First Official Visit To Kazakhstan Of A Romanian Foreign Minister After 9 Years
First official visit to Kazakhstan of a Romanian Foreign Minister after 9 years. ForMin Melescanu: Kazakhstan is Romania’s most important economic partner in Central Asia; energy, the main pillar of relations.
“Romania has been a constant supporter of the development of relations between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan”.
Romania has been a constant supporter of the development of relations between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, a testimony in that respect being the ratification by the Romanian Parliament of the EU-Kazakhstan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, and the central piece of the Romanian Pavilion at Expo Astana 2017 – the Magurele-based ELI-NP high-power laser – along with the presence of very important companies such as Rompetrol and OMV Petrom, signals the Romanian state’s interest in joining Kazakhstan’s efforts to develop projects closely related to “Future Energy”, the theme of the international exhibition, Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu said on Friday in Astana.
The Romanian Foreign Minister paid an official visit to the Republic of Kazakhstan on July 27-28, in order to attend Romania’s Day at the ‘Expo 2017 Astana Future Energy’ international exhibition and to mark 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. This was the first bilateral visit paid by a Romanian Foreign Minister after 9 years.
Romania’s National Day at Expo 2017 Astana
“The Extreme Light Infrastructure (Nuclear Physics) project at Magurele will be the most advanced research facility in the world focused on the study of photonuclear physics and its applications. This unique experimental combination of ELI-NP will allow the undertaking of a broad range of research topics in fundamental physics, nuclear and astrophysical physics and applied research to materials’ science, nuclear material management and life sciences. I am confident that the ‘Future Energy’ Astana EXPO 2017 will be the starting point for a new level of quality within the framework of our global economic cooperation in terms of diversifying and bringing together a larger variety of economic actors, including small and medium-sized enterprises,” Melescanu said at the opening of the official ceremony of Romania’s National Day at EXPO 2017 Astana ‘Future Energy.’
He also deemed that the history of bilateral relations is relevant not just from a political, diplomatic or economic standpoint but also from the standpoint of interaction between people, of the ties between the citizens of the two countries and of the interest to get to better know each other’s culture and traditions, the Foreign Affairs Minister said.
“I am very pleased to be here today and to open, on behalf of Romania, the official ceremony of Romania’s National Day at EXPO 2017 Astana ‘Future Energy’ at a very special time for the bilateral relations between Romania and the Republic of Kazakhstan, a very special moment for the Republic of Kazakhstan as an independent state. This month we celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations (15 July) in a very special context, such as this international exhibition. I use this opportunity to congratulate the Republic of Kazakhstan for hosting such a prestigious event, as well as for obtaining the status of non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council,” Melescanu said.
According to him, in complex moments and in a world that is continuously on the move, education and inter-personal contacts are the key elements that can ensure mutual understanding and support the values shared by the two countries, becoming bridges between areas that are sometimes affected by distance, by geography.
“I reiterate Romania’s interest in developing bilateral relations in all areas with the Republic of Kazakhstan, and our Ambassador Cezar Armeanu will play an important role in this respect. I am proud to see the interest shown by our institutions and experts regarding cooperation in various fields such as education, science and culture: establishing the first language, culture and civilization lecture in Central Asia, in the Karaganda region, as well as contacts between the famous universities in Romania (Babes-Bolyai University and the Polytechnic University of Bucharest) and Kazakhstan’s very important educational centres (‘EABuketov’ Academy, Karaganda State University, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, ‘LN Gumiliyov’ Eurasian National University),” the Romanian official specified.
Energy, the main pillar of Romania-Kazakhstan bilateral relations
“Kazakhstan is Romania’s most important economic partner in Central Asia, and energy represents the main pillar of economic relations between the two countries”, Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Melescanu stated on Friday, after meeting his Kazakh counterpart Kairat Abdrakhmanov.
“Energy is the main pillar of our economic relations. Energy is the key of any modern economy, while diversification is the basis for stable and sustainable development. In other words, less vulnerability on external markets, to external shocks. Kazakhstan is Romania’s most important economic partner in Central Asia, it has a special status from the standpoint of human interaction, of the links between our peoples and of our interest to get to better know each other’s culture and tradition. Our approaches concerning connectivity and international freight transport are similar and inclusive, and through their location, the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea represent bridges between Europe and Asia,” Melescanu said.
