External news in brief

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev visited Omsk to participate in the Kazakh-Russian Interregional Forum, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The forum, also attended by Russian and Kazakh government officials and industry and business representatives to discuss bilateral cooperation, concluded with signing eight agreements. Tokayev said trade and investment cooperation is expanding, as it grew 3.5-fold between 2003 and 2018. Last year, the countries traded nearly $19 billion. He proposed holding next year’s meeting in Kokshetau and devoting it to the topic of the environment. 

The Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan in Geneva organised an event to highlight the results of the Jusan operation and reintegration of Kazakh nationals, primarily women and children, returned from Syria. The event, initiated by the Kazakh Ministry of Justice, gathered representatives of Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Syria, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uzbekistan, the European Union, International Committee of the Red Cross, Organisation for Islamic Cooperation and UN human rights bodies. Kazakhstan’s Permanent Representative Zhanar Aitzhanova said as a result of four stages of the operation, 595 citizens, including 156 women and 406 children, were returned to Kazakhstan. The country has been providing the women and children with comprehensive assistance, including their reintegration into society. 

Kazakhstan’s Barys Hockey Club signed a deal with 32-year-old Finnish defenceman Atte Ohtamaa, who previously played for the National League’s Swiss Lugano hockey club. The deal is in effect until April. Ohtamaa is an “award winning Finnish hockey player,” said the Kazakh hockey club in a statement. He won gold with the Finnish national ice hockey team at this year’s International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships and the KHL Gagarin Cup in 2018 with Ak Bars Kazan.

Kazakh culture was presented for the first time in Copenhagen, as national costumes and unique photographs of the country were displayed at the Limited Works art gallery. Kazakh artist Dana Moldakhmetova, who lives in Denmark, also showed her works. The exhibition was attended by the representatives of business, academic circles, the diplomatic corps and Kazakh citizens living in Denmark. Kazakh Ambassador Kairat Abdrakhmanov said the exhibition paved the way to strengthening cultural ties between the nations. 

Experts from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan participated in launching the third phase of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) project to enhance managing the Pretashkent Aquifer, part of the UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (IHP) Governance of Groundwater Resources in Transboundary Aquifers (GGRETA) project. The Pretashkent Transboundary Aquifer is an artesian transboundary aquifer system shared by the two countries. The area includes three administrative districts of southern Kazakhstan and 13 districts in the adjoining part of Uzbekistan, including Tashkent. The UNESCO project is designed to enhance water security cooperation, prevent transboundary and water use conflicts and improve overall environmental sustainability. During the event at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, UNESCO Director for Division of Water Sciences and IHP Secretary noted the positive results of the second phase of the project, which concluded with adopting a joint action plan to create a permanent numerical model for the aquifer. The third phase will last until 2022.