ASTANA –Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev met Oct. 9 with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during the latter’s official visit to the nation.
The parties discussed ways to strengthen cooperation in the spheres of trade, economy, the coal industry, agriculture, transport and logistics. The two leaders exchanged views on topical international issues, including the situation in southeastern Ukraine and implementing the Minsk agreements.
Nazarbayev noted Poroshenko’s official visit will contribute to improving economic cooperation and will allow the countries to “synchronise watches” on regional and international matters.
“We have a full understanding on many issues. During the upcoming meetings of the interstate commission, all key areas will be worked out in detail,” he said.
Poroshenko noted the presence of numerous political, economic, cultural, humanitarian and social ties between the countries. He also emphasised his interest in intensifying all-round collaboration and gave Nazarbayev high marks for his efforts to help maintain peace in Ukraine.
“I appreciate your intention to develop political dialogue between our two countries based on trust and mutual respect. I am convinced that we have to realise the potential of Kazakh-Ukrainian relations. Kazakhstan’s commitment to the fundamental principles of international law and its high role in international organisations are of great importance for me and all Ukrainians,” he said.
“Both sides support the peaceful resolution of any conflicts, since there is no alternative to it,” Nazarbayev said at the joint briefing after the talks. “Overall, we are satisfied with the execution of the Minsk agreements. Our country will continue providing humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. We will also transfer funds through the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Chernobyl ‘Shelter’ Fund.”
“Kazakhstan wishes peace to Ukraine so that the people of that country continue their development in calm and security,” he added.
Poroshenko also congratulated Nazarbayev on the 550th anniversary of the Kazakh Khanate, pointing out the importance of the event as a symbol of statehood and the deep historic roots of the country.
During the meeting, Nazarbayev also stressed the deep historical connections between Kazakhstan and Ukraine, highlighting the fact that more than 300,000 Kazakhstan citizens of Ukrainian descent live in the country and are an integral part of society.
After the meeting, the presidents attended the Kazakh-Ukrainian Business Forum, where a road map of cooperation between the two countries for 2015-2017 was signed.
“The document identifies the priority areas of cooperation and specific practical steps that will be taken by our governments to ensure that this cooperation is mutually beneficial. First of all is cooperation in the fuel and energy sector, infrastructure development and engineering, including the agriculture and space industry,” said Poroshenko.
One concrete agreement relates to the supply of coal from Kazakhstan for Ukrainian power stations.
“We appreciate the interest of business circles of Ukraine towards mutually-beneficial cooperation with our country. Despite the decline in turnover and investment activity, I believe that the potential of Kazakh-Ukrainian relations has not run dry,” said Kazakh First Deputy Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev at the forum.
“The fact that the forum is attended by the presidents of our countries shows the importance of establishing strong economic contacts between Kazakhstan and Ukraine. I believe that the potential of Kazakh-Ukrainian relations is not fully used. Therefore, we are open to international cooperation, regardless of the political or economic situation,” he added.
Sagintayev noted that 400 companies supported by Ukrainian capital operate in Kazakhstan. At the same time, there are more than 120 Kazakh-Ukrainian joint ventures working in Ukraine.
“In the near future, Kazakhstan will strive to position itself as a big business, transit and logistics hub of Central Asia. Kazakhstan can become a platform for delivery of Ukrainian products to Central Asia and China. Therefore, I invite the Ukrainian side to use the new transport and logistics opportunities of Kazakhstan,” noted Nazarbayev in his remarks at the forum.
It was also announced during the visit that the monument to Taras Shevchenko, Ukraine’s most famous poet, who was exiled to Kazakhstan during Tsarist rule, would be erected in Astana.
“We hope Kiev will see the unveiling of a monument to Abai which will be another link between the two countries,” Nazarbayev said at the joint press briefing.
During his visit to Astana, Poroshenko also met with Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov on Oct. 8. The sides discussed a wide range of issues of bilateral cooperation, including in the trade and economic spheres, energy and agro-industrial complexes.