External news in brief

Chairman of the Mazhilis of the Parliament of Kazakhstan Nurlan Nigmatulin visited Azerbaijan on Feb. 19-21 to promote parliamentary ties and the cooperation between the two countries generally. He met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Feb. 20 who praised bilateral relations and said the two Turkic-speaking countries were actively cooperating both in the bilateral format and in international organisations. Nigmatulin also met Parliamentary Speaker Ogtay Asadov and discussed promoting Kazakhstan-Azerbaijan interparliamentary ties. “The friendship relations between our countries have an ancient history. The legislative bodies also make a significant contribution to the development of bilateral relations,” Nirgmatulin said ahead of his visit. Both countries are Caspian littoral states and have a common maritime border. About 130,000 ethnic Azerbaijanis live in Kazakhstan now. More than 90 bilateral agreements are in place now. More than 700 enterprises with Azerbaijani capital work in Kazakhstan, while 35 Kazakh-owned companies work in Azerbaijan.

A delegation from Kazakhstan headed by Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Science Aliya Galimova visited Cuba on Feb. 10-14. The Kazakhstan-Cuba talks resulted in the signing of a memorandum between the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Higher Education of the Republic of Cuba on cooperation in education. Cuba has become the first country in Latin America to conclude such an agreement with Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Education. During the stay in Havana, the Kazakhstan delegation also participated in the ninth International Congress on Higher Education, “University 2014.” More than 2,900 people from 56 countries participated in the congress. Galimova addressed the plenary session and held bilateral meetings with First Deputy Chairman of the Council of State of Cuba Miguel Diaz-Canel and with the heads of delegations taking part in the congress, including the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassiliou; Deputy Director General of UNESCO for Education Qian Tang; Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology of the Dominican Republic Rafael Gonzalez and others. Rectors of some of Kazakhstan’ universities who were part of the delegation  also met with the leadership of the University of Havana and other leading universities in Cuba. As a result, the Aktobe State University and the Higher Polytechnic Institute of Cuba signed a protocol of intent to establish mutually beneficial cooperation, in particular in the study and teaching of Kazakh, Russian and Spanish languages through the exchange of teachers and students.

Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) Askar Shakirov and Representative of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Kazakhstan Jun Kukita signed a memorandum of understanding in the field of protecting and promoting children’s rights in Kazakhstan  on Feb. 18 in Astana. According to the ombudsman’s press service, the parties summed up the fruitful cooperation that has developed in recent years between the Commissioner for Human Rights and UNICEF. On a systematic basis, with the involvement of international experts, research on violence against children in residential institutions and secondary schools was conducted, a manual for monitoring children’s institutions was elaborated and trainings and seminars were held. The memorandum for 2014-2015 was concluded in order to implement international human rights treaties and the state-of-the-nation address. According to the signed document, the sides will continue cooperating in such areas as improving the child-friendly system of justice, improving the access of vulnerable groups of children and young people to human rights mechanisms and the independent monitoring of children’s institutions.

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