UST-KAMENOGORSK – Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov hosted Aug. 6 his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in one of the leading industrial centres of Kazakhstan to discuss bilateral cooperation and interaction within the Eurasian Economic Council (EEC).
On the first day of his two-day trip, the Russian Foreign Minister visited a number of enterprises, including Asia Auto and Ulba Metallurgical Plant of Kazatomprom, the national atomic company. He became acquainted with the history of the nuclear fuel component plant and a project for the production of solar photovoltaic modules that are manufactured in Kazakhstan. Lavrov also visited the Consulate General of Russia and the Cathedral of St. Andrew.
The two foreign ministers addressed bilateral ties in the commercial, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres, along with cooperation in the framework of international institutions, unions and relevant international issues.
During their meeting, Idrissov and Lavrov also exchanged views on aspects of stability and security in Central Asia, Ukraine and the Middle East.
Special attention was paid to the practical steps necessary to enhance cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia within the framework of inter-regional and cross-border cooperation, interaction in the industrial, energy, nuclear and space areas and monitoring the progress of the Joint Action Plan for 2013-2015.
Speaking of the upcoming fourth summit of the Caspian Sea countries in Astrakhan at the end of September 2014, the sides mainly focused on the issues related to the legal status of the sea. They also focused on the cross-border contacts in the oil and gas sphere in light of the 11th forum of interregional cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan to be held in Atyrau with the participation of two presidents.
The foreign ministers also discussed cooperation within the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space (CIS) and emphasised the significance of the agreement on the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) signed in Astana in May by the heads of Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus.
Moreover, Idrissov and Lavrov addressed issues of cooperation within CIS and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) and agreed to coordinate their activities in such international organisations as the UN, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).
The sides stated both countries have similar positions on key international and regional issues and confirmed their intent to continue cooperation to ensure security at the regional, continental and international levels.
Addressing the media after the meeting, the two ministers reaffirmed their adherence to partnership, which will remain one of the foreign policy priorities for both countries.
“Given the significance of the cross-border cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia, which accounts for about 70 percent of the bilateral turnover, the visit to one of the largest industrial centres of Kazakhstan (Ust-Kamenogorsk) is of symbolic nature. This visit gave the opportunity to see the results of the hard work of the two countries to further strengthen their relations in trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres,” Idrissov stressed following the meeting.
“We hope the organisation of mutual visits in the regions of our countries will become a good tradition,” he added.
Idrissov also stressed that the process of Armenia’s and Kyrgyzstan’s accession to the EEU was well on its way and noted that the issue will be further revised during presidential meetings in Minsk in October 2014. According to Idrissov, Armenia’s accession was further advanced, while Kyrgyzstan was not far behind, moving along the so-called road map for that country’s accession to the Eurasian integration processes.
For his part, Lavrov said the Eastern Kazakhstan region is a reliable and fastest-growing partner of Russia, in particular within the framework of the International Coordinating Council. He noted “Our Common Home, Altai,” programme which involves Altai Krai and the Altai Republic of Russia, the Eastern Kazakhstan region, Xinjiang-Uigur autonomous region of China and Bayan-Ulgi and Khovd Aimaks (regions) of Mongolia.
“It is true there is a huge potential for modern and efficient development, which I have seen with my own eyes during a visit to the region’s enterprises, Asia Auto and the Ulba Metallurgical Plant of Kazatomprom. I have a strong impression that people here cherish tradition and look into the future with confidence and this future primarily has to do with the development of our bilateral cooperation. I am convinced that our partnership will grow stronger,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov also had to face numerous questions from reporters regarding eastern Ukraine and specifically stressed the dire humanitarian situation there as well as the flow of refugees to neighbouring regions in Russia.
On the second day of his visit, Idrissov and Lavrov had informal meetings and made a sightseeing tour of the Eastern Kazakhstan region.