NUR-SULTAN – Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov wrapped up the results of their meeting during a joint press briefing on March 2, the Akorda press service reported.
Japarov is on his first official visit to Kazakhstan as the president of Kyrgyzstan after he won nearly 80 percent of the votes in Kyrgyzstan’s presidential elections in January.
Tokayev stated that this demonstrates the special respect that Kyrgyzstan holds for Kazakhstan.
“For us, Kyrgyzstan is an allied, good-neighborly, fraternal state and a reliable partner,” said Tokayev, noting the role of Kazakhstan’s First President Nursultan Nazarbayev in laying the foundation for the development of brotherly ties between the two countries.
He said that the visit boosted the strategic partnership and called it symbolic that it occured on the 30th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence.
“Our interests are similar in the political, economic, humanitarian, military and technical spheres. Around 180 documents have been signed between our two countries. Today we have adopted a joint statement and signed a number of important agreements. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan actively cooperate within the Eurasian Economic Union. Together we are doing large-scale work to maintain stability and security in Central Asia,” said Tokayev.
During the meeting, the two leaders discussed the joint fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Kazakhstan reaffirmed its readiness to send a package of medical units and medicines to Kyrgyzstan, as well as military and technical assistance.
Trade was also on the meeting agenda. Over the past 15 years, Kazakhstan has invested more than $1 billion in Kyrgyzstan.
“Kazakh investors contribute significantly to supporting key sectors of the Kyrgyz economy and improving the social situation with particular attention to creating jobs, developing the manufacturing sector and the health of the financial markets as well. We have agreed to support and protect our mutual investments,” said Tokayev.
The agreements also envision reducing trade barriers, strengthening cooperation between customs and tax authorities, and incorporating digital technologies.
To foster exports and expand ties between small and medium-sized businesses, the Kazakh delegation is expected to visit Kyrgyzstan in the foreseeable future.
Tokayev and Japarov also noted the importance of increasing the capacity at the Kazakh-Kyrgyz border to ease the movement of citizens and promote trade flows. One of the recent projects in this area is the modernisation of a large Korday (Akzhol) crossing point.
“Comfortable conditions will be created at the border crossing. The equipment has been updated. An eight-lane road was built, and this work will be continued as the passport control mode is improved. All of this will significantly increase the flow of passengers and traffic between the two countries,” said Tokayev.
In his remarks, Tokayev stressed the need for an interregional cooperation forum, the creation of a trade and logistics centre, and strengthening water and energy cooperation.
“I should note that our cooperation on the issue of the Shu and Talas Rivers is an example for many countries today. We have a joint commission on the use of interstate water facilities. Every year, Kazakhstan provides financial assistance for the repair and operation of these facilities. Over the past ten years, we have allocated more than 1 billion tenge (US$2.4 million) for these purposes. We will continue working together as well as with other partners in the region. We need effective cooperation on the rivers, it is the only way we can avoid disagreements,” said Tokayev.
To promote cultural ties, the leaders agreed to have cultural days between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in each country.
“A monument to Abai will be built in Bishkek, and monuments to Manas and Chingiz Aitmatov will be erected in Nur-Sultan. We will also join efforts to research and promote the rich historical heritage of our people,” added Tokayev.
Kazakhstan will also increase the quota for Kyrgyz students ten-fold and will bring the number of educational grants to 50, and is considering opening the branch of one of Kazakhstan’s leading universities in Bishkek.
“Our countries and people are close to one another. This is a known fact. The task of the heads of states is to turn bilateral relations into a model of cooperation. It is the task of today’s talks. The exchange of views was very useful and productive. We have identified major areas of bilateral cooperation, and discussed strengthening the dialogue as part of regional and international structures,” said Tokayev.
Japarov said the talks were in line with the “allied and strategic” nature of the bilateral ties. “I would like to say that there are no political contradictions between our countries,” said Japarov.
Tokayev was the first to invite Japarov to visit Kazakhstan after his election victory, said Japarov in an interview he gave KazInform news agency the day before his visit to Kazakhstan.
“I promised it then. This is one of the reasons I am going to Kazakhstan first among the Central Asian countries. Secondly, we are brotherly and neighboring countries. We have many common interests,” said Japarov.
He also spoke about Central Asian integration.
“As far as I know, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan will soon hold a conference on Central Asian integration. We propose to hold the conference in Bishkek. Overall, the Central Asian states must be in constant contact with each other. If our states are not united in the region, this could lead to adverse consequences,” he said.
After Kazakhstan, Japarov plans to visit Uzbekistan and later China and Turkey.