Kazakhstan Allocates 1 Million Euros for Chernobyl Shelter

ASTANA – The sum of Kazakhstan’s allocation for the Shelter project at the former Chernobyl nuclear power station will be 1 million euros, according to a Kazakh Foreign Ministry’s press release. The Central Asian nation’s Minister of Economic Integration Zhanar Aitzhanova made the announcement following President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s commitment from 2011, when she spoke at the International Support for Ukraine Conference on April 28.

Kazakhstan is also preparing a new package of humanitarian aid for the Ukraine, she added, in addition to the earlier delivery of more than $400,000 worth of food and goods for the needs of people hit by the military conflict in the country’s east.

The high-ranking representatives of international community, including [United Nations, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and European Union] institutions and member states, and G7 countries, as well as of international organisations, the global investment and business community, and civil society discussed the status of reforms in Ukraine and the county’s programme of stimulating socioeconomic development in the conflict-hit country, according to the forum’s communiqué.

Among other messages to the international community that came through the forum, the Ukraine’s government speakers reported on efforts seeking to “strengthen good governance and combat corruption, and prepare the state sector for privatisation …economic deregulation and the implementation of EU technical standards … energy independence through the diversification of energy supplies and increased energy efficiency … [and] reforming the system of coordination and absorption of external technical and financial assistance,” as well as the issues related to humanitarian consequences of the conflict in East Ukraine. Official Kyiv’s goal was to demonstrate that “it has a unified political will for necessary reforms and is showing this resolve on a daily and measurable basis,” according to Ukrainian government speakers.

Aitzhanova, who represented the Kazakh government, highlighted that bilateral relations of Kazakhstan and Ukraine are mutually respective and benevolent.

“Taking into account the current difficult situation in Ukraine, Kazakhstan took the decision to deliver humanitarian aid and held these promises,” she said.

The minister reminded that in January in Severodonetsk, the Ukrainian side received humanitarian food assistance from Kazakhstan, amounting to approximately 70 million tenge (US$400,000). In addition, Kazakhstan has directed financial resources amounting to $30,000 through the International Committee of the Red Cross for humanitarian needs of the south-eastern region of Ukraine.

“At the moment we are forming a new package of humanitarian aid,” Aitzanova said.

However, the most expensive part of Astana’s assistance concerns the issue of nuclear security, where Kazakhstan too, similar to Ukraine being hit by the catastrophe at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in April 1986, has known tragic consequences of radiation for the environment, health and welfare of citizens through its experience of being the location of the infamous Semipalatinsk nuclear test site.

“The government of Kazakhstan made a decision on financial support of the Chernobyl Fund Shelter and the allocation of 1 million euros as a contribution to the completion of international projects at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant,” Aitzhanova is quoted to have said.

The minister emphasised the leading role in strengthening and developing the partnership between Kazakhstan and Ukraine that meetings and negotiations between presidents Nursultan Nazarbayev and Petr Poroshenko have played, which contributed to the strengthening of political and economic cooperation between the countries. As a result of the latest visit of President Nazarbayev to Kyiv in December 2014, the head of state put forward a task to intensify trade and economic cooperation with the Ukrainian side.

“That is why today we are going to focus on implementation of projects in the framework of the joint Kazakh-Ukrainian Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation. The meeting is expected to discuss the Kazakhstan-Ukraine draft action plan for 2015-2016 years (Road Map-5), which will reflect the main areas of cooperation between Kazakhstan and Ukraine: energy, agriculture, transport, science, education and others,” the minister continued.

As Ukrainian mass media reported earlier for the construction of the new safe confinement shelter over the destroyed fourth power unit of Chernobyl nuclear power plant alone 500 million euro needs to be attracted. The European Commission has previously expressed its willingness to allocate 70 million euro for this purpose.

In early April, Chernobyl officially moved to the stage of decommissioning. It is expected that the Ukrainian government will allocate about $30 million in 2015 for this purposes. The process of final closure and conservation of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is expected to last until 2028.

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