External news in brief

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrissov met with his counterpart from Tajikistan Sirodjidin Aslov on June 16 in Astana to discuss the future of Kazakh-Tajik cooperation and current issues in regional and international cooperation. Following the talks, they signed a cooperation plan between the foreign ministries of the two countries for 2014-2015. Their priority areas of bilateral cooperation are interaction in mining, nonferrous metallurgy, machinery, the energy sector, light industry, transport and communications, as well as agriculture. The Kazakh minister noted Tajikistan’s successful chairmanship in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and expressed its gratitude to Tajikistan for its support of Kazakhstan’s candidacy for non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council for 2017-2018.

The Kazakhstan Mazhilis (lower chamber of Parliament) has approved an agreement between Kazakhstan and Italy allowing the transit of Italian military equipment and personnel through Kazakhstan, Trend.az reported. The Committee on International Relations, Defence and Security has also concluded that Italian aircraft may be given permission by Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to fly along air routes specified in the agreement. Kazakhstan will provide air navigation services to transiting aircraft and air crews will be obligated to comply strictly with orders given by Kazakhstan air traffic control. Military equipment and personnel will be subject to border and customs controls as well as any other controls deemed necessary by Kazakhstan law.

The foreign ministers of France and Kazakhstan discussed the possibility of opening direct flights to enhance business contacts, attract investment and develop tourism during their meeting in Paris on June 10. Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrissov also brought up the subject of a more relaxed visa regime, given the number of Kazakhstan nationals now traveling to Europe. “Every year, more than 100,000 Kazakhstan citizens visit European countries. The current visa regime between Kazakhstan and the EU does not correspond with the existing realities and goals of our political and economic dialogue,” he said. Kazakhstan announced on June 12 that it would waive visa requirements for short visits by citizens of 10 countries, including France. France is a signatory to the Schengen agreement, which established a pan-European visa regime.

The famous ancient Silk Road and China’s Grand Canal, the world’s longest artificial waterway, were added to the list of World Heritage Sites on June 22. Jointly submitted by China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, the application for adding part of the Silk Road, which served as a corridor for trade and cultural exchanges between Asia and Europe dating back 2,000 years to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) list was approved by the World Heritage Committee at a session in the Qatari capital. The application consists of 33 historical sites along the ancient trade route, including 22 in China, eight in Kazakhstan and three in Kyrgyzstan. They range from urban palaces and pagodas to ruins in remote, inaccessible deserts.

A congratulatory telegramme to King Felipe VI on the occasion of his accession to the throne in Spain was sent by President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan on June 20. In his message, President Nazarbayev noted that full and mutual cooperation between Kazakhstan and Spain was allowed to form thanks to the balanced policy of his father  King Juan Carlos I. “Today, Spain is considered a reliable European friend and strategic regional partner of Kazakhstan. I hope that with your support, the deepening comprehensive cooperation between Kazakhstan and Spain will be continued,” the telegramme stated. The President also expressed confidence that the existing relations between the two countries will be further strengthened. He invited the King of Spain to visit Kazakhstan on a state visit. In conclusion, Nazarbayev wished King Felipe VI inexhaustible energy and significant successes and wellbeing to the friendly people of Spain.

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