External news in brief

The Kazakh Honorary Consulate and Kazakh Invest office for promoting investments opened recently in Split, the second largest city in Croatia. Croatian Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić, who was in Nur-Sultan April 30 for the opening of the Croatian embassy, noted steady development of Kazakh and Croatian cooperation and growth in trade turnover that last year reached $350 million. She hopes the office will contribute to strengthening trade and economy and expanding tourism, education, culture and sports contacts.

Vienna-based international organisations expressed interest in strengthening cooperation with Kazakhstan during Minister of Foreign Affairs Beibit Atamkulov’s recent visit to the Austrian capital. He and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Executive Director and UN Office in Vienna (UNOV) Director-General Yuriy Fedotov discussed the fight against illicit drug trafficking, crime, corruption, money laundering and human trafficking and a project designed to de-radicalise Kazakh prisoners. Fedotov emphasised Kazakhstan is one of UNODC’s main regional partners that supports the country’s foreign policy initiatives to maintain regional security, including the Central Asia Regional Information and Coordination Centre to combat drug trafficking, along the so called northern route from Afghanistan. International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Yukiya Amano also noted Kazakhstan’s role in nuclear non-proliferation efforts, including the launch of a low-enriched uranium bank in Ust-Kamenogorsk in 2017.

Georgia is seeking to increase the volume of grain imports from Kazakhstan. Grain is among the country’s key exports and this year, the nation plans to export approximately 9.5 million tonnes, primarily to Central Asia. Kazakhstan and Georgia recently agreed on subsidies measures for grain transportation. “This is quite a good mechanism to bring grain at a competitive price. Grain goes from Kazakhstan to Georgia through Russia and Azerbaijan. We need to know how much does it cost to cross all borders, which parts will be subsidised and what the final cost will be. Georgia consumes nearly 700,000 tonnes of grain per year,” said Georgia’s Association of Wheat and Bread Producers Chair Levan Silagava, as quoted by Kazakh TV.

Russian carrier Nordwind Airlines will start flying to Kazakhstan, said the Kazakh Civil Aviation Committee. Nearly 30 percent of Kazakh international flights are to Russia. Nordwind will operate regular flights from Samara to Almaty four times per week on Boeing 737 and Airbus 321 aircraft. Russian airline S7 also launched its first flight from Novosibirsk to Nur-Sultan. The twice-weekly flight will expand to three times a week on Embraer 170 aircraft starting May 28.

Kazakh figure skater Elizabet Tursynbayeva has been included in the International Skating Union (ISU) World Standing list, which includes the results of the preceding two seasons and the current season. She is ranked sixth with 3,108 points. Russian champion Alina Zagitova is atop the ranking with 4,510 points; both are trained by Eteri Tutberidze. Tursynbayeva recently finished second at 2019 World Championships, becoming the first woman to successfully land a quadruple Salchow.

Kazakhstan is a leader in housing construction in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In 2018, the country commissioned 12.5 million square metres of housing. The highest construction volume is in the capital city of Nur-Sultan with 2.4 million square metres, followed by 2 million square metres in the country’s former capital and largest city Almaty and 1.2 million square metres in the Mangystau Region that together account for 45 percent of the housing commissioned in Kazakhstan. This year, the plan is to commission 13 million square metres. In the past two years, Kazakhstan invested approximately two trillion tenge (US$5,332,054,000) in housing through its Nurly Zher housing programme.