External news in brief

On March 14, the President of Kazakhstan spoke on the phone with Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron. The leaders discussed bilateral cooperation, as well as the implementation of agreements reached during the prime minister’s state visit to Kazakhstan in the summer of 2013. The two sides also discussed the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague and the political situation in Ukraine.

Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey will work together on a joint tourism project, Cities of Common Cultural Heritage, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan announced on March 12. The four countries are members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC). The tourist project was the winner of a contest organised by COMCEC. The project, which is intended to support competitive and sustainable tourism, will study the potential for cultural tourism in the four countries, search for regions with similar heritage and create a tourism product that connects all four countries. It will run from April to September of this year and will be funded by a grant from the Development Bank of Turkey with the financial support of Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

In a statement on the referendum in Crimea on March 16, Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry reiterated the country’s commitment to international law and the United Nations Charter. It also called the referendum “a free expression of the will” of the population of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and said it had “understanding” for the Russian Federation’s position. “We support peaceful ways of settling the crisis in Ukraine and believe it should be done by means of negotiations under the aegis of the United Nations and other reputable international organisations,” the statement concluded.

On March 11 in New York, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Nations Kairat Abdrakhmanov and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Seychelles to the United Nations Marie-Louise Potter signed a communiqué establishing diplomatic relations between the two states. During the signing ceremony, the sides exchanged views on prospective bilateral cooperation and important United Nations issues that are significant to Kazakhstan and the Seychelles. The Seychelles was one of the first states of the African region to support Astana’s candidacy to host the international specialised exhibition EXPO 2017.

Kazakhstan has begun to export processed wool to Italy, the News-Kazakhstan information agency reported on March 19. “The first 18 of 72 tonnes of semi-finished sheep wool products were sent to Italy from the Zhambyl region,” according to a statement by KazAgroProduct, a subsidiary of KazAgro National Holding. KazAgroProduct signed a contract to supply the Italian company Vicotex with its products and plans to sign additional contracts providing for the supply of no less than 140 tonnes of their processed wool. The company’s plans do not exclude the possibility of exporting up to 500 tonnes of processed wool per year. The current contract is for $598,000. “The devaluation conducted by the National Bank of Kazakhstan in February created even more favourable conditions for producers,” the Kazakh company said. The two companies also recently agreed to establish long-term cooperation. “The products supplied by Kazakhstan will be used for manufacturing products by such leading European brands as Benetton, Zara, Gruppo Marzotto, H&M, Fratelli Piacenza S.P.A., Lanerossi, Marchi e Fildi SpA,” the statement reads. The export of wool to Customs Union member states is also being considered. The production process is controlled by Italian specialists, which has increased the quality of the product and brought it in line with international standards.

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