External news in brief

Finnair will resume its Astana-Helsinki route in July, reported the Astana International Airport press service. The four-hour flight will be operated twice per week on Wednesday and Friday until September on the company’s Airbus 319. Finnair, which serviced more than 3,000 passengers last summer along this route, flies to more than 70 destinations in Europe, including major cities, and 19 destinations in Asia.

Kazakhstan will host the Asian Weightlifting Championship in 2020, reported Kazakhstan’s Weightlifting Federation press service. The decision was made at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) executive committee meeting July 4-6 in Tashkent and the Kazakh Weightlifting Federation subsequently received the official confirmation letter. The statement noted it will be an important qualifying stage before the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. “We sincerely congratulate you on winning the bid to host the Asian championship and let us express support for the successful organisation of such a significant event,” said the letter.

Experts and representatives from Afghanistan, China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan discussed transboundary water management during the regional meeting on strengthening intersectoral interaction in water management and increasing the role of water for achieving sustainable development goals. The lack of coordinated and integrated actions between neighbouring countries has been one of the acute issues for the region facing water shortage and its deteriorating quality. The participants discussed ways to foster cooperation and offered suggestions that can be included in the International Water Assessment Centre’s future programmes.

Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Yerzhan Ashikbayev spoke July 11 at the United Nations Security Council debate focusing on climate change-related security risks. He noted climate change can cause poverty, food insecurity, illegal migration, social instability and violent conflicts. Ashikbayev cited the drying of the Aral Sea, once the world’s fourth largest lake which in less that decades has reduced to a tenth of its original 68,000 square kilometres, as a “tragic experience for Kazakhstan and Central Asia.” The environmental disaster affected more than 60 million people.

Kazakhstan is interested in enhancing cooperation with Switzerland in energy, transport, small and medium businesses and advanced technology transfer and know-how. Kazakh Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev and Swiss Federal Counsellor (Minister) and Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research Chair Johann N. Schneider-Ammann recently discussed investment partnership and interregional cooperation, as well as developing projects in transport and logistics. Switzerland invested $20.6 billion in the Kazakh economy from 2005-2017 and 436 companies with Swiss participation work in the country. Trade turnover reached $3.2 billion last year, a 21-percent increase over 2016.

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