External news in brief

Secretary of State Krymbek Kusherbayev met with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Director General Audrey Azoulay in Paris to explore current and future prospects for cultural and humanitarian cooperation, reported the Akorda press service. Kusherbayev expressed gratitude for the organisation’s support of Kazakh initiatives and including Al-Farabi’s 1,150th anniversary and the 2,200th anniversary of Shymkent city in the 2020 UNESCO list of anniversaries. Kazakhstan will also celebrate the 175th anniversary of prominent poet Abai Kunanbayev next year and to mark the date, the country suggested organising a special cultural programme at UNESCO headquarters. Kusherbayev and Azoulay also discussed the development of Turkestan city, home to many significant cultural sites including the Khoja Ahmed Yasawi Mausoleum, part of the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2003. Azoulay also accepted an invitation on behalf of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to visit Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan is ready to provide comprehensive support to Afghanistan in fighting corruption, said Anti-Corruption Agency First Deputy Chair Olzhan Bektenov during his visit to Kabul, where he met with Afghanistan’s Prosecutor General, the Minister of Justice, heads of the Anti-Corruption Centre and Supreme Court Judicial Department. He said the agency can assist by organising regular short-term trainings of Afghan colleagues in Kazakhstan and online seminars. Bektenov also briefed students at the American University on Kazakhstan’s experience in developing an anti-corruption policy and digitising public services, among other issues.

Kazakh and Kyrgyz officials agreed to create a working group to boost efforts to revive the Aral Sea, once the world’s fourth largest lake, which has vanished to almost to one-tenth of its original size. The agreement was made possible during the official visit of Kazakh Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources Magzum Mirzagaliyev to Bishkek, where he explored the possibility of regional water cooperation and potential return of Kyrgyzstan to the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS), where the country suspended its participation in 2015. “As for the IFAS, we have reached such a decision that we will create a bilateral working group, acting separately so that the issue of the Naryn-Syr Darya basin and water supply of southern Kazakhstan is discussed regularly,” he said.

Tickets are now on sale for Dimash Kudaibergen’s 2020 concerts in Germany and the Czech Republic. The singer, famous for his extraordinary talent and six-octave vocal range, will perform his Arnau concert March 19 in Hamburg, March 21 in Dusseldorf, March 25 in Prague and March 29 in Stuttgart. The programme includes songs in Chinese, English, French, Italian, Kazakh and Russian. Ticket prices range from 35 euros (US$39) to 349 euros (US$388.50) and can be purchased online at biletkartina.tv. Kudaibergen gained international popularity after he won the Chinese “I am Singer” TV show. Tickets sold out in days when he performed Dec. 10 at the fully-packed Barclays Centre in New York City.

The United Arab Emirates’ Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, was lit in the colours of the Kazakh flag Dec. 16. The display came at the initiative of the Dubai Emirate to congratulate Kazakhstan on its Independence Day and showed the high level of bilateral cooperation in mutual understanding, respect and trust developing between the countries, said the Kazakh Foreign Ministry. In similar fashion, Israel congratulated Kazakhstan on the important occasion by lighting up Tel-Aviv City Hall in the same colours. San Francisco hosted a flag raising ceremony that day at its City Hall accompanied by a performance of the Kazakh national anthem. The recognition was the first such event held on the West Coast of the United States, wrote the Kazakh Consulate General on its Twitter account.