External news in brief

England’s Prince Harry and his girlfriend, Cressida Bonas visited Kazakhstan for a ski holiday in late March. The couple and friends stayed at a chalet at the Shymbulak Ski Resort near Almaty. Shymbulak, which is part of Kazakhstan’s bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, is partowned by a Kazakh businessman. High-profile visitors are seen as a major coup for the resort. According to the U.K.’s Daily Mirror, Kazakh ski resorts may soon become popular among European skiers.

According to the press service of the Committee of Tourism, the Republic of Fiji plans to open honorary consulates in Astana and Almaty. Chairman of the Committee of Tourism Marat Igaliyev met with Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of Fiji to Kazakhstan Ravindran Robin Nair to discuss bilateral cooperation in tourism. In particular, the parties discussed Fiji’s experience attracting investment for tourism development, solving double taxation issues, tax revisions and the implementation of projects in special tourism areas. The Kazakh side invited representatives of the Fiji National Tourism Administration to take part in the Astana Economic Forum and EXPO 2017. Fiji’s representatives invited the Kazakh delegates to the Asia Pacific Regional Development Forum scheduled for June.

In the near future, residents of Kyzylorda will be able to take direct flights to countries such as Russia, Turkey, China and the United Arab Emerites, e-kyzylorda.gov.kz reported.The construction of a new passenger terminal with a capacity of 150 passengers per hour was planned by the regional administration in 2013. Despite a delayed start on construction, representatives of domestic and foreign companies have shown great interest in opening international flights from and to Kyzylorda, which is the administrative centre of a region that is also home to the Baikonur Cosmodrome. “The feasibility study and the design estimate documentation for the terminal have already been prepared. Presently, the project is undergoing state review,” Acting Director of the Regional Passenger Transportation and RoadsAuthority Bakytbek Zhuparbekov said at a media briefing held at Syr Media. According to preliminary information, the cost of the project is 6.2 billion tenge (US$34.1 million).The project is expected to be completed by the end of next year.

Kazakhstan abstained from voting on the UN General Assembly resolution on Ukraine. There were 58 abstentions on the nonbinding document, which urges countries not to recognise Crimea’s accession to Russia. The final tally was 100-11 for the resolution. The UN website notes that in abstaining from the vote, Kazakhstan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Kairat Abdrakhmanov said his country is home to Kazakhs, Russians, Ukrainians, Tatars, Germans, Poles, Koreans and others who live in peace and harmony. He said it was important to heed the voice of reason and consider all ways to resolve the situation peacefully and that Ukraine’s economic recovery should be a key concern in any action taken. Kazakhstan is interested in a sovereign, stable and independent Ukraine, he said. Unlike UN Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions are advisory and are not binding.

The results of a working visit of a Kazakh delegation to Geneva to present a report on combating racial discrimination were summed up at a March 26 Central Communications Service (CCS) briefing with Senator and Deputy Chairman of the Association of Russian, Slavic and Cossack Organisations of Kazakhstan Anatoly Bashmakov. Bashmakov said the participants of the Geneva meeting expressed gratitude to Kazakhstan’s delegation. “Each delegation had two days to present their national reports. We worked in accordance with procedure and I am proud to say that the meeting participants expressed gratitude to our delegation. They want to send their delegations in Kazakhstan to exchange experience regarding interethnic accord,” he said.

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