Boosting the partnership potential

July 03. Kazpravda

By Laura Tusupbekova

Boosting the partnership potentialThe talks yesterday between the presidents of Kazakhstan- Nursultan Nazarbayev and of Macedonia- Gjorge Ivanov resulted in a joint statement aimed at deepening of political, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation between the two countries.

It is the first state visit of the Macedonian leader to our country, but not the first meeting with Nursultan Nazarbayev. The two state leaders first met in June 2010 at the CICA summit in Istanbul, where they discussed issues of international relations, the situation and prospects of enhancing bilateral ties.

In the same year, the second meeting of the presidents took place at the OSCE Summit in Astana. Top-level contacts between Kazakhstan and Macedonia are regular, which indicates that the two countries do not have political or other controversies and which is conductive to development of multifarious relations.

According to statistics, in 2011, bilateral trade amounted to $1.063 million. Export at that made $ 26.1 thousand, import – $ 1.04 million and decreased on-year by 1.7%. Turnover as of January – April this year stood at $ 379.5 thousand and doubled compared to the same last-year term. Nursultan Nazarbayev and Gjorge Ivanov, however, concurred on the existence of untapped potential in many areas and on the need to boost trade and investment partnership.

Despite the geographically long distance between the two countries, Kazakhstan and Macedonia have much in common. Their modern history is alike in many ways- both the republics gained independence relatively recently and plays a key role in the development of their respective regions. Macedonia is situated in the heart of Eastern Europe, and Kazakhstan is a bridge between East and West.

On Kazakhstan territory the Silk Road once ran, and the present Macedonia used to be the main road of the Roman Empire, which had left an indelible mark on the culture, customs and history of this country.

Both Macedonia and Kazakhstan are multi-ethnic, and in this respect, as Gjorge Ivanov emphasized, our republic’s experience in maintaining interethnic and interreligious harmony could be useful to his country that was recently torn by civil confrontations.

During the talks, the leaders discussed a wide range of bilateral issues, the international agenda, collaboration areas, situation in Europe, in the Middle East and Afghanistan, energy and regional security implications of the global financial crisis.

The parties focused on ways to boost contacts in energy, transport, agriculture, youth policy, tourism, and pharmaceuticals, identified measures to enhance trade and economic cooperation. G. Ivanov said that Macedonia is ready to provide free economic zones to Kazakh investors, adding that the RK today is a country with a most dynamic economy. It is a motivation for boosting the economic partnership.

In turn, Nursultan Nazarbayev invited Macedonian businessmen to share in the industrial, housing, infrastructure and other programs of our republic.

In the contacts with Macedonia, he said, developed processing in agriculture, light industry, mechanical engineering, pharmaceuticals are the topmost interest areas. Besides, Macedonia is situated in the heart of Eastern Europe, and Kazakhstan – between Europe and Asia, and therefore we hope the transport links would be particularly useful for both countries.

The documents signed subsequent to the talks are a solid legal framework for Kazakh-Macedonian cooperation. These are: an intergovernmental agreement on avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion, the agreement on encouragement and mutual protection of investments, trade and economic cooperation and other documents.

Another cementing factor in development of bilateral strategic partnership is a joint statement, identifying main cooperation areas.

Macedonia is interested in joint projects and in Kazakh tourists, G.Ivanov said. He invited Nursultan Nazarbayev to pay a visit to his country at any convenient time.

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The same day, the two leaders watched a film about Astana – “My heart -Astana,” made by Egor Mikhalkov-Konchalovsky and Alexei Golubev in cooperation with the Kazakh filmmakers, in which international team of actors, directors, cameramen, musicians from Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus and the United States was engaged.