ASTANA – Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov and his Venezuelan counterpart Delcy Rodriguez signed a memorandum on political consultations Jan. 16 during the latter’s first visit to Kazakhstan.
“We are new partners so we have made plans to deepen our relations and signed a memorandum on political consultations between the two countries. Kazakhstan and Venezuela are actively cooperating on a multilateral basis. In particular, we are grateful for the support of our candidacy for [non-permanent membership on] the UN Security Council for 2017-18 and the EXPO 2017 exhibition,” stated Idrissov at joint news briefing with Rodriguez after their talks, adding that Venezuela secured a coveted seat on the Security Council last year.
Idrissov highlighted a number of factors which unite the two nations despite the 12,000 kilometre distance between them. First, he emphasised the commitment of Kazakhstan and Venezuela to integration-based approaches to international relations.
“Kazakhstan and Venezuela are active advocates of an integration-focused approach. Venezuela is a member of many integration associations in Latin America. Kazakhstan participates in integration associations in Eurasia. It is an additional opportunity for deepening our economic and investment cooperation. In particular, the establishment and entry into force of the Eurasian Economic Union provides such additional opportunity,” stated Idrissov. He called for Venezuela to use Kazakhstan as a springboard for further entry into the Eurasian Economic Union and Central Asian markets.
The Kazakh minister stressed that both countries are oil and gas producing ones, with Venezuela being a member of OPEC. He announced that the governmental delegation of Venezuela, which included the Venezuelan Minister of Oil, was to hold talks with the head of the Kazakh Ministry of Energy and meet with the Prime Minister on the same day.
Idrissov briefed Rodriguez on the future plans of the state in the framework of implementing the Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy and Nurly Zhol, the new economic policy, both aimed at helping Kazakhstan enter the 30 most-developed countries in the world.
Referring to the great potential of bilateral cooperation, Idrissov commended the work in recent years to enhance bilateral cooperation. While Kazakhstan and Venezuela established relations on May 8, 1996, the Venezuelan diplomatic mission in the Kazakh capital was not opened until June 18, 2012.
“In this respect, we highly appreciate the decision of Venezuela to open its diplomatic mission in Kazakhstan in 2012. We also invite Venezuela to open a full-fledged embassy in Astana, which would give additional impetus to the development of cooperation, especially in the trade and economic sphere,” he said.
The parties also discussed issues of bilateral cooperation between Kazakhstan and Venezuela in the fields of economy, trade, investment and energy. The volume of bilateral trade in 2013 totaled $31,600, with exports of $13,600 and imports of $18,000. To advance business cooperation, the parties reviewed organising visits by Venezuelan business representatives to Kazakhstan.
The memorandum on political consultations signed at the end of the meeting is expected to become an additional tool, determining the long-term and mutually-beneficial fields of cooperation.