Putin Comes to Astana to Discuss Ties, Integration

ASTANA – Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Astana on July 7 to discuss with his counterpart bilateral relations and Eurasian integration processes. He also used the occasion to wish President Nursultan Nazarbayev, whose birthday had come the day before, a happy birthday.

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President Vladimir Putin flew into Astana on July 7 for a short but warm visit.

“The relationship between our two countries and peoples is developing in a dynamic way, as evidenced by the intensity of our summits and our regular exchange of views,” Nazarbayev told Putin. “Economic and political relations are saturated; the processes within the Customs Union, the Common Economic Space and the Eurasian Economic Union are developing. Next autumn, a meeting of the Interregional Cooperation Forum is to be held in Yekaterinburg, in the framework of which, perhaps, the previously prepared changes to the basic treaty of good-neighbourliness and alliance between the countries will be introduced. All this suggests that there are no unsolvable problems in the interaction between our countries. I am glad that you are in Astana at this time when we are celebrating its 15th anniversary.”

“You have done much for Kazakhstan and I am sure you will do more. Capital Day is your day, too, because it’s your city,” Putin told his host. “I know how you treat [the city]: with feeling and warmth, as you would a child.”

“We are happy for Kazakhstan and Astana residents, who are certainly fortunate to live in such a fast-growing city. On bilateral relations, we discuss the whole range of issues, including our cooperation in space. Unfortunately, in this area, unplanned events can occur. Issues on the agenda will be solved. We also have a separate joint work programme,” Putin said indirectly referring to the July 2 crash of Russian Proton-M booster rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in south-eastern Kazakhstan.

“What is extremely important is the basic agreement and integration issues. You are, in fact, the founding father of our Customs Union; it was your idea, and we are continuously developing it,” the Russian president noted. “We are now feeling its impact, and this is particularly important in the context of the turbulent processes in the world economy. The integrative nature of the relationship can smooth the rough challenges in the global economy that affect us.”

The heads of state discussed current international issues, including the situation in Afghanistan in light of the planned withdrawal of coalition troops in the coming year.

President Nazarbayev noted that events in Egypt and Syria are indicative of the volatility of the situations there and in other countries.

“Syria is already involved in a civil war. Sadly, it seems that Egypt is moving in this direction. We would like to see the Egyptian people escape this possible adverse development of the situation,” Putin added.