The Government Of Kazakhstan Oversees Conflict Between KMG And Romania
Rompetrol is the best known business point of the relationship between Romania and Kazakhstan. Discrepancies are apparent in this case did not affect the foreign policy of our countries, Kazakhs say. The situation is still not resolved and it remains to be seen how far is where the two sides are satisfied with the result.
“He signed a memorandum of understanding by which to resolve once and for all the issue of debt, and now remains the parties who have signed to implement it, which would resolve the situation.” The statement is about the debts that the company Rompetrol owned the KazMunaiGas Romania has to pay and was made by Deputy foreign Minister of Kazakhstan.
Hydrocarbon reserves they have Kazakhstan are among the top 10 in the world.May be the reason why businesses are specializatea Kazakh oil and gas. The biggest investment that this country has made outside its borders is in Romania.The transaction is only one problem. Rompetrol debt that the company has towards the Romanian State before being acquired by Kazakh, subject to an agreement concluded by the Ponta government and KazMunaiGas. According to this memorandum, debt of nearly 600 million dollars would be rolled forward to 2020. The situation is now being investigated by DNA.
Cristina Cileacu : Rometrol and KazMunaiGas was a deal between a Romanian and a refinery owned by the Kazakh state. Former Romanian prime minister Victor Ponta came a few years ago with the proposal to delete Rompetrol debt. In the same period, Tony Blair to advise President Nazarbayev.Then Mr. Ponta was in Astana and Mr Blair came to Bucharest. Can you tell me if counsel Mr Blair had any influence on this proposal for debt forgiveness?
Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan : Let me tell you frankly, I have no information to answer this question. What I know is that it has signed a memorandum of understanding by which to resolve the issue once and for all debts, and now remains the parties that signed the memorandum to implement it, which would resolve the situation.
Cristina Cileacu : How big is your state involvement in this situation?
Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan : It is a problem we have to solve the company KazMunaiGas, KazMunaiGas and the government has complete. Of course it themselves, the government only oversees situation so that any issues can be resolved. I think broadly the issue has been resolved satisfactorily for both parties, must now be implemented with this solution and professionals dealing companies. So not affect business, as it was done with good intentions and confidence is there. There have been some delays due to objective or subjective reasons maybe, but now you just have to implement this Memorandum of Understanding.
Cristina Cileacu : So this would solve all …
Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan : Yes, that is solving the problem.
Cristina Cileacu : This business that did not work too well, affected somehow foreign policy between Romania and Kazakhstan?
Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan : No, relations between our countries are very good and are developing in a positive manner. We enjoyed mutual support on issues relating to international relations. For example, Romania supported Kazakhstan become a member of the UN Security Council, and thanked Romania for this. I was elected to this position and now we are preparing for membership for the period 2017-2018. It also supports Romania Kazakhstan for 2020-2021. This is just an example, so this issue has not affected our bilateral relations. In fact, we talk during this visit that I make now in Bucharest about expanding our bilateral relations, about expanding economic cooperation. Now economic cooperation is based on oil that we sell here, but we think it is a situation that does not support long-term for either party. We have a huge potential to be explored, specifically to expand trade in areas such as construction or agriculture.
Cristina Cileacu : Kazakshtan will invest more in Romania?
Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan : Now, the question still discussing potential investment. We live for years in a situation driven by the low price of oil, which has affected the country’s budget, we had to make budget cuts of 35-40%, and this has affected all of our investment plan. So for now we procrastinate, but our government always exploring new opportunities for collaboration with other countries. It also open economy, will be a second wave of privatizations that will start soon, and I want all countries to participate in these privatizations involving nearly 600 companies.
Russian is the second most spoken after Arabic in the Middle East wars.Caucasus and Central Asia are areas that left most mercenary to join the Islamist radical groups that are still law in Syria and Iraq. Kazakhstan is among the main countries where religious extremists have gone to join the Islamic State organization. Even though rare, terrorist attacks occur unfortunately and Kazakh territory. 25 people were killed four months ago in a series of attacks committed by Islamists.
