in the frame of implementation of the nuclear deal with Iran, supplied this country with 60 metric tons of natural uranium as a compensation for the removal of low-enriched uranium from that country.
“In September 2015, President Nazarbayev called on the United Nations General Assembly to set a clear goal to eliminate nuclear weapons by 2045, the 100th jubilee of the UN. The UN has responded by approving the Universal Declaration for the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World,” Khamzayev stressed.
The meeting participants were also briefed about the Kazakh President’s Manifesto “The World. The 21st Century.”
“On March 31, 2016, at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington D.C. President Nazarbayev voiced Manifesto “The World. The 21st Century” and challenged his global counterparts to commit to peace and dialogue. The President said the world was facing a real risk of plunging again into global conflict. He warned this would be a war with “no winners” as it would inevitably lead to the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The result, he said, was that the planet would end “like a graveyard of radioactive materials,” said the Kazakh Ambassador.
Besides, A.Khamzayev told about the ambitious plans of Kazakhstan on non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council.
“We are confident that our unique history and our reputation will let us contribute to the work of the UN Security Council. This experience is reflected in the four pillars of food, water, energy and nuclear security which Kazakhstan has set out as priorities for our bid for the UNSC. In each important area, we believe we can speak with authority and help the world make progress towards fair and lasting solutions. 2017 will be the 25th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s full membership in the United Nations. From the beginning, we have shown ourselves committed supporters of the UN’s work and values. We hope that we will be given the chance to expand our contribution for peace and prosperity,” he concluded.
In turn, Head of the Central Asia Division at the European External Action Service Toivo Klaar spoke about the role of Kazakhstan at the international arena, the importance of the region for the EU and the Kazakh-European Extended Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.
“Since the year of gaining independence, Kazakhstan has demonstrated huge political, economic and social achievements. The country has reached impressive economic growth and average rise in economy at 8% in the past 10 years. Kazakhstan’s active foreign policy enabled it to join the club of authoritative global players. The Republic of Kazakhstan has gradually become one of the key economic and political partners of the European Union in Central Asia,” said Klaar.
T.Klaar expressed confidence that the Agreement on Extended Partnership and Cooperation will boost the relations between the EU and Kazakhstan.
“Since May 1, 2016 we can apply some of the provisions of the Agreement. The full implementation of the document will be possible upon its ratification by all EU member states and the European Parliament,” he said.
“We have much to do together with our Kazakhstani partners, in order to fully use our potential in all areas. We have already launched negotiations on how to achieve this goal during the meetings of the Cooperation Committee and at a recent meeting of the Trade, Investments, Energy and Transport Sub-Committee. The consultations will be continued on the threshold of the meeting of the Cooperation Council scheduled for late 2016 in Brussels,” the European Diplomat added.
In general, the participants of the event highly appraised the measures taken by Kazakhstan in promotion of the idea of global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and biological threats. Special attention was given to historical and global importance of the Kazakh President’s decision on closing the Sempalatinsk Polygon and renunciation of one of the world’s largest nuclear arsenals.
Upon completion of the meeting, the guests were presented souvenirs and brochures with the Presidential Address to the Nation and national development programs published in English and French and photo albums about the country and sightseeing of Astana as well as materials about the oncoming EXPO-2017 International Exhibition and Kazakhstan’s bid for the UNSC non-permanent membership.
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