Belarus and Kazakhstan proud of good neighborhood without mistrust or hostility – view


Olzhas Askarov

Belarus and Kazakhstan proud of good neighborhood without mistrust or hostility - viewWhat associations do Kazakhstanis have with the Republic of Belarus? The first thing that comes to mind is President Alexander Lukashenko – a well-known figure, respected person. Then we remember popular tractors, BelAZ trucks, potatoes. Many would say that Belarus and Kazakhstan are neighbors and brothers in the Soviet Union and today’s Customs Union partners.

This is stereotypical thinking. In fact Belarus is immeasurably more interesting. The Belarusians and Kazakhstanis share much more than two abbreviations: USSR and CU.

What is present day Belarus? What are its relations with Kazakhstan? Charg? D’Affaires ad interim of Belarus to Kazakhstan Oleg Morozov answered these and other questions in an interview with Kazinform.

-How often does President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko pay official and informal visits to Kazakhstan?

-The leaders of Belarus and Kazakhstan hold regular meetings. Over the past year and a half Alexander Lukashenko visited Kazakhstan four times, including his recent official visit in May 2011. The prime ministers of the two states meet no less frequently.

-What is the level of cooperation between our countries?

-Kazakhstan and Belarus enjoy strategic relations and cooperation within the framework of many international organizations.

The two countries concluded more than 60 international agreements, including the treaty on friendship and cooperation.

Belarus considers Kazakhstan a priority strategic partner in Central Asia.

Belarus is in close cooperation with Kazakhstan in such international organizations as the UN, OSCE, SCO, CSTO, EurAsEC and Customs Union. This is based on the common position on many international and regional problems.

-How does the Customs Union influence the economic relations between Belarus and Kazakhstan?

-There are different views on the positive and negative aspects of the Customs Union both in Belarus and in Kazakhstan. However, it is clear that the Customs Union and the future Single Economic Space will create favorable conditions for boosting Belarus-Kazakh trade and economic cooperation.

In fact, the Customs Union is a kind of “window” of opportunities for the natural striving of citizens and business to mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields. Closer industrial cooperation and joint scientific and technical activities are replacing the direct exchange of goods. This enables to ensure technological and financial stability of Kazakh and Belarus economies, develop regions and create additional jobs.

-What are the results of export/import operations between Kazakhstan and Belarus over the past half of the year?

-In the first half of 2011 the volume of bilateral trade amounted to USD 368.5 million i.e. by 23 percent more as compared to the same period of 2010. Belarus’ export made USD 283 million, while import from Kazakhstan was USD 85.5 million.

Major items of Belarus’ export are farm machinery, petrochemical products, foodstuffs, consumer goods.

Metallurgical commodities, oil products and cotton fiber are the main items of import from Kazakhstan.

-Mr Morozov, as you know, Astana hosted the informal summit of CSTO, the organization that means military cooperation as well. What could you say about the countries’ assistance in this sphere?

-Belarus and Kazakhstan develop military and military-technical cooperation under the bilateral agreements and international obligations of the two countries. The Defense Ministries of Kazakhstan and Belarus, Belarus-Kazakh Military Technical Cooperation Commission meet to settle certain issues of military cooperation. Annually, the ministries sign the bilateral cooperation action plan which envisages about 40 joint events, including trainings, exercises. As for the military technical cooperation, Belarus weapon and military equipment enterprises help repair and modernize Kazakhstani Armed Forced. I would like to note, above 150 Kazakh military study in Belarus.

-What could you say about the relations between the people of Kazakhstani and Belarus?

-Our people are bound by strong ties. Belarus remembers and highly appreciates Kazakh people’s contribution to liberation of our country from fascism. The countries have a right to be proud of good neighborhood.

Famous political, scientific, cultural and public figures native of Belarus lived in Kazakhstan.

We are sincerely glad that due to the Kazakhstan’s policy aimed at strengthening interethnic and interfaith accord, the ethnic Belarusians have got a unique opportunity to restore their native language, traditions and culture of the Belarusian nation here in Kazakhstan.

-And the last question, this September Kazakhstan will hold the national exhibition of Belarus. Could you brief on the program details?

-In conformity with the intergovernmental agreements on September 7-10 Almaty will host the national exhibition of Belarus in Kazakhstan “Belarus EXPO 2011”. As a part of the exposure, a presentation of the Belarusian economy will be held. Above 200 leading Belarusian companies and organizations will attend it.

A scientific and practical conference themed “Belarus-Kazakhstan: boundless cooperation” involving governmental and business circles of the two countries, a regular meeting of the Belarus-Kazakh Scientific and Technical Cooperation Commission will also take place.