External News in Brief
- Kazakhstan and Japan were appointed Feb. 23 as co-chairs of the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) for 2015 – 2017, according to the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs press service. The appointment was made during a CTBT meeting in Vienna and the two countries will chair the ninth conference in late September at the UN General Assembly. Kazakhstan and Japan will chair the conference during a period of significant international events marking the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the 10th anniversary of the Semipalatinsk Treaty, which created a nuclear weapons-free zone in Central Asia, among others. Kazakhstan was used as the centre of Soviet nuclear weapons testing programme in 1949-1991, resulting in radioactive contamination of large areas of land and radiation-related deaths and diseases of more than 1.5 million people. Among the country’s most recent initiatives is The ATOM Project which seeks to generate global popular support for the early entry into force of the CTBT. As of now, around 100,000 people from more than 100 countries signed the project’s online petition to global leaders seeking that goal. CTBT has now been signed by 183 and ratified by 163 countries. For it to enter into force, it needs to be signed and ratified by eight more specific countries – China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States.
- Delegations from Kazakhstan and San Marino held bilateral talks during a meeting in Rome, reported Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs press service. San Marino’s delegation included the country’s secretary of state for industry, craftsmanship and trade and secretary of state for tourism as well as representatives of the secretary of state for trade and transport and the country’s central bank. Kazakhstan’s team was led by Vice Minister of National Economy Timur Zhaksylykov. A statement following the meeting said the sides discussed cooperation in agriculture and industry and reached an agreement to cooperate in tourism and banking. The delegation also attended the seventh session of the Kazakh-Italian intergovernmental working group.
- Kazakh Ambassador to Thailand Marat Yessenbayev met last week with the chairman of the Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council (APRC) and former Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Surakiart Sathirathai to discuss regional security, economic security and developing cooperation between Kazakhstan and the APRC, . Yessenbayev noted Kazakhstan’s current development efforts, including the Nurly Zhol economic stimulus programme and the 2015 anniversaries of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan and the country’s constitution, according to the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs press service. Sathirathai said he welcomed Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s efforts to support peace in Ukraine. The two also discussed cooperation under international law on trans-boundary rivers in Central Asia and within the Asian community. APRC is a regional nongovernmental organisation of more than 24 former leaders of governments in Europe and Asia, including the former ministers of foreign affairs of China, Indonesia, Singapore and other countries and the former presidents and prime ministers of Poland and Italy.
- The Eurasian Economic Commission will receive official statistics on public procurement in 2015 from members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), deputy director of the Department of Competition and Public Procurement Policy Anatoly Filonov said during an online conference via the Belta.by portal. The list of official statistics which authorities are required to provide was approved in late 2014. Filonov added work will also be done to harmonise procurement statistics across the member states, according to Bnews.kz. In 2013, the volume of the EAEU procurement markets was reported as $250.4 billion in Russia, $9.3 billion in Kazakhstan, $5.1 billion in Belarus and $1.2 billion in Armenia. E-procurement is expected to reach 60 percent of the market this year.