External News in Brief

The international seminar for civil servants’ advanced training on the subject of Strategic Planning held at the Academy of Public Administration ended June 14. The seminar was attended by civil servants of central and local executive state agencies. The lecturers were Matthew Stafford, dean of the Federal Executive Institute (FEI), and Rebekka Ayers, senior official of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The seminar ended with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the U.S. Federal Executive Institute. The signing of the memorandum with FEI opens new directions for development of programmes at the Academy of Public Administration. The training and advancement of Kazakhstan’s top civil servants, known as Corps A, is a key component of the country’s most recent civil service system reforms. The recent seminar was one of the first examples of cooperation between the FEI and the Academy. During the seminar, participants received training on the application of the principles of strategic planning, understanding key concepts of the budget process and the application of financial knowledge in the development of budget requests. According to the results of the training, 29 participants were awarded certificates.

On June 14, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization held its annual military exercises in Kazakhstan. It has been reported that the exercise represented a continuation of the trend toward a lessening of the organization’s military importance. The training mission involved a scenario in which forces from SCO member countries crack down on a terrorist group and rescue hostages through ground and aerial operations. “Of course, the scenario is possible. A terrorist is a terrorist. He can be armed with any weapon, so we need to work comprehensively,” said Nurtay Abykayev, chairman of Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee. It appeared that only Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan took part in the exercise, with other SCO member states (China, Russia, Uzbekistan) observing. The SCO did not announce how many soldiers took part. Last year’s exercise included 2,000 troops. “This year, the training is not massive in scale,” Wang Baofu, a professor from China’s People’s Liberation Army’s National Defense University, acknowledged. Wang tied the scenario to what many in Central Asia are concerned about, which would be spillover from Afghanistan: “We know that the situation in Afghanistan is facing a critical point with unclear prospects, as the Taliban and NATO forces are engaging in fierce combat in important locations. Additionally, terrorists inside Afghanistan are operating effectively. All these factors pose threats to Central Asian countries.” Abykayev echoed that concern, saying, “The time is such that after the Afghanistan events, when international forces leave there, these kinds of events can happen on our territory.”

Some Tajik troops, like their Kyrgyz counterparts, will receive free training at the Kazakhstan Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Internal Troops Military Institute. Earlier it was reported that 10 Kyrgyz officers were to graduate from the institute on June 15. Kazakhstan Internal Troops Commander Ruslan Zhaksylykov recently talked with Internal Affairs delegations from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Officials from the three countries, on the basis of earlier agreements on personnel training, signed contracts under which the Kazakhstan MIA school will provide free training to some Kyrgyz and Tajik troops.

On June 13, German car producer Adam Opel AG said it has signed an agreement to build its compact car Corsa in Minsk, Belarus, beginning in 2014. The cars will be manufactured at a production site of the U.K.-Belarus joint venture company UNISON and will be sold in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The agreement, which runs until 2017, gives Opel the option of producing additional models there. “Manufacturing the Corsa in Belarus is consistent with our strategy to build cars where they are sold,” company board member Peter Thom said. The move will also help utilize excess capacity at the Eisenach and Saragossa plants, which will deliver spare parts to Minsk. The Corsa is an important sales generator for Opel, and the company will produce around 7,000 three-door and five-door cars in the first full year of production.