The Romanian diplomat pointed out that his visit to Kazakhstan led to concrete results, namely the signing of two bilateral documents, namely a joint declaration occasioned by the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and a Cooperation Agreement between the Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and its Kazakh counterpart (ATAMEKEN).
“This is the second day of my visit to Kazakhstan. This month we celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations. More precisely, on July 15, Romania was among the first states to recognise the independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Later on, we will mark Romania’s National Day at the Astana exhibition. In 25 years, Kazakhstan has become a respected member of the international community, a model for its region, Central Asia. I’ve shared my expectations to my counterpart, Kairat Abdrakhmanov, expectations that are included in our bilateral agenda, namely: political contacts, economic cooperation, cultural exchanges, education, people-to-people contacts,” Melescanu pointed out.
According to him, there are places “to explore” in the energy sector, but also in a large variety of fields such as IT, SMEs, research-development, transport and agriculture.
“We agreed we should continue the ministerial dialogue in order to implement the joint action plan for 2017-2018. We are anxiously waiting for the 13th session of the mixed economic commission that will take place in October, in Bucharest, in order to establish the next steps of this visit and the business opportunities offered by Expo Astana 2017. Last but not least, we exchanged points of view regarding topics concerning the European Union, ahead of Romania taking over the presidency of the Council of the EU in 2019. Kazakhstan is the European Union’s most advanced partner in Central Asia also from the standpoint of the pending process of ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA). Parliament ratified this agreement this spring. Last but not least, we discussed key topics on the regional and international agenda, based on the similarity of our stances that fully observe the principles and norms of international law,” Minister Teodor Melescanu added.
In his turn, Kazakh Foreign Affairs Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov stated that the Kazakh side expressed its interest in participating in Romanian businesses.
“I’ve invited our Romanian friends to invest in our country. We welcome the work taking place within the Romanian-Kazakh Commission, within technical-scientific cooperation, and our next meeting will take place on October 4, in Bucharest. I’ve agreed with my Romanian colleagues to develop cultural and educational exchanges and it’s very important for us. I would like us to prioritise the development of relations with Romania, which is one of our most important partners in Eastern Europe and the Balkans,” the Kazakh Foreign Affairs Minister stated.
Governor: Karaganda offers special customs taxes and fees to favour investments
Kazakhstan offers a favourable environment for investments, and a special economic zone has been created on the territory of the Karaganda region, where preferential tax system and customs system operate, featuring very good conditions for business development, Karaganda Governor Yerlan Koshanov stated on Thursday, during a meeting with a Romanian delegation led by Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Melescanu.
“From the standpoint of size, Karaganda spans a surface area as great as two Romanias, with a population of approximately 1.5 million people. The region’s economic basis consists of metallurgy, mining and automotive industry. Karaganda has important natural resources. Basically, the whole periodic table can be found in the subsoil. Our country’s production is exported to 52 countries, including Romania,” Koshanov pointed out.
According to him, Karaganda represents not only an important industrial centre but also a political cultural and scientific one.
The Governor emphasised that this region represents a special economic area suitable for the drawing of foreign investment.
“A favourable environment for investments has been created in Kazakhstan, and a special economic area has been set up on the territory of the Karaganda region, featuring preferential regimes in what concerns the tax system, the customs system; there are very good conditions for business development. Likewise, we propose to analyse collaboration projects in the education sphere, the exchange of experience and the training of professors for technical education institutions,” Koshanov told the Romanian delegation.
Moreover, he expressed his interest in the development of bilateral cooperation in the field of tourism.
“We are ready to develop bilateral interaction in the tourism sector too. There are tourism areas in our region. For instance, the earthly remains of Ghenghis Khan’s son are on the territory of the Karaganda region. Honestly, we are interested in developing bilateral relations throughout the whole spectrum of collaboration,” the Governor gave assurances.
He pointed out the Romanian delegation is the first foreign delegation he meets, since he was only recently appointed in office, and that Romania is the first country he visited many years ago.