Cristina Cileacu : Another problem lies in the region where Kazakhstan is religious extremism, to move on to other topics. You, as official reports say nearly 300 Kazakh fighters involved in the war in Syria, and at some point will return and will certainly have an impact on the local population. Your country has a strategy to address this situation?
Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan : Yes. First, I worked on legal issues, to make sure we have a legal basis to punish those who fight in foreign conflicts. It is now illegal to fight for causes other countries. So these people will return if ever, will be prosecuted according to law. Secondly, the authorities in Kazakhstan are working to be sure that potential fighters can not leave these areas of conflict. Monitoring the situation closely. Third, work hard to prevent the spread of extremist ideologies and should say that religious extremism and terrorism based on extremism has spread to many countries, as we saw this summer with attacks in Paris, in Germany, in France not just in Paris but throughout France. It affects virtually all countries in the world. We had attacks in July, which is unusual for us, was a wake-up call that governs public opinion against religious extremists and requires the government to do more to prevent such attacks in the future. We are ranked 14 or 15, I do not remember, but we’re working to create a stronger international framework against terrorism. We will work on this and seek to create a single definition of terrorism, because this time we do not have such a definition globally. And this shows the complexity of the matter, because those who are terrorists for some, are freedom fighters to others. We need to determine what is terrorism, who are the terrorists and then to create a single list of organizations worldwide. These are complex issues are not easy to solve, but we will do everything depends on us. So this is the set of measures that we are trying to implement to combat this problem. Of course, an important dimension of this process is to continue social and economic development of the country. We are maybe a little too pleased with the growth that we had in Kazakhstan in the last 25 years of independence.This was a good guarantee against the growth of religious extremism. It turned out that I had absolutely right, some people found it best to join ideas very religious, so we should have a better ability to fight contraideologică, that he might prevent people to turn to extremism .
The recent rapprochement between Russia and Turkey is mainly due to diplomacy pursued by the two countries, which have close relations with both powers: Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. These countries have become channels of communication after the Kremlin and Ankara began a war of statements after felling by the Turkish army a Russian aircraft in November last year.
Cristina Cileacu : Turkish leaders thanked Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan for involvement in restoring good relations between Turkey and Russia. Can you give us more details about your government intervention in this matter?
Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan : Sure. You know, Kazakhstan is close to Russia, historic and near and Turkey, relations with thousands of years old, common roots, common history and culture, because both peoples are Turkic-speaking. When this situation arose between Turkey and Russia and has affected us because if two of your friends are fighting, this can not possibly be good for you. This has affected our trade with Turkey, because Russia has imposed sanctions on Turkish exports, and we are part of Eurasia economic region, with the Russians …
Cristina Cileacu : So Russia is a friend “better” than Turkey?
Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan : No, say it was a difficult situation for us and I wanted to fix it. What happened was that in November last year, our president worked personally to resolve this issue, brokered between President Putin of Russia and President Erdogan of Turkey and has worked with some people from the Turkish government and finally it was about our diplomats who worked to draft the letter sent between Turkish President Erdogan President Putin.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, according to 2006 was among the first who noted the economic potential of Kazakhstan. Rapprochement between Blair and President Nazarbayev, which continued after the first was not the head of government, has led many Kazakhs image benefits to countries in the West.Precisely because the two countries have special ties remains to be seen what impact it will have on their economies Brexit.
Cristina Cileacu : Another friend of Kazakhstan is the UK’s third investor in your country, as far as I know. Brexit how it will affect economic relations between Kazakhstan and Great Britain?
Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan : We have signed bilateral agreements with the United Kingdom and created all economic foundation for cooperation between our countries. So potential output of Great Britain in the European Union, whenever it happens, will not affect our economic ties. Of course, we believe that the European Union is the best integration initiative that has been on the European continent, we support a strong and united Europe. Europe is our largest trading partner economically, is the largest investment partner, we want a stronger Europe, more stable and economically developed, is our top priority. We will respect all decisions taken by the British government when deciding to leave the European Union, as the British people wanted, but I think our political and economic ties will not be affected, we will ensure that they will continue to develop.
China and Kazakhstan have had tense moments over time, but these have been overcome. Now the two neighbors are strategic partners. Military cooperation is focused mainly on combating terrorist networks in Central Asia. China and Kazakhstan have an agreement that will coordinate this type of special troops fighting radical groups. However, China has, however, quite unlikely to reduce the influence that Russia has on Kazakhs.
Cristina Cileacu : Relations with China are improving, especially on defense.How has transformed this relationship, the less close friends, so to speak, perhaps a word stronger enemies, and reached so good links?
Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan : When we became independent 25 years ago, I was faced with a problem of border demarcation with China. In the past there were conflicts between China and the Soviet Union including in Kazakhstan, but these things happen in 1969, Soviet times. During our independence we were able to completely resolve the border issue with China and turn our neighborhood into an advantage for us. For example, in the past, 20 years ago, Kazakhstan trade with China was 500 million dollars somewhere. Now it is 17 billion dollars and continues to grow, China is one of our top three trading partners. China is one of our top investors and each year dozens of new signing trade agreements tens of billions of dollars. Chinese companies hold a third of oil production in Kazakhstan. I therefore turned China into a proximity advantage. Kazakhstan is usually a balanced policy with many vectors that prioritize good relations with Russia, with China, good relations with the West. We feel that there is enough room for everyone to enjoy profitable relationships with us, with Kazakhstan and with regional neighbors. This is evident in the fact that the balance is similar to the one we have in the oil and gas sector. If you look at investment in this sector, which represents the bulk of our economy, you see the same situation that we have at the political level. As I said, China controls a third of our oil, US and European companies are equally involved in investment are large investors, also Russia. If you look at the routes Transportation departing from Kazakhstan and transports oil, because we are the largest manufacturer oil, you will notice also that oil pipelines and gas reflects the same policy, because they depart from us, crossing Russia come into the Black sea. Go east to China, and send with oil vessels to Iran, and from there to international markets. Then send oil from Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea to Baku and then to the Turkish port of Ceyhan in the Mediterranean. These things reflect our foreign policy perspective. So relations with China fit into this vision of mutual benefit, equal relations with all our neighbors.
Cristina Cileacu : There will be Chinese investment in Rompetrol?
Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan : A private Chinese company agreed to buy part of the shares of Rompetrol and I think this issue just now implemented. But business is done and requires Chinese partners to enter into Rompetrol Chinese Kazakhs to sell part of Rompetrol by the end of the year.
This year they celebrated 25 years since the nuclear tests have been concluded that the Soviet Union was doing in the territory of Kazakhstan. The moment was marked by the United Nations by declaring 29 August as the International Day against Nuclear Tests. Testing the effects are still felt today, and Kazakhs are motivated to stop this kind of experiments worldwide, once and for all.
Cristina Cileacu : Another project you have your country is the project ATOM, who wants to stop forever all nuclear tests worldwide. But you have a problem, we all have a problem with tests carried out by North Korea, especially lately. Do you think this project will be a success, if we look at the current situation?
Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan : It is a project that talks about the terrible consequences of nuclear weapons testing that we had and Kazakhstan. I had 450 nuclear tests, which affected 1.5 million people for 40 years asttel tests. We consider it our moral obligation to insist on a complete ban on nuclear tests. Of course there are eight countries and whose position will depend on the entry into force of this treaty banning nuclear tests.They are North Korea, which you mentioned, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Israel, Egypt and the USA. Of course none of these countries, except North Korea nuclear test is not more than 10 years. What we believe is that there is an overwhelming desire of the population in many countries see nuclear tests forever prohibited.