ASTANA – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev reaffirmed their two countries’ growing economic and cooperative relationship during the Nov. 7 fourth Supreme Interstate Council meeting in Astana.
“The Council was established seven years ago. Through all these years, it has demonstrated activism as the supreme body helpful in making important policy decisions and addressing the emerging problems between the two countries. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are interacting in international organisations, integration associations, together countering modern challenges and threats, terrorism and extremism,” Nazarbayev said during the meeting which took place as part of the state visit by the leader of the neighbouring country.
Nazarbayev noted that since the previous meeting in 2012 many events have taken place in Bishkek and that bilateral trade relations have shown an upward tendency. Over the past two years, the turnover has stably exceeded $1 billion. In the first eight months of this year, it saw a 5.2 percent increase despite difficulties in the region.
Nazarbayev stated that about 86 percent of the electricity, 90 percent of dairy products and 56 percent of the fruits and vegetables that Kyrgyzstan exports go to Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan, on the other hand, provides nearly 100 percent of Kyrgyzstan’s needs for wheat, 97 percent for flour, 70 percent for minerals and 53 percent of its non-organic chemicals. Since independence, Kazakh businesses have invested $1 billion in the Kyrgyz economy.
Nazarbayev also reiterated Kazakhstan’s readiness to support Kyrgyzstan, including as far as its current efforts to join the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia and the Common Economic Space of the same three countries. Both unification initiatives are precursors to the fledgling Eurasian Economic Union, which is set to enter into effect on Jan. 1, 2015.
“Kazakhstan is the largest trade partner for Kyrgyzstan. Works are ongoing on the launch of a Kazakhstan-Kyrgyz Fund of Direct Investments. Kazakhstan is financing the construction of two schools in the north and south of Kyrgyzstan,” Nazarbayev said at a joint press briefing after the talks.
As announced at the press briefing, Kazakhstan will provide assistance to Kyrgyzstan in supplying 1.4 billion kilowatts per hour of electricity next year. At the same time, Kyrgyzstan will ensure steady supplies of water for vegetation purposes during the growing season.
“Kazakhs and Kyrgyz have been brotherly nations for centuries. We are closely observing developments in Kyrgyzstan. I believe that your visit and documents signed today are evidence of the high level of relations between our countries,” Nazarbayev said.
Nazarbayev, pointing to the difficult geopolitical situation in the world, also said: “The events in Afghanistan and Syria, disputes between Russia and the West are affecting our countries. Jointly, we must resolve all the issues that face us today.”
The head of state awarded Atambayev the order of Dostyk (Friendship) of first degree for his contribution to strengthening the friendship and mutual understanding between the two countries.
“I signed a decree on presenting you the highest award for foreign leaders, the Order of Dostyk of Kazakhstan for your great contribution to securing friendship and understanding between our two countries and brotherhood between Kazakhs and Kyrgyz. Hopefully, this will serve to further the trust between our two countries. I congratulate you. We believe that Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are close nations by spirit, history, religion, language, culture and mentality,” Nazarbayev said.
In turn, the Kyrgyz president thanked Nazarbayev for the award and Kazakhstan’s willingness to assist Kyrgyzstan in resolving various problems.
“I would like to wholeheartedly thank you for the award and for the support that you have always rendered to the Kyrgyz people and to me personally. Visiting you is always a joyous event because on every meeting I learn something from you. And of course, I will not hide that many of the problematic issues I resolve with your support. This time, there is a difficult situation again; we have serious energy problems. All the people of Kyrgyzstan are grateful that you have decided to assist us in this matter, as in many others,” Atambayev said.