Kazakhstan confidently moves ahead, optimistic about future – Bulgarian Ambassador V. Petkov
ASTANA. KAZINFORM Throughout the period of its independence Kazakhstan has been pursuing a constructive foreign policy targeting at mutually beneficial cooperation with all countries.
In light of the recent visit of a Bulgarian parliamentary delegation to Kazakhstan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of this country Vasil Petkov shared his view of further prospects of development of the Kazakh-Bulgarian relations in a talk with Kazinform correspondent.
Mr. Ambassador, how would you evaluate the current level of the Kazakh-Bulgarian relations? What areas of bilateral cooperation are the most promising, in your opinion?
I would like to approach this issue in the context of the oncoming 25th anniversary of the new and independent Kazakhstan to be marked next year. Under an outstanding leadership of your President–Leader of the Nation Nursultan Nazarbayev, you country has been confidently moving ahead and has been enthusiastic and optimistic about the 21st century, regardless of the complicated international situation. This creates excellent conditions for further activation and deepening of our bilateral relations.
The diplomatic relations between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Bulgaria have deep historical roots. Bulgaria attaches priority importance to the development of these relations and would like to give them new dynamics and quality. This fully complies with the interests of our nations. Being a newly appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Bulgaria to Kazakhstan, I am ready to start working on this important objective. I should highlight here that Bulgaria can become one of the most reliable and firm bridges for Kazakhstan in the Black Sea region, the Balkans and the European Union. Kazakh businessmen may use this favorable factor.
Bulgaria has always backed and will back Kazakhstan both in bilateral format and in its collaboration with the European Union and other leading international organizations. Your country can ask Bulgaria for any help or assistance in all issues representing interest to you. The most important thing is that our relations are based on full trust, mutual understanding and friendship.
I see great opportunities for activation and development of mutually beneficial cooperation in tourism, agriculture, mechanical engineering, IT and communications, culture and education and many other spheres.
In other words, the economic and intellectual potential of my county can contribute to the successful implementation of your ambitious plans and programs, including Nurly Zhol and Nation’s Plan – 100 Specific Steps, aimed at ensuring industrial and innovative development of friendly Kazakhstan.
Is your country’s leadership satisfied with the results of the visit of the Bulgarian parliamentary delegation headed by National Assembly Chairperson Tsetska Tsacheva to Kazakhstan?
Undoubtedly, it is. Chairperson of the National Assembly Tsetska Tsacheva and other members of the delegation highly assessed the results of their visit. Noteworthy to say, that this is the first visit of the Chairperson of the Bulgarian National Assembly to Kazakhstan since the country gained its independence in 1991. For this reason, the visit can be named a historical one, which will open a new and an important page in the chronicles of both countries’ bilateral relations. I am confident, that by joint efforts we will launch a new, long-term and mutually beneficial collaboration in favor of our brother nations.
The first visit of the Chairperson of the Bulgarian National Assembly to Kazakhstan, the fruitful meetings with the leadership of your country open new horizons in development of our relations and give a “green light” for a large-scale work of our Embassy in Astana.
I would like to use this opportunity to express my gratitude to our friends and colleagues from Kazakhstan for perfect organization and excellent conditions for successful holding of the summit. We highly appreciate their efforts and we know that they did their best to let the Bulgarian delegation feel comfortable on the Kazakh land. I would like to emphasize that from the first day of the visit we felt the spirit of mutual respect and exclusive sympathy which can only exist between brother nations.
Which of the bilateral agreements reached during the visit will mostly contribute strengthening and expanding cooperation between our countries?
To my mind, the high-level meetings and talks conducted during the visit have created all necessary conditions for discussing a wide range of issues of cooperation. Both sides noted that our relations have been developing well, and this opens a number of possibilities for their promotion at a brand new level due to new landmark visits scheduled for 2016. As for the agreements reached during this visit, I don’t think that we need a special gradation of the results, since the whole visit was exclusively important.
Two important documents were signed – the Memorandum of Cooperation between the National Assembly of Bulgaria and the Majilis of the Kazakhstan Parliament and the Agreement on Cooperation between the Ministry of Culture of Bulgaria and the Ministry of Culture and Sport of Kazakhstan. Alongside, the parties agreed on holding the 4th meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission for Trade and Economic Cooperation in Astana. In addition, Mrs. Tsetska Tsacheva participated in inauguration of the Bulgaria-Kazakhstan Chamber of Commerce in Astana which is imposed great hopes on boosting trade and economic relations between the two states.
If you don’t mind, I would like to touch upon one more important component of our bilateral relations. In order to strengthen the contacts between our nations, in particular, between the representatives of science, culture, business, we need to launch direct flights between Bulgaria and Kazakhstan as soon as possible. We could sign the bilateral agreement on air communication, like the agreement between Kazakhstan and Luxembourg.
What do you find interesting about Kazakhstan? In what spheres can Kazakhstan apply Bulgarian experience?
Kazakhstan and Bulgaria share common historical roots. We feel mutual sympathy and respect to each other and it is extremely important for the future of our bilateral relations. In Bulgaria we know that your people are wonderful and hard-working who strive to build a strong and an independent country and are guided by the spirit of mutual respect and tolerance of nations. This year you marked the 550th anniversary of the Kazakh Khanate and consolidation of your multinational state. Kazakhstan has overcome many obstacles and problems, but it could preserve its statehood and worthily respond to the challenges of time and history.
In this view, I can say, that our countries have much in common in history. After you declared your independence in 1991, Kazakhstan headed by Leader of the Nation Nursultan Nazarbayev, whom I personally respect, has achieved remarkable results in all spheres. And I wish you new achievements in future.
As for the spheres of interaction… there are many promising fields, such as tourism, agriculture, pharmacy, machinery, technology etc.
A very promising area of future cooperation can be IT. Bulgaria has been implementing a large-scale program in IT due to which more than 50 thousand people are provided with jobs. The leading IT companies, like Hewlett Packard and Google have their logistics centres in Bulgaria and are actively working on our market. Bulgaria’s IT experts are in high demand across the world.
Of course, Kazakhstan can use the experience accumulated by Bulgaria in agriculture and tourism. In recent years our country has hugely invested in development of small and medium farms the number of which exceeds 200,000. These enterprises receive target governmental subsidies and their products fully meet the world standards. Leading global companies express their interest and readiness to invest in farming and stockbreeding in Bulgaria through the establishment of joint ventures in order to export their products to the European and world markets. Similar projects might be implemented in Kazakhstan too – Bulgaria is ready to provide the best conditions for joint ventures establishment, including provision of land plots and funds from the EU reserves. In addition, Bulgaria has vast experience in processing and conservation of fruits and vegetables. It can build modern factories in Kazakhstan. Kazakh Minister of Agriculture is expected to pay a visit to our country in spring 2016 to discuss the prospects of intensification and expansion of cooperation in this sector with his Bulgarian colleague.
As for tourism, this is a particularly prospective area. More than 10,000 Kazakhstanis visited Bulgaria for tourism purpose last year. Our country can also offer other entertainment opportunities, such as spa-centres and medical tourism. By the way, Bulgaria has rich mineral water reserves.
In turn, more and more Bulgarian people visit Kazakhstan, the country covering the area of 2.7 mln square kilometers and offers really attractive tours.
I hope that optimal usage of the potential of the Kazakh-Bulgarian all-round cooperation will help your country to achieve the main goal of the Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy – to join the club of 30 most developed countries of the world – ahead of schedule.
Thank you for the conversation!