External News in Brief

World powers have proposed holding a new round of talks with Iran over Tehran’s nuclear programme in the week of February 25 in Kazakhstan, a spokesman for EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said. However, Ashton’s team, which co-ordinates diplomatic contacts with Iran on its nuclear programme on behalf of the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain, is still hoping for confirmation of the date and venue from Iran’s negotiating team, the spokesman said. Earlier on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi confirmed the proposal for a new round of talks in Kazakhstan on February 25, but stopped short of pledging Iran;s attendance. “I have good news, I heard yesterday that 5+1 or EU3+3 will be meeting in Kazakhstan on Feb. 25,” Salehi said during a panel discussion at the Munich Security Conference.

Moscow and Astana have signed a deal to establish a regional air defence system. The document was signed on January 30 during a meeting between Kazakh Defence Minister Adilbek Dzhaksybekov and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who paid an official visit to Astana. The agreement between Kazakhstan and Russia will provide a foundation for the security of Kazakhstan’s airspace, as well as the airspace of Russian territory adjacent to its border with its southern neighbour, the Kazakh Defence Ministry said in a statement.

On May 22-24, Kazakhstan will host the 6th Astana Economic Forum (AEF). Nearly 8,500 delegates from 100 countries are expected to attend the forum. The event will cover the most relevant issues of reforming the world monetary system, food safety, tourism development, alternative energy, attraction of investment and etc. The forum will bring together CEOs, leading politicians, journalists, representatives of business elite, famous scientists and Nobel Prize laureates.

Austrian Vice Minister of Economy Christian Schonbauer believes the Kazakhstan 2050 strategy is very important for a systematic preparation for the introduction of new green technologies. At the end of 2012, Vienna hosted the Global South-South Development international conference designed to unite the innovative solutions of developing countries. The Minister of Environmental Protection of Kazakhstan Nurlan Kapparov was one of the participants in the forum, organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. In his speech, he noted the relevance of green development for Kazakhstan as the only alternative to the depletion of ecological systems and mitigation of climate change. The green bridge initiative is aimed at uniting the efforts of different states, international organizations and businesses. European politicians and the heads of international organizations, including UNIDO General Director Kandeh Yumkella, supported the forward-looking solution of Kazakhstan proposing switching to a green economy. He also confirmed their readiness to be partners in the Green Bridge programme.

Prime Minister of Jordan Abdullah Ensour said the new Strategy “Kazakhstan 2050” “in , detail and openly deals with domestic, regional and international issues.” The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan shares the position of Kazakhstan on the issue of nuclear nonproliferation. Jordan appreciates the efforts and initiatives of President Nursultan Nazarbayev to disarm its nuclear arsenal and close the nuclear weapons test site, as well as the initiative to establish a zone free of nuclear weapons under the UN, Prime Minister Ensour said.

Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has approved a draft agreement with Kazakhstan on the use of the so called “northern route” for Soyuz launches from the Kazakhstan-based Baikonur cosmodrome leased out to Russia. The agreement defines rocket drop off zones in the Aktyubinsk and Kostanai oblasts. The Russian side will pay $460,000 a year for the use of the rocket drop zone regardless of the number of Soyuz launches. In 2012, the sides agreed on the use of rocket drop zones along the northern route for three launches. Only two were performed. Three launches have been scheduled for 2013.

Get The Astana Times stories sent directly to you! Sign up via the website or subscribe to our Twitter and Telegram!