External News in Brief

President Nursultan Nazarbayev paid an official visit to China on April 5 and held talks with new President Xi Jinping. They discussed the strategic partnership between the two countries and bilateral cooperation in the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Conference of Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA). President Nazarbayev gave a speech to the Boao Forum for Asia on “Asia Seeking Development for All: Restructuring, Responsibility and Cooperation.”

Ukraine is interested in restoring the direct gas supplies from Kazakhstan it received before 2005, Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov told Kazakhstan’s First Deputy Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev in Kiev on April 2. “We are ready to expand cooperation in the use of transport, in particular of our pipelines. I think Kazakhstan is interested in this as well. It has sufficient oil and gas reserves and it could trade with us not only through Russia, but also directly, the way it did before 2005. This would serve the interests of both countries,” he said. Azarov wrote on his website that the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) free trade zone permitted such an agreement. Azarov also said Ukraine wanted observer status in the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

Rosneft Chairman Igor Sechin has asked Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to make his company the sole coordinator of all Russian oil supplies to Kazakhstan, including oil supplies through Kazakhstan to China. Currently four other companies have those contracts. Sechin said the proposal would generate additional income for the Russian government and that it was already supported by Russia’s Federal Customs Service and approved on the operational level by Transneft and Gazprom Neft. Currently Russia’s Ministry of Energy is the only major government body that opposes the proposal. Russia sends 4 percent of its total oil exports to Kazakhstan. It exported 0.6 million tons of oil to Kazakhstan in February.

Jonathan Powell, former chief of staff of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, gave a lecture at State Management Academy on “Modern Trends in Personnel Management in State Service.” The lecture was attended by senior executives of the Presidential Administration, the State Service Agency, state ministries and regional governors. Powell discussed the difficulty of removing incompetent senior officials. “When we came to power in 1997, there was a high-ranking official in (Britain’s) Ministry of Agriculture who was fully accountable for the outbreak of mad cow disease in the country. Nothing happened when we asked him to resign. We were told that it was impossible to fire him and the best option was to promote him to take him out of this position. Therefore, we had to promote him and even that was too difficult. Finally, we had to pay him 1 million pounds in termination fees. It is very difficult to get rid of such unwanted officials,” he said.

Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov called on Asian countries to cooperate in water resource management and in ensuring food and energy security during his trip to Tajikistan on March 29. Idrissov was attending the 11thmeeting of Foreign Ministers of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD). “According to the United Nations, 1.5 billion people in the world currently have no access to electricity and another 2.4 billion are not provided with fuel,” the foreign minister said. “That is why Kazakhstan chose the Future Energy theme for EXPO 2017 in Astana.” At the ACD, Idrissov met with foreign ministers Ali Akbar Salehi of Iran, Erlan Abdyldayev of Kyrgyzstan, Zalmai Rassoul of Afghanistan and Sheikh Sabah Al-Hamad of Kuwait. The Asia Cooperation Dialogue was established in 2002 and currently includes 32 countries. Kazakhstan views the ACD as a complementary platform for the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) initiated by President Nursultan Nazarbayev in 1992. Kazakhstan coordinates three ACD projects in agriculture, transport and energy.

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