06 December, 2018

Kazakhstan, UK keen to enhance bilateral partnership

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The further strengthening of the strategic partnership between Kazakhstan and Great Britain was the main topic of discussion during a visit by a delegation from Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry to London. The visit which took place on 4-5 December was headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko, reports the press service of the Ministry Forign Affairs.

The first day of the visit included the Fifth session of the Strategic Dialogue between Kazakhstan and Great Britain, co-chaired by Deputy Foreign Minister Vassilenko and Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Sir Alan Duncan KCMG MP.

The meeting was constructive and allowed both sides to compare views on the international agenda and to discuss issues of bilateral and multilateral cooperation. The Co-chairs noted that the recent meeting of Kazakhstan's President Nazarbayev and UK Prime Minister May, which took place in Brussels during the Asia-Europe Meeting Summit, gave an additional impulse to bilateral relations.

The head of the Kazakhstan delegation pointed out the positive developments of bilateral relations, especially the interaction within the frameworks of the Strategic Partnership Dialogue, Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade and Economic, Cooperation, and the Business Council.

The sides have discussed ways of further developing the Kazakh-British strategic partnership, placing emphasis on the joint work within the UN Security Council, bilateral trade and economic, investment and cultural cooperation, including in the context of the UK's withdrawal from the EU, the activity of the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) and the potential implementation of investment projects in Kazakhstan through the attraction of major countries in the wider region.

During his visit, Deputy Foreign Minister Vassilenko met with members of the British Parliament headed by the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Kazakhstan Bob Stewart MP. Participants discussed the outcomes of the APPG delegation's visit to Astana that took place last May, which included meetings with the leadership of the Mazhilis (lower chamber) of Kazakhstan's Parliament, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as various political parties. The sides also discussed the potential for future interparliamentary cooperation including a reciprocal visit by members of Kazakhstan's Parliament to Great Britain.

At the meeting with British business executives and members of the British-Kazakh Society, the Deputy Foreign Minister gave a briefing to participants on national reforms and initiatives focused on further developing an attractive investment climate in Kazakhstan. The country's success has been given added credence following the publication of the World Bank's 2019 Doing Business index in which Kazakhstan climbed eight places to 28th out of 190 countries.

Deputy Foreign Minister Vassilenko informed British executives of the large-scale Privatisation Programme taking place in Kazakhstan, the activities of AIFC and the Astana Hub of international hub for IT startups, alongside projects associated with China's Belt and Road Initiative.

More than twenty British businesses joined the meeting, including Orion Group's Regional Director Mark Donnison, Central Asia Metals' Executive Chairman Nick Clarke, South China Securities' Director Hugo Jammes and many others.

During the visit to London, Mr. Vassilenko had a meeting with senior representatives of the Chatham House Royal Institute of International Affairs, where the Deputy Foreign Minister gave a briefing on political, social and economic reforms underway in Kazakhstan, as well as the country's key international initiatives.

Deputy Foreign Minister Vassilenko's visit will continue with participation in the Fifth annual Eurasian Council on Foreign Affairs (ECFA) meeting, where a special report will be presented with its recommendations on the European Union's new Strategy for Central Asia.

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