GORNO-ALTAISK, RUSSIA – Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrissov paid a working visit to Gorno-Altaisk, Russia, on May 29–30, where he met with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, to discuss Kazakh-Russian cooperation in the political, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres. The two also signed a plan of action between the two countries’ foreign ministries for 2015–2016.
The parties paid particular attention to practical steps to enhance inter-regional and cross-border cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia, as well as to the monitoring of the execution of the Plan of Joint Actions for 2013–2015 and cooperation in the industrial, energy, nuclear and space fields,.
In addition, the foreign ministers discussed their cooperation within international organisations including the United Nations, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) and integration associations, and exchanged views on topical issues of the international agenda, including the situations in Ukraine and Syria.
The parties noted the importance of bilateral cooperation in using Baikonur Cosmodrome and discussed plans for celebrating the 60th anniversary of Baikonur on June 2. They also checked on preparations for the Inter-regional Cooperation Forum of Kazakhstan and Russia scheduled for this September in Ufa.
Following the meeting, Idrissov and Lavrov signed the plan of action between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan and Russia. “Today, we noted the ongoing development of our relations. They got a new very powerful impetus through the Treaty between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan on Good-Neighbourliness and Alliance in the 21st Century that entered into force last December,” Lavrov said at a joint press conference with Idrissov following their talks outside Gorno-Altaisk. “We reviewed the implementation of decisions adopted by our presidents, including during their most recent meeting in the framework of the official visit of President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev to Russia on May 8-9. We also discussed the schedule of upcoming contacts. Among the events involving the president is the 12th Forum of Interregional Cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan coming up this fall in Ufa.”
“Particular attention is traditionally paid to the interaction of foreign ministries in the work to further strengthen the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). We are united in the fact that the Eurasian integration is in the fundamental interests of the peoples of Russia and Kazakhstan, and other countries included in the EAEU. The fact that this structure is very promising is confirmed by the interest of several dozen foreign countries to cooperate with it in one form or another shown,” Lavrov added. As the two ministers spoke, the news came from Borovoye in Kazakhstan that Vietnam became the first country to sign a free trade agreement with the EAEU which now includes five countries.
The two ministers also reviewed the cooperation in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), where Kazakhstan currently holds the rotating one-year chairmanship. “We got acquainted with the priorities of Kazakhstan in the CIS this year and fully support them,” Lavrov added.
“Of course, we talked about the situation in Ukraine,” Lavrov further said. “We have a common position – there is a need to fully implement the Minsk agreement of Feb. 12. We highly appreciate the role of Kazakhstan in creating the right atmosphere around the international discussions to direct the efforts of all the international players towards urging the parties to ensure strict implementation of what was agreed.”
In turn, Idrissov said, “Our bilateral ties agenda are wide-ranging. Russia is our largest neighbour, ally and strategic partner. … There are numerous bilateral mechanisms to support our ties.”
He stressed that President Nursultan Nazarbayev paid his first foreign visit following his re-election to Moscow, and noted that the return visit of President Vladimir Putin is expected in October.
The EAEU is “naturally our common priority for the future,” Idrissov said, adding it was symbolic that, on the first anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on EAEU in Astana on May 29, 2014, a free trade agreement was signed between the EAEU and Vietnam signifying a “qualitatively new dimension of Eurasian integration.”
During the visit, Idrissov also met with the Kazakh diaspora living in the Republic of Altai, a federal subject of Russia, and visited the mosque of Gorno-Altaisk and Anokhin National Museum.
During Lavrov’s August 2014 visit to Ust-Kamenogorsk, Idrissov noted that his visit to one of the largest industrial centres of Kazakhstan was very symbolic, due to Kazakhstan and Russia’s important cross-border cooperation, which accounts for about 70 percent of bilateral trade. Idrissov expressed hope that holding mutual meetings in the regions of the two states will become a tradition, and the meeting in Gorno-Altaisk became its continuation.
During the joint press conference after the talks, Idrissov announced that he has invited Lavrov to make Kyzylorda his next regional visit in November, possibly to coincide with the launch of manned spacecraft from Baikonur Cosmodrome.