Astana – Paris: the dynamics of mutual interest. President Nursultan Nazarbayev paid a visit to the Republic of France

Sep 20. Kazpravda

By Laura Tusupbekova

Astana - Paris: the dynamics of mutual interest. President Nursultan Nazarbayev paid a visit to the Republic of FranceEach meeting of Kazakhstan and France leaders has been marked by special warmth since establishment of relations between the two countries at the dawn of our independence. Needless to say, all these years this partnership level is conditioned not only by complementarity of economies. Confidence and mutual willingness to dialogue in the relations cements them, as reconfirmed in the presidents’ meetings. The joint Declaration adopted during this visit covers the entire spectrum of cooperation between our two countries.

History of Partnership

Paris. Presidential board lands at the “Orly” airport for one day only, as after France it is departing to New York, for the President to be at the 66th Session of UN General Assembly. The visit at the invitation of Nicolas Sarkozy was paid en-route, and it was fruitful in spite of the shortness.

Ever since Nicolas Sarkozy was elected President in 2007 the top-level meetings have been frequent. For the first time the two leaders met for a t?te-?-t?te talk in New York on the sidelines of the 62nd UN General Assembly session, in 2007, where they formed a good impression of each other. The visit of RK President to France in 2008 was a breakthrough in the relations between the two states. That was when the strategic partnership agreement was signed between Kazakhstan and France.

This time the Kazakh Leader was given a high state award of France – “Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor.”

In 2009, during Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to Kazakhstan it was agreed to establish a commission “Nazarbayev – Sarkozy” to coordinate regular contacts. In that year, Nursultan Nazarbayev gave the President of France Kazakhstan’s highest award – “Altyn Kyran” (“Golden Eagle”) Order for the contribution to development of Kazakh-French relations.

All the reached agreements and the partnership tools were talked over during the next visit of the Kazakh President to France in 2010, and the parties noted significant progress in the political, economic and humanitarian areas and exchanged views on a wide range of issues. Astana and Paris cooperate successfully on the international agenda too. Nicolas Sarkozy was a first foreign leader to support Kazakhstan’s initiative of hosting the OSCE summit in Astana. France acknowledges Kazakhstan’s part in the Caucasus conflict settlement, in fighting against intolerance and extremism, and in building of new relations with neighboring states.

Economic cooperation is making a good pace: 22 finalized joint investment projects and 13 currently under implementation. Nursultan Nazarbayev noted that as of 2010 France is the 4th trade partner to Kazakhstan (after Russia, China and Italy). The volume of trade amounted to about $ 5 billion, or 28% more than in 2009.

Logical climate of trust

The level of our economies’ “interlacing” is obvious, but there is no limit to perfection. Therefore Nursultan Nazarbayev’s meeting with the leaders of major French companies added to the business partnership. It was a meeting with the CEOs of “Alstom” – Patrick Kron, “Aubert & Duval” – Georges Duval and senior executive vice president of the company “Air Liquide” Pierre Dufour – the companies that had previously signed agreements with Kazakhstan’s . JSC “NC” Kazakhstan Temir Joly “and company” Alstom “agreed to establish a JV for production in Kazakhstan of electric point machines..

An agreement was also signed between JSC “Kazatomprom” and the Bureau of Geological and Mining Research of France on creating a joint lab for rare metals. Another significant event in this visit was launch of a joint titanium business in Les Ansiz. Thus, Ust-Kamenogorsk Titanium-Magnesium Works and the company “Aubert & Duval” opened two Kazakh-French productions to manufacture parts for Airbus France in Ust-Kamenogorsk and in Les Ansiz. With launch of the production of titanium ingots in Ust-Kamenogorsk Kazakhstan’s final product, as provided by the long-term contract worth $ 1.4 billion, will be delivered for the airbus aircraft. The French business community explains this willingness to cooperate by a logical argument – in the interview they mentioned that Kazakhstan is a country that inspires confidence thanks to pragmatic domestic and foreign policies that focus on social stability and economic development.

Partnership Declaration

One of the main parts of the current talks at the Elysee Palace was the meeting of the commission “Nazarbayev – Sarkozy” resulting in signed Joint Declaration in which the parties welcomed the dynamic development of Kazakh-French relations in the framework of strategic partnership. Nicolas Sarkozy congratulated President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Kazakhstan’s twentieth anniversary of Independence. The document emphasizes that over the time in question Kazakhstan has managed to overcome serious challenges and create conditions for sustainable economic growth, as well as for peaceful coexistence of the country’s many ethnic and religious communities.

The Declaration states that the closure of the nuclear test site 20 years ago was a gesture of paramount importance for promoting peace, international stability and disarmament. The heads of state agreed that in the world prone to rapid change maintaining the stability of our countries goes hand in hand with the need for deep reforms in all spheres – economic, social and political – and that the global economic and financial crisis would be overcome by preserving and strengthening of democratic and social achievements of the recent years.

Success of OSCE summit in Astana is marked, and need for improving the global governance at the central role of the UN.

In addition, Nicolas Sarkozy congratulated Nursultan Nazarbayev on Kazakhstan’s chairmanship in the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The heads of state emphasized the importance of developing cooperation between OIC, EU and the OSCE in mutual interest areas, specifically, OIC participation in the Group of Friends of Libya. Problems of Afghanistan were touched upon. The heads of state reaffirmed their determination for a joint struggle against terrorism and proliferation of mass destruction weapons.

France welcomed the expansion of Kazakhstan’s cooperation with the Council of Europe, and Astana applying for accession to the European conventions on mutual assistance in criminal matters, on the International validity of judicial decisions in criminal matters; transfer of criminal proceedings, as well as on criminal and civil liability for corruption.

Development of integration cooperation is reflected in the Declaration too. The sides expressed satisfaction with negotiations started June 27, 2011 on the future agreement on enhanced cooperation and partnership between Kazakhstan and the European Union. President Nursultan Nazarbayev expressed his support for the initiatives of French presidency of the G20, and President Nicolas Sarkozy welcomed the commitment of Kazakhstan to cooperate closely with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Growing momentum of Astana Economic Forum was noted.

Nicolas Sarkozy congratulated the RK President in connection with a powerful economic development of Kazakhstan and wished every success to the ongoing policy of diversification and innovation, in which French companies are ready to take part.

The heads of state hailed the numerous and important advances in the recent years in bilateral economic relations, and wished them to be further strengthened. Upcoming in this year meetings of the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation in Paris and the Business Council in Astana will promote many projects and identify new prospects for bilateral economic and trade and industrial and technological cooperation. Among them is launching of direct air routes between Astana and Paris, which implies more frequent meetings in future. By the way, 2013 will be the Year of French culture in Kazakhstan, and 2014- the Year of Kazakh Culture in France.

Nicolas Sarkozy accepted the invitation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev to visit Kazakhstan again. Dates of the visit will be arranged through diplomatic channels.