Kazakhstan and Afghanistan improve ties

ASTANA ­­– Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah travelled to Kazakhstan Aug. 19 to unveil Afghan National Day at EXPO 2017 and meet with the country’s high officials and business circles.

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Abdullah met with Kazakh Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev to discuss further developing trade and economic cooperation, as well as implementing the agreements concluded by presidents Nursultan Nazarbayev and Ashraf Ghani in the Kazakh capital in Nov. 2015, reported primeminister.kz.

The parties also reviewed the measures directed at improving the region’s transit potential and prospects for bilateral cooperation for railway construction. Educational collaboration was also mentioned.

Sagintayev congratulated Abdullah on his nation’s 98th Independence Day celebrated that day. The latter then met with Kazakh officials and investors, where the sides agreed to expand trade and transit relations between the countries, according to tolonews.com.

Addressing the audience, Abdullah said his team will further discuss ways to improve facilities for Afghan investors in Kazakhstan. He also highlighted the need for wider financing by Kazakh investors.

“The Afghan government is ready to ensure the safety of investors from Kazakhstan and will consider special privileges for them to prevent any challenges on their way,” he said.

The trade value between Afghanistan and Kazakhstan has reached $50 million, according to Kazakhstan Chamber of International Commerce Chairperson Yerlan Arinov, adding the amount needs to be increased.

“Kazakh investors are committed to increasing the trade volume with Afghanistan in transit, liquid gas, mines, industries, logistics, exports and imports sectors,” he said, according to tolonews.com.

Afghanistan is planning to appoint a trade representative to the Kazakh capital, said Minister of Commerce and Industries Humayun Rasa, in the hope the envoy would facilitate the sale of Afghan products in Kazakh markets.

The official delegation also included discussions on the bilateral and international agenda between Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov and Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani. The sides, who met Aug. 17, reaffirmed their commitment to achieve stability and security in Afghanistan through the nation’s active involvement in economic integration with the countries in the region.

Abdrakhmanov also spoke about Kazakhstan’s plans within the framework of the country’s two-year membership on the UN Security Council, including during the chairmanship of the body in January 2018, to focus on the regional problems.

Rabbani expressed gratitude for Kazakhstan’s continued support of the Afghan government on a number of important issues. He emphasised the worth of the Kazakh initiative to provide grants to Afghan students for training in peaceful professions and noted the interest in continuing educational programmes.

Noting the significance and timeliness of Nazarbayev’s initiative to promote the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) First Summit on Science and Technology in the Kazakh capital in September, Rabbani confirmed Ghani’s participation in the event.

As the official delegation’s visit coincided with Afghan Independence Day, the Afghan Embassy in Astana marked the holiday with a reception attended by high officials from both nations.

Abdrakhmanov congratulated the Afghan people on their independence, noting the importance of partner relations in terms of business, transit and economy and stressing his country’s readiness to increase cooperation in each sector.