Cyprus’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Visits Astana

Apr 03. MFA

Cyprus’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Visits AstanaMinister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis arrived in Kazakhstan on an official visit on April 2. She met Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov, Chairman of the Senate Kairat Mami, Secretary of State Mukhtar Kul-Mukhammed, Minister of Education and Science Bakhytzhan Zhumagulov and Minister of Economic Development and Trade Bakhytzhan Sagintayev. Several documents on bilateral cooperation were signed, and Cyprus’s President’s visit to Kazakhstan was discussed.

During the talks, Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov stressed the importance of the meeting, which coincided with the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and Cyprus. According to him, “the Cyprian Foreign Minister’s first official visit to Astana is the practical implementation of agreements reached by the presidents of our countries in September 2011 in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly”.

The heads of foreign ministries reviewed the status and prospects of bilateral and multilateral cooperation and exchanged views on cooperation within international organizations, discussed the urgent issues of contemporary international relations, including the situation in Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Bilateral cooperation in transportation, infrastructure, telecommunications, energy, tourism, mutual trips of citizens was also discussed.

Kazykhanov noted Kazakhstan has started the implemention of accelerated industrialisation, and invited leading companies of Cyprus to participate in breakthrough projects. According to him, “the business community of Cyprus could go further into the promising markets of Central Asia and West China, using the potential of the Customs Union”.

Referring to Cyprus’s upcoming presidency in the European Union in the second half of 2012, Kazykhanov introduced Kazakhstan’s major initiatives in deepening cooperation with the EU, noting the importance of the early signing of a new Agreement on expanded partnership and cooperation between Kazakhstan and the EU.

Kozakou-Marcoullis stressed that cooperation between the two countries will be continued not only bilaterally, but also through multilateral diplomacy, and expressed confidence that in the next 20 years, “Kazakhstan and Cyprus will become closer in many areas”.

Following the talks, a Protocol on Cooperation and Consultations between the foreign ministries of Kazakhstan and Cyprus was signed, according to which regular ministerial consultations on important bilateral and international issues are to be held.

The sides also discussed the forthcoming official visit of the President of Cyprus Demetris Christofias to Kazakhstan in 2012.

“Agreements will be signed during the visit of the President of Cyprus to Kazakhstan,” Kozakou-Marcoullis said at a news briefing following talks with Kazykhanov. Cyprus’s Foreign Minister assured the Kazakh side that in her country “Kazakhstan has a very close and trusted friend in the European Union”.

Senate Speaker Kairat Mami noted at the meeting with Kozakou-Marcoullis that “over the years of cooperation the sides have achieved strong political consensus, which allows the dynamic development of bilateral ties in all areas of intergovernmental cooperation”. Mami stressed the importance of the Foreign Minister’s visit for the development of inter-parliamentary relations. He called for the creation of friendship groups in the parliaments of Kazakhstan and Cyprus and noted that “groups of cooperation with parliamentarians of many countries in the world are successfully functioning in the Senate and the Majilis”. Kozakou-Marcoullis supported the proposal and stressed that “inter-parliamentary cooperation is an important part of bilateral cooperation”.

During the meeting of Secretary of State Mukhtar Kul-Mukhammed with Kozakou-Marcoullis in Akorda, the parties noted a significant enhancement of bilateral relations in recent years. Good results have been achieved in the fields of economy, science and education. Kul-Mukhammed praised the support Cyprus has provided to Kazakhstan’s international initiatives. Kozakou-Marcoullis thanked him for the warm welcome and expressed readiness and deep interest of Cyprus in further cooperation with Kazakhstan.

Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis also had a meeting with Minister of Economic Development and Trade Bakhytzhan Sagintayev. According to Sagintayev, trade turnover between the two countries in 2011 amounted to almost US$ 94 million, which is eight times higher than in 2010. Total Kazakhstan investments in Cyprus in 2011 amounted to almost US$ 2 billion. “Total amount of Cypriot investments in Kazakhstan was US$ 1.2 billion. There are about 250 joint ventures with Cypriot participation operating in our country,” Sagintayev said.

“We have a lot of draft agreements that may be signed during the visit of the President of Cyprus this year,” Kozakou-Marcoullis said.

Sagintayev, in his turn, said: “The President’s visit to our country will become a platform for the development of Kazakhstan-Cypriot relations, including those in trade and economy”.

Minister of Education and Science Bakhytzhan Zhumagulov stressed at the meeting with Kozakou-Marcoullis that cultural and educational ties between the two countries have been developing since 1992. The sides supported the idea of enhancing cooperation between the educational and scientific institutions of the two countries.

After the talks, the two Ministers signed a Memorandum between the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus in the field of scientific and technical cooperation. The Memorandum is aimed at establishing and developing mutually beneficial scientific and technical ties.

The two sides discussed the possibility of signing another agreement on recognition of diplomas, after which Kozakou-Marcoullis invited Zhumagulov to pay an official visit to Cyprus.