“I’ve been appointed governor of the region only recently. You are the first foreign delegation I meet and, during the Soviet Union’s time, Romania was the first country I visited. It was the period when the Ceausescu regime was just collapsing, there were several days of mourning. The purpose of your visit here is to visit the monument in Spassk, built in the honour of the servicemen, of the people who died during the period of repression. These are tragic pages of our history. These tragic pages have to do with the fact that a camp was here. It was the largest prisoner of war camp. Around one million servicemen went through this camp. Still, this is our history, our memory… We thank you for paying homage to those who lost their lives,” Yerlan Koshanov said.
Likewise, the official gave assurances that the country he represents is a multinational one, over 100 ethnicities living on its territory.
“Today, in our world, Kazakhstan is a country that loves peace, it’s a multinational country. Over 100 ethnicities live on Kazakhstan’s territory. As you know, at the initiative of our president, an institution unique through its nature has been set up in Kazakhstan, for good inter-ethnic cohabitation: the Assembly of Peoples. We have approximately 80,000 cultural organisations, including 24 large regional centres for the preservation of cultural identity. In 2005, the largest association of Romanians who live in Karaganda was established in Karaganda, the Dacia Cultural Association. The University of Karaganda, the largest university in Kazakhstan, has a Romanian language and literature department,” he emphasised.
In his turn, Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu pointed out that Romania has “a very clearly defined” interest in what concerns the existence of an important Romanian community in the Karaganda region.
“Apart from the fact that we want to express our respect for all those who died in this region in the Second World War, and for those who were deported during the Stalinist period – Romanians, Germans, Poles and many others – we also have a very clearly defined interest that has to do with the existence of an important Romanian community in the Karaganda region,” Melescanu pointed out.
On October 4, Bucharest will host the session of the mixed commission for economic and technical-scientific cooperation
The Romanian Minister emphasised that the desire is to expand relations with Kazakhstan on the economic plane, but also to collaborate on a technical, scientific and medical plane.
“In the talks I had today (Thursday – editor’s note) with the Kazakh Premier (Bakytzhan Sagintaev – editor’s note), I very clearly expressed our desire to develop relations with Kazakhstan on two different planes. The first, not to rely exclusively on energy – which is the main field of our collaboration – but to extend it to other fields too: agriculture, food industry, IT etc. and to carry out a double expansion. On one hand, to go and expand economic collaboration to other fields too, and the second recommendation I made was to expand collaboration in the technical, scientific, medical field,” he explained.
In this sense, the session of the mixed commission of economic and technical-scientific cooperation will take place in Bucharest, on October 4, a series of concrete bilateral projects set to be discussed on this occasion.
Likewise, on Friday, July 28, an agreement of collaboration was signed between the Romanian Chamber of Commerce and its Kazakh counterpart organisation. Moreover, the Polytechnic University of Bucharest and the University of Karaganda signed a memorandum of understanding for an exchange of students and professors.
“A special event for us – and I thank you on behalf of the Romanian Government – is the opening of the Romanian language department at the University of Karaganda, which is a first. In all of Central Asia this is the only department teaching the Romanian language, and the Dacia Association is one of the association with very rich activity in maintaining cultural and spiritual identity and, in our view, this means an actual implementation of Kazakhstan’s policy regarding respect for as higher as possible number of ethnicities that live in Kazakhstan. My attention was drawn to the fact that you have a preferential taxation policy in the Karaganda region, so this is a very good argument for Romanian companies that want to invest here. You’ve also gained an ambassador for Karaganda in Romania,” the Foreign Minister added.
“We have a delegation that covers all the possible fields of bilateral cooperation,” Melescanu added.
After meeting the Karaganda authorities, Teodor Melescanu, along with the members of the Romanian delegation, laid a wreath at the monument of the Romanian victims of Stalinist camps (the Monument in Spassk) and visited the State Technical University in Karaganda.
From the standpoint of the promotion of the Romanian language, culture and values, Karaganda stands out through the Romanian language department of the ‘Academician E.A. Buketov’ State University, a unique project in Central Asia.