Kazakh, German Officials Discuss Ukraine, Bilateral Cooperation in Astana

ASTANA – Kazakh Minister of Foreign Affairs Erlan Idrissov met Feb. 18 with the German envoy for its upcoming chairmanship in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2016, and the supervisor at the German Foreign Ministry for cooperation with the Russian Federation, Central Asia and Eastern Partnership countries Bundestag Deputy Gernot Erler.

The two sides discussed the situation in and around Ukraine and issues of bilateral cooperation, topical issues on the international agenda, as well as Kazakhstan’s interaction with the OSCE.

Idrissov noted regular contacts between President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Chancellor Angela Merkel. He underlined that Kazakhstan fully supports Merkel’s efforts at resolving the Ukraine crisis. “The President and the Kazakh Foreign Ministry are closely monitoring the situation. Our countries have the same position about it. The crisis should be resolved solely by peaceful means and there is no alternative,” said Idrissov.

“We highly appreciate the personal efforts of President Nazarbayev and count on the support of Kazakhstan in resolving the conflict. We also believe that the crisis should be resolved only by political means. This issue cannot have a military solution,” Erler said, as quoted in the press release by the Kazakh foreign ministry.

Idrissov also expressed satisfaction with the high level of bilateral cooperation between Kazakhstan and Germany and noted the fruitful visit of German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to the city at the end of last year. “Germany is one of the largest trading partners for Kazakhstan. The intensive work is done by the Kazakh-German Intergovernmental Working Group on Trade and Economic Cooperation and Kazakh-German Business Council for Strategic Cooperation. We intend to widely deepen our cooperation,” he said.

During the discussion of economic relations between the two countries, Idrissov invited German companies to take an active part in implementing the Nurly Zhol programme,which is oriented for Kazakhstan to join the 30 most-developed countries in the world. It includes the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs, new industries, modernisation of infrastructure, construction of millions of square metres of housing and honouring all social obligations of the population. The Kazakh minister also expressed hope for German participation in the international exhibition EXPO 2017 that will be held in the capital.

In turn, the Bundestag deputy emphasised that Kazakhstan is very attractive for German investors and businessmen. “I was a chair of the German-Kazakh community in Germany, which is why I know many successful stories of holding ajoint business. We are also interested in further strengthening cooperation in the fields of economy, trade and investment,” Erler said.

While discussing the issues of cooperation between Kazakhstan and the OSCE, Idrissov congratulated Erler on Germany’s election to chair the organisation in 2016. In addition, Idrissov drew Erler’s attention to the proposal of the Kazakh President to develop a conceptually-new treaty similar to the Helsinki Act of 1975.

“An important issues for today is about restoring confidence. At the OSCE summit in 2010 in Astana, participating states supported our initiative to create a common and indivisible Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian Security Community. This is a new dimension of security; we need to develop cooperation with a positive result for all,” Idrissov said.

Erler noted that lack of trust is a major challenge for global security. In this regard, he stressed the importance of establishing a dialogue between the European Union (EU) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

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