The Astana Times recently interviewed Kazakh Ambassador to Brazil Bakytzhan Ordabayev who also represents the country in Argentina and Chile.
How do you assess the current status of bilateral relations between Kazakhstan and Brazil and what has been achieved since the opening of the first Kazakh embassy in Latin America?
In recent years, Kazakh-Brazilian relations have been developing quite dynamically. Kazakhstan and Brazil have similar positions on major international problems and events. Significant efforts by the national leaderships of our countries are equally purposed for promoting economic development of the states and for international economic and humanitarian cooperation targets.
The visit by Kazakh Minister of Foreign Affairs Erlan Idrissov to Brazil on Oct. 2-3, 2013 gave a significant impulse to bilateral relations. During the visit, both sides signed several important documents, such as a joint statement reflecting bilateral issues and the positions of the two countries on global and international issues, a memorandum on bilateral political, economic, trade and investment dialogue and a memorandum on cooperation in the field of sports, as well as the agreement on a visa-free regime for holders of ordinary passports of both countries.
A historical event in the framework of his visit to Brasilia was the official opening ceremony of the first Kazakh embassy in Brazil, which is also the first Kazakh embassy in Latin America.
Therefore, Kazakh-Brazilian relations and the further development of bilateral cooperation can safely be called a success.
Since its opening, the embassy of Kazakhstan to Brazil has organised a variety of activities on different levels, as well as more than 80 meetings and bilateral negotiations at various levels, both in the capital of Brasilia as well as in the regions of the country.
Particularly, on a regular basis the embassy organises special briefings and roundtables on the annual message of the President and on International Day Against Nuclear Tests, as well as on other important events.
One of those we can mention is the briefing on the occasion of the signing of the treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
The Brazilian audience paid attention to the fact that the union offers great opportunities for the Brazilian business community, providing perspectives and access to a market that has population of more than 170 million. Guests of the event noted that there is a unique opportunity to establish close economic relations between the EEU and MERCOSUR, which is one of the major economic alliances in Latin America.
Brazilian business people also noted the special importance of the Eurasian Economic Union to the southern hemisphere. They offered an idea of signing the memorandum of cooperation among the embassies of Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus in Brazil and the Chamber of Commerce of San Paulo aimed at creating the Chamber of Commerce Brazil plus EEU, which will strengthen and develop economic and cultural relations among our countries. Nowadays, we are completing the preparation works on the way to signing this memorandum.
The opening of our embassy in Brazil, as well as our accreditation to Argentina and Chile, certainly gave dynamism to the development of bilateral cooperation with these countries.
As a successful event for the further promotion of trade cooperation between Kazakhstan and Argentina, we can also mention the inauguration of the Kazakh-Argentine Chamber of Commerce in August 2014, the office of which has been opened in a prestigious district of the Argentine capital.
Through the chamber, we intend to develop our business cooperation between Kazakhstan and Argentina by signing bilateral agreements between the chamber and business partners in both countries. In addition, the chamber will hold a series of activities, both in Kazakhstan and in Argentina, as a way to search new markets on commercial lines.
I want to also point out the work that has been undertaken for the liberalisation of the visa regime between the two countries. In November, citizens of both countries will be able to make short trips without visas, which will also greatly contribute to the further development of bilateral relations.
How do the Latin American countries view Kazakhstan’s intention to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2017-2018?
One of the main goals in the implementation of the Foreign Policy Conceptof Kazakhstan for 2014-2020 is the promotion of the candidacy of our country to the non-permanent seat in UN Security Council for 2017-2018 years.
In this regard, we actively promote the important issues of the current diplomacy of Kazakhstan, which bring us their benefits. I would like to emphasise that we have received and continue receiving positive feedback on this important initiative. Most of the Latin American countries give positive views and express support.
During special meetings and discussions with partners in the region, we are trying to inform them in detail about the vision and approaches of Kazakhstan that prompted our candidacy fora non-permanent member of the Security Council. Particularly, we voice Kazakhstan’s position on UN reform and expansion of the UN Security Council by increasing the number of permanent and non-permanent members.
Additionally, our colleagues from these countries are aware that Kazakhstan has never been a member of the UN Security Council, but we have solid experience in the most demanding and complex areas of the international agenda.
The deep involvement of our country in a variety of regional and global processes provides a unique opportunity of ownership of diverse information and various approaches to solving international security problems faced by the UN Security Council. Furthermore, I want to point out that most Latin American countries have already been non-permanent members of the UN Security Council many times.
Two seats as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council are reserved for Latin American countries. These seats are now occupied by Argentina and Chile.
The Latin American countries also show very positive interest in Astana EXPO 2017.
Are political and social circles and the media interested in events in Kazakhstan?
Sure, especially in some activities undertaken by the embassy I noted above. Additionally, we can mention the special briefing that the embassy organised on Jan. 22, 2014 concerning the address of President Nursultan Nazarbayev to the people of Kazakhstan, “Kazakhstan’s Way 2050.”
Participation in the event by government officials and diplomatic missions, as well as social and political activists, says that while Kazakhstan is so geographically distant from Brazil, citizens of Brazil are interested in events that are happening in our country.
The participants in the briefing showed keen interest in the message lines, like economy, energy, innovation and science. Many of them noted the relevance and timeliness of its tasks and the specific principles of achieving them, as well as emphasising the ambitious task of entering the Republic of Kazakhstan in the top 30 most-developed countries.
In addition, during the briefing, participants praised the achievements of Kazakhstan in its short period of independence, noting that Kazakhstan is one of the leading countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), showing an example of a balanced and forward-looking approach in the implementation of political and economic reforms. Particularly, many of them pointed out the functioning of the EEU in the future, which opens up great opportunities for Brazilian entrepreneurs in expanding business and trade relations with Kazakhstan and its identified partners.
I also want to emphasise that Brazilian radio and television channels are increasingly beginning to cover events related to Kazakhstan.
In particular, concerts of People’s Artist of Kazakhstan Aiman Mussakhodzhayeva that have been conducted in the best theaters of Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro have received a very wide response in the Brazilian media.
In addition, with the assistance of our embassy the main Brazilian TV channel TV Globo, which is the most-popular Portuguese speaking telecommunications company in Brazil, transmitted a one-hour special report on Kazakhstan in October where the Brazilian TV audience met Kazakhstan and its people, its culture and traditions, regions and nature. This year, Brazilian reporters traveled to Kazakh cities for the filming of the documentary and viewers became acquainted with the architecture of the major cities. The audience had the opportunity to see the rich natural landscape of our country, the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the problem of the Aral Sea, sports and many other things. In the near future, we are planning to transmit a similar report on the famous TV channel TV Supren.