ASTANA – Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte arrived in Astana Dec. 2 for an official visit which was intended to strengthen diplomatic and economic ties between the two countries and which included the signing of an official agreement on the Netherlands’ participation in EXPO 2017.
Rutte held meetings with Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Prime Minister Karim Massimov, Chairman of the Senate Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Chairman of the Mazhilis (lower chamber of Parliament) Kabibulla Dzhakupov.
Nazarbayev and Rutte discussed the status of bilateral economic relations, issues in the oil and gas industry, agriculture, transport and space development and exchanged views on international issues.
Nazarbayev noted that the Netherlands is an important partner for Kazakhstan.
“This is our fourth meeting. My visit to your country last year was very fruitful and its results were important. … The Netherlands is one of the largest investors into the economy of Kazakhstan and one of our most important trade partners. We see your visit as an indication of your will to bring our bilateral relations to a new level,” he said.
Nazarbayev also stressed the importance of the business delegation accompanying Rutte, which represented seven major Dutch companies working successfully in Kazakhstan.
In turn, Rutte noted the broad opportunities that exist for cooperation, in particular in light of Kazakhstan’s ongoing process of economic diversification.
He also highlighted the opening ceremony of Astana Square (“Astanaplein” in Dutch) in Rotterdam in November as clear evidence of strengthening and friendly relations between the two countries.
With Massimov, Rutte discussed trade, economy, cooperation in the oil and gas industry, agricultural innovations and interaction within the EU.
“The agricultural sector is well developed in the Netherlands. Even though your country is 65 times smaller than Kazakhstan, it is the second largest agricultural producer in the EU. This offers a great opportunity to increase Kazakhstan’s potential productivity. Your visit will be very important and useful for future development,” Massimov said.
Rutte noted that Kazakhstan is the first country in Central Asia to sign an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the EU (to be effected at the end of December in Astana).
“I believe that this agreement will set a completely new qualitative basis for political and economic ties between our countries,” he said.
Following the meeting of the nations’ leaders, Chairman of the Astana EXPO 2017 National Company Akhmetzhan Yessimov and Ambassador of the Netherlands to Kazakhstan Hans Driesser signed an agreement on the Netherlands’ participation in the upcoming international specialised exhibition EXPO 2017 in Astana, the Astana EXPO 2017 company website reported.