External news in brief

 The Kazakh Foreign Ministry concluded the results of the second session of the Islamic Organisation for Food Security (IOFS) General Assembly in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The meeting included consultations and deliberations by ministers and senior officials in charge of agriculture, rural development and food security in the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) 57 member states. Thirty-four OIC countries have joined IOFS, established at the initiative of Kazakhstan’s First President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who proposed the idea at the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers 38th session in 2011 in Nur-Sultan. The participants adopted the three-year action plan, 16 resolutions and the new budget plan. The Kazakh delegation also started the process of creating the grain fund that will meet the needs of IOFS member states to ensure a steady increase in mutual grain trade.

Nur-Sultan will host the seventh Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in June 2021. Representatives from 19 countries attended the secretariat’s 18th meeting Sept. 18, when they determined the date of the next congress and reviewed the results of the sixth congress organised in the capital in October 2018. The participants will not announce the forum proposals until March 2021. Secretariat head Dariga Nazarbayeva, who is also the country’s Senate Speaker, noted the congress has now been organised for 16 years. Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) Isam Bureau Chief Monsignor Khaled Akasheh, who attended the meeting, noted Pope Francis may attend the congress. 

Kazakhstan and Afghanistan are seeking to bring bilateral trade turnover to $1 billion, said Afghan Minister of Finance Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi and North Kazakhstan Region Akim (Governor) Karim Aksakalov during their meeting in Petropavlovsk, Russia. Bilateral trade turnover was $520.6 million in 2018, including $43 million traded with the region. The region exports crops, lentils, flax and eggs to Afghanistan and the country plans to supply fruits and vegetables. The sides signed a memorandum on cooperation during the meeting, which Aksakalov noted will open new opportunities. Qayoumi said a working group will be formed to study the range of goods and services needed for export and import. 

The Astana Opera will stop in St. Petersburg Oct. 20 as part of the fourth Chamber Opera International Festival. The troupe will present Gioachino Rossini’s “La Scala di Seta” at the St. Petersburg Chamber Opera State Chamber Music Theatre. “The performance at the St. Petersburg Opera, which opens the tour schedule of our seventh theatrical season, will take place thanks to the invitation of the Artistic Director, People’s Artist of Russia and laureate of the State Prize of Kazakhstan Yuri Alexandrov. All expenses for the tour were covered by the St. Petersburg Opera. It is important to note the close, long-term friendship ties that our company has with the outstanding Russian stage director,” said Astana Opera Director Galym Akhmedyarov. As part of its tour, the St. Petersburg theatre will be in Nur-Sultan Nov. 9-10 to present Giuseppe Verdi’s “Rigoletto” and George Bizet’s “Les Pêcheurs de Perles.”

Azerbaijani Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Presidential Special Representative for border and Caspian Sea issues Khalaf Khalafov and Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs Special Envoy and Special Representative on the Caspian Sea Zulfiya Amanzholova discussed the waterway issue during consultations in Baku, Azerbaijan. The sides explored establishing the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea Secretariat and emphasised the need to accelerate the coordination process between the parties to the Caspian Convention signed last year.