ASTANA – Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a state visit to Kazakhstan Oct. 15 at the invitation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The two leaders met in the Akorda Presidential Residence, participating in one-on-one and extended-format sessions. Nazarbayev noted that he and Putin regularly “coordinate positions” and try to quickly find solutions to issues of bilateral relations in various areas of cooperation, reported the Akorda press service.
The Kazakh President also mentioned the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summit on Oct. 16, and added that the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is expanding and acquiring respect and credibility in the international arena.
“I think we are on the right track,” he said.
The sides recalled their recent meeting in Sochi, where they discussed the main areas of their bilateral relationship. Relevant documents were prepared for signing as a result of the previous talks
“I would also like to add that our relations are developing on the basis of the treaty ‘On good neighbourliness and alliance in the 21st century.’ The alliance is secured by the Collective Security Treaty and economically by statutory documents of the EAEU. Kazakhstan was, is and will always be the closest and most reliable neighbour of the Russian Federation. It is in the fundamental interests of the people of Kazakhstan,” said Nazarbayev.
In turn, Putin said there is no need to categorise Russian-Kazakh relations.
“It is not just a trustworthy partnership, but it is also a friendly relationship in every sense of the word. Kazakhstan is one of our largest trading partners. Today, almost 6,000 Russian companies are working in Kazakhstan. A large amount of investment has been accumulated in dollar equivalents. Your brainchild, the Eurasian Economic Union, is actively developing and creating conditions for the effective development of our economies. We see that many of our partners are willing to cooperate with the EAEU in different formats,” he emphasised.
A number of agreements were signed during the extended meeting. The documents included the amendments to a 1998 agreement between Kazakhstan and Russia on the delimitation of the northern part of the Caspian Sea that would help the two governments exercise sovereign rights for subsoil use and proceed with joint exploitation of the Tsentralnoye and Hvalynskoye oil deposits.
The sides also inked agreements between the governments on cooperation in the field of aviation search and rescue and the coordination procedure during rocket delivery from the Dombarovskiy missile launching area using land within Kazakhstan’s territory as an area for separating parts. An agreement on expanding strategic partnership between the car manufacturers Bipek Avto Kazakhstan and AvtoVAZ was signed in their presence.
The presidents exchanged views on cooperation between Moscow and Astana in the framework of the EAEU, as well as touched upon the situation in Syria and Ukraine. Particular attention was paid to building up trade and economic cooperation.
“We understand the need to take coordinated measures both on the national level and the level of the EAEU,” Nazarbayev said at the joint press briefing with Putin following their talks. “We should use reserves to mitigate consequences of economic problems. The Eurasian Economic Union can exist in the conditions of equality of all of its members; representatives of our countries should work in the interests of all countries and in accordance with the common economic position.”
In turn, Putin noted Russian investments in Kazakhstan’s economy exceeded $9 billion, while the bulk of Kazakh oil transit to global markets goes through Russian territory. In addition, attention was drawn to the presence of large-scale joint projects in the field of high-tech industry, agriculture and energy.
“Kazakhstan and Russia have a long and … successful experience of cooperation and friendship. Each of our meetings [results in] achievement of the specific agreement on implementation of joint projects and promotion of new directions of cooperation on mutually beneficial conditions,” said Nazarbayev.
A set of specific measures to mitigate the effects of world economic problems was defined, he added.
“[The measures concern] transit of Russian gas and oil to China through Kazakhstan, joint development of the Caspian oil fields of Tsentralnoye and Khvalynskoye, cooperation in the coal industry and transit using a new road along the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf. Separately, we discussed completion of the Western Europe-Western China [transcontinental road] project, as well as the conditions of cooperation in the infrastructure sector. These areas have great potential for further development of partnership,” said the Kazakh President.
Separately, Nazarbayev focused on the prospects of trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.
“Russia has traditionally been a major trade partner of Kazakhstan. The average annual volume of trade is about $21 billion. Russian companies are involved in the development of Kazakhstan’s largest hydrocarbon deposits. In Kazakhstan, more than 5,600 enterprises actively work with Russian capital. Today, within the framework of the Industrialisation Map of Kazakhstan, 20 major joint investment projects have been implemented, four are in the implementation stage and three are being planned [to implement] in the future,” he said.
The meeting also provided an opportunity for Kazakhstan and Russia to voice their opinions on the most important problems of the international agenda.
“We discussed the implementation of the Minsk agreements and the issues of building up interaction within the framework of global and regional organisations, including [responsibility for providing] stability and security in the Central Asian region. For this matter, the situation in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq is important. Together, we discussed the current situation in the region. Today, we hear active speculation around the confrontation between the Shia and Sunnis; however, these talks have nothing to do with reality. The current situation in Syria is a common threat for all of us, especially for Central Asia. In this regard, we support the idea of a forum on Islam against terrorism,” said the Kazakh President.
The head of state expressed confidence that the arrangements reached will serve to further strengthen cooperation between the two countries on a range of interaction in the spirit of friendship and mutually-beneficial partnership. Nazarbayev ended by thanking the Russian side for its active assistance in organising the third space expedition in Kazakhstan’s history with the participation of cosmonaut Aidyn Aimbetov.
In turn, the Russian president described negotiations as very “constructive” and “fruitful.”
“Traditionally, the negotiations went smoothly and in a friendly atmosphere. We exchanged views in all areas of bilateral relations, focusing on such areas as trade, investment, energy, transport, space and peaceful use of nuclear energy,” he said.
The Russian president touched upon key areas of cooperation between the two countries and specific projects implemented together. The Russian-Kazakh intergovernmental commission is called upon to give additional impetus to the expansion of cooperation in the trade and economic sphere which will take place before the end of this year, he said.
Putin also noted expansion of humanitarian cooperation. In particular, he noted the number of scholarships in the 2014-2015 academic year for Kazakh citizens to study in Russia has doubled.
“During the talks, we discussed the keys to regional and world problems. We have informed [President] Nazarbayev on the main outcomes of the meeting of the Normandy Four in Paris, as well as on the situation in Syria,” he said.
The Russian president also expressed support for his Kazakh counterpart’s initiative to join efforts by all countries, especially those with Muslim majorities, in the fight against terrorism.