Kazakhstan and Afghanistan sign a package of agreements to promote cooperation

June 15. MFA

Kazakhstan and Afghanistan sign a package of agreements to promote cooperationOn June 13-14, Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov paid an official visit to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,

The programme included his meetings with the Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Speaker of the Parliament Abdul Rauf Ibrahim, Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul and other top government officials.

Conveying his best wishes to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Hamid Karzai highlighted Kazakhstan’s leadership in the region along with the country’s steady economic development. The leader of Afghanistan expressed his hope that Kazakhstan will contribute into the settlement process and termed bilateral cooperation between Kabul and Astana as need of the hour.

Minister Kazykhanov congratulated President Karzai on recent election of Afghanistan as an observer in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and expressed Kazakhstan’s determination to further extend bilateral relations.

Later in the day, Yerzhan Kazykhanov held negotiations with his Afghan counterpart Zalmai Rassoul. During the talks, the parties discussed issues of mutual interest and exchanged their views on key international problems, including that of regional security, as well as the situation in Central and South Asia, and Afghanistan itself.

“It is very symbolic that my visit to Kabul takes place in the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our states. Kazakhstan and Afghanistan have developed strong relations based on friendship and trust over these years,” Yerzhan Kazykhanov said at a press conference following the talks with Zalmai Rassoul.

The negotiations, which were held in a constructive and cordial atmosphere, have reaffirmed the friendly nature of relationship between Kazakhstan and Afghanistan, Kazykhanov underscored.

Among the issues discussed during the meeting were major areas of Kazakh-Afghan relations and future prospects of trade-economic and investment cooperation, along with joint projects in the field of railway transport, mining, agriculture, disaster management, telecommunications and energy.

“We have promoted the development of the agenda on cooperation between our countries in international and regional organizations. The cooperation between Kazakhstan and Afghanistan is gradually being developed within the UN, CICA, SCO, Istanbul Process and other regional structures,” Kazykhanov said.

“Our countries have great potential to increase bilateral trade. The realization of investment projects in energy, agriculture, transport, construction and infrastructure projects development is very promising,” he added.

After the talks, the two sides signed a range of important documents, including the two intergovernmental agreements on investment promotion and cooperation in the prevention of emergency situations, as well as the Memorandum of Understanding on political consultations.

“I hope the agreements signed today will enhance the relations between our countries,” Kazykhanov contended.

While in Kabul, Kazakh Foreign Minister attended the Conference on Afghanistan of the “Heart of Asia” countries within the framework of the Istanbul Process.

In his speech, delivered at the Conference, Yerzhan Kazykhanov said: “In our view, successful dialogue on national reconciliation inside the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is of paramount importance. The common challenges could realistically be met only through internal accord. Economic projects and social programmes for the benefit of the Afghan people can be implemented only on the basis of stability and security”.

In Kazykhanov’s words, to resolve the problems confronting Afghanistan, the world needs a flexible cooperation mechanism involving all international organizations and regional arrangements, first of all, the United Nations, as well as OSCE, European Union, NATO, SCO, CSTO and others.

“As for Kazakhstan, it has been consistently taking concrete steps in that direction, as was the case during our OSCE Chairmanship in 2010 and as is the case during our Chairmanship in the OIC CFM. Similar work is under way within CICA, convened under the initiative of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Since the membership of “Heart of Asia” countries and the CICA overlap, and the CBMs identified as priorities under the Istanbul process correspond to those of CICA, there are synergies between the two to address the urgent needs of Afghanistan,” Kazakh Foreign Minister said.

In conclusion, he reaffirmed Kazakhstan’s commitment to a continued cooperation with Afghanistan, both bilateral and multilateral. Yerzhan Kazykhanov also held a number of bilateral meetings with several heads of delegations attending the conference.