In reshuffle, Kazykhanov Becomes New Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister

April 12. Kazakh Foreign Ministry

In reshuffle, Kazykhanov Becomes New Kazakhstan’s Foreign MinisterOn 11 April, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed a decree appointing Yerzhan Kazykhanov as the nation’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The same day, the Kazakh leader visited the foreign ministry in Astana to personally introduce the man of his choice to the diplomatic staff.

The President voiced his sincere gratitude to the country’s diplomatic corps for its fruitful work accomplished lately, highlighting their contribution to the success of Kazakhstan’s chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe last year. Nazarbayev said he values the leadership of Kanat Saudabayev who has led the foreign office since September 2009 and whom he appointed Kazakhstan’s Secretary of State the following day. Saudabayev had held the position of the Secretary of State since May 2007, and from September 2009 to now he held the two positions concurrently.

Introducing the new minister, Nazarbayev called Kazykhanov one of the country’s most experienced diplomats, underlining his extensive experience in multilateral diplomacy. The President said Kazykhanov’s background would be most relevant in light of Kazakhstan’s upcoming chairmanship of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Conference. In addition to English, Kazykhanov speaks Arabic. At the same time Nazarbayev said the new minister should keep the established priorities in the Kazakh foreign policy.

Earlier, in the afternoon of 8 April, following President Nazarbayev’s inauguration, Kazakhstan’s Parliament approved his nomination of Karim Massimov as the country’s Prime Minister. President tasked Massimov with offering his preferred choices for the head of various government agencies.

On 11-12 April, President appointed a number of other new ministers – Kalmukhanbet Kassymov to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Kairat Kelimetov to the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Assylzhan Mamytbekov to the Ministry of Agriculture, Berik Kamaliyev to the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and Talgat Yermegiyayev to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, as well as Timur Kulibayev as Chairman of the Samruk Kazyna National Welfare Fund.

All other ministers were reappointed by the President, as were First Deputy Prime Minister Omirzak Shokeyev, Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Industry and New Technologies Asset Issekeshev, and Deputy Prime Minister Yerbol Orynbayev.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev also reappointed akims of the Aqmola, Kostanay, Kyzylorda, North Kazakhstan and Qaraghandy oblasts, as well as the city of Astana. Decrees concerning akims of the remaining 9 oblasts and the city of Almaty are expected on 13 April.

Yerzhan Kazykhanov: short bio

Born on 21 August 1964 in Almaty.

He graduated from the Saint-Petersburg (Leningrad) State University, Department of Oriental Studies (1987). Fluent in English and Arabic. Holds the diplomatic rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.

1987 to 1989 – military service in the Soviet Army.

1989 – 1992 – Second Secretary, First Secretary at the Protocol-Political Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan.

1992 – 1995 – Head of Division, Deputy Chief of State Protocol service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

1995 – 2000 – First Secretary, Counselor at the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan  to the United Nations in New York.

2000 – 2003 – Director of the Department of Multilateral Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

2003 – 2007 – Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Nations, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Republic of Cuba (non-resident).

2007 – 2008 – Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

2008, February to December – Assistant to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

2009 – 2011 – Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Republic of Austria, Permanent Representative of the Republic of  Kazakhstan to the International Organizations in Vienna.

From February to April 2011 – Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Awarded with a number of state medals for dignified work in service of the country. Holds a PhD in history. Kazykhanov is the author of numerous articles and publications in Kazakh and foreign periodicals on multilateral diplomacy issues and the United Nations. He is married, has two children.

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