External News in Brief

Rapil Zhoshybayev, executive secretary of the Foreign Ministry and commissioner in charge of EXPO 2017, met with Chinese Deputy Foreign Ministers Cheng Guoping and Si Hanshen, director of the Administrative Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Li Chao during his working visit to Beijing on March 18-19. The two sides discussed increased bilateral cooperation and consular work, improving visa procedures and expanding tourism and business relations. Zhoshybayev thanked China for supporting Astana’s candidacy to host EXPO 2017 and discussed joint preparations for it.

Kazakhstan and Russia are planning to establish joint enterprises to modernise and maintain their military equipment, Kazakhstan’s Deputy Defence Minister Sergey Gromov told the Majilis plenary session on March 20. The 2013-15 draft programme will create a plant to repair engines for military aircraft at the West Kazakhstan Engineering Company in Uralsk and set up a new Aviation Technical Centre in Astana. Russian companies will participate in the venture which will cover the repair of military helicopters. The projects will be carried out under an agreement on Kazakh-Russian military-technical cooperation signed at Orenburg on Sept. 11, 2009.

President Nazarbayev has confirmed that he will take part in the 12th session of the Boao Forum for Asia. This will take place in China April 6-8, 2013 on the topic of “Asia Seeking Development for all: Restructuring, Responsibility and Cooperation”. Kazakhstan was one of the 28 signatories of the founding document of the Forum, which is aimed at improving economic integration and mutual development of the Asian states.

Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov met Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb during his official visit to Finland on March 17-19. Parties discussed the bilateral cooperation and their development prospects in context of the upcoming on state visit of Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland to Kazakhstan, on April 16-18. The Ministers also exchanged their views on cooperation within the international organizations and discussed the relevant issues of the international relations. Stubb enthusiastically reacted to the strategic plans of Kazakhstan to develop “green economy” and renewable energy sources. Prospects of this cooperation are expected to get raised during the forthcoming President Sauli Niinistö’s visit to Kazakhstan, who will be accompanied by heads of the largest companies in Finland.

According to the United Nations Human Development Index 2012, Kazakhstan ranked 69th out of 187 countries and territories listed. Most former Soviet republics joined the group of countries with “high human development”. These include Estonia (33rd place), Lithuania (41st), Latvia (44th), Belarus (50th) Russia (55th), Kazakhstan (69th), Georgia (72nd), Ukraine (78th), Azerbaijan (82nd) and Armenia (87th). Countries with “medium level of development” include Turkmenistan (102nd), Moldova (113th), Uzbekistan (114th), as well as Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which have jointly occupied the 125th position.The first three countries in the ranking are Norway, Australia and the USA, whereas Chad, Mozambique and Niger are the bottom three. Human Development Index (HDI) is a comprehensive measure of literacy, education, expectancy and quality of life, by which the country can be rated as “developed” or “developing”.

Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov paid an official visit to Norway on his tour of Northern Europe on March 21. The foreign minister said Kazakhstan seeks to attract more environmentally clean technologies to develop its green economy and prepare for EXPO 2017. Idrissov met Norwegian Petroleum and Energy Minister Ola Borten Moe and discussed cooperation on oil and gas, hydroelectric energy and biofuels. Some 97 percent of Norway’s electric power is produced from hydropower and biofuel. Idrissov also met Marit Nybakk, Vice President of the Storting, the Norwegian Parliament and discussed inter-parliamentary relations nuclear non-proliferation and regional cooperation.