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The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, Kairat Abdrakhmanov, held a meeting in Astana on May 24 with the Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, Sir Simon MacDonald.
The Foreign Minister expressed his sincere sympathy to the families of the victims of the terrorist attack in Manchester and handed over a letter of condolences from the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May. The Minister noted that Kazakhstan firmly and resolutely condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and stands for the consistent and practical cooperation of the entire international community in the fight against this evil.
During the meeting, the sides discussed the current state and prospects of bilateral and multilateral cooperation on a wide range of issues. The diplomats positively evaluated the results of the joint work on implementing the agreements reached during President Nazarbayev's visit to London in November 2015.
Kazakhstan's foreign policy attaches considerable attention to the British track, which is demonstrated by strong partnerships not only at the highest level, but also between businesses, academic circles and governmental bodies of the two states. The two countries are driven by a mutual desire to further strengthen partnership in bilateral and multilateral formats.
The sides touched upon the preparation for the EXPO 2017 international exhibition, which will launch in Astana on 10 June. The British side reaffirmed its readiness to participate in the exhibition at a high level, noting that it is an excellent opportunity for London to show the world its latest technological and innovative developments in the field of energy.
“We will be happy to welcome a representative of the British delegation this summer in Astana and are looking forward to the wide and productive participation of British companies in the exhibition,” Mr. Abdrakhmanov noted. The British pavilion at the EXPO 2017 will be one of the largest and will be presented in the form of a yurt.
“One of the main areas of Kazakhstan's foreign policy is attracting foreign investment and supporting domestic exporters. In this regard, it is necessary to consider diversifying bilateral cooperation from the traditionally dominant spheres of oil, gas and mining industry to agriculture, healthcare and technological innovation,” Mr. Abdrakhmanov emphasized, noting the importance of taking into account the forthcoming UK exit from the European Union in the process of planning further bilateral trade and economic cooperation.
The Minister also proposed the establishment of a regular exchange of experience between the two foreign ministries in order to disseminate best practices and enhance the diplomats' professionalism.
The meeting also appraised the role of the Astana Process on Syria, which the global community considers as an important and real chance to end the violence in the country, in addition to the main UN-led Geneva talks.
The sides also discussed Kazakhstan's activities in the UN Security Council and its preparation for the chairmanship in the main UN political body in January 2018. The head of the Kazakh foreign ministry noted the country's responsible approach and intentions to further promote regional interests of Central Asian countries, focusing on assistance in stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan.