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October 20, 2019 marks the 27th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Croatia.
The peoples of Kazakhstan and Croatia have long-standing historical traditions of friendship and cooperation. Back in the 13th century, Croatian merchants delivered various goods from Central Asia to Europe along the Silk Road trade routes. The great traveller Marco Polo, a native of the Croatian island of Korčula, studied the customs of the Great Steppe well, knew the language and traditions of nomadic tribes, describing them in his famous "Book on the diversity of the world."
Kazakhstanis and Croats together liberated Europe from fascism during the Second World War. In the battles for the liberation of Yugoslavia, the 73rd Guards Division formed in Kazakhstan showed special courage. As part of the 18th partisan brigade of the 30th Yugoslav division, together with the Yugoslav partisans, Kazakh soldiers valiantly fought. So, kazakh Kh. Salimzhanov was awarded the Orders of the Silver Star and “For Courage” for military merit, as well as the Badge of Honor “Partisan of Yugoslavia”.
In the postwar years, Croatia, as part of the SFRY, maintