Czech FM Visits Kazakhstan, Promotes Business, Political Ties

ASTANA – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Czech Republic Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek discussed Nov. 21 at the Akorda Presidential Residence bilateral cooperation and agreements.

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Nazarbayev noted the friendly relations with the Czech Republic and Czech President Milos Zeman’s 2014 visit. He also pointed out the two countries’ similar paths to independence.

“A painless process of state formation of the Czech Republic is unique itself. Nowadays, despite economic challenges in Europe, your country has been developing at a positive pace, becoming a member of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation,” Nazarbayev said.

Zaoralek gave Nazarbayev a letter from the Czech president and said President Zeman is looking forward to Nazarbayev’s next visit and participating in the EXPO 2017.

The Czech minister also met with Nurlan Nigmatullin, chairperson of the Mazhilis (lower house of Parliament) and expressed a desire to continue the countries’ 23-year history of good relations. They identified agriculture, engineering, energy, pharmaceuticals and tourism as spheres for cooperation and said conditions will be created in both countries to foster new businesses.

Nigmatullin and Zaoralek also agreed to share their experience in dealing with international issues. Nigmatullin also invited Jan Hamacek, chairman of the Czech Chamber of Deputies, to visit Kazakhstan.

The foreign minister also met with his counterpart Erlan Idrissov, while more than 30 Czech entrepreneurs participated in a business forum that took place that same day.

“The main focus of our joint work should be actively promoting direct dialogue and partnership between the business circles of the two countries,” Idrissov said.

Idrissov noted the Czech Republic is one of the most popular destinations among Kazakh tourists and students. More than 2,000 Kazakh people study in higher education institutions of the Czech Republic, and about 100,000 Kazakh tourists annually visit the country.

“The [2014] meeting of our presidents has provided new impetus for the relationship between the countries. We have had rapid intensification of our cooperation. We decided to support Kazakhstan’s bid for the non-permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council; we became the fourth country of the EU that ratified the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Kazakhstan and the EU. We also decided to participate in EXPO 2017, as you might be aware, the Czech Republic has never participated in any specialised exhibition before. That shows our special respectful attitude towards Kazakhstan,” Zaoralek highlighted at a joint press briefing with Idrissov.

He also congratulated the Kazakh people on the country’s upcoming anniversary of independence. “I really admire what you did during these 25 years. I am convinced that it is something extraordinary in the whole world around. I really admire what you have built in your country,” the head of the Czech foreign ministry said.

On Nov. 22, Zaoralek visited Almaty where another business forum was also to take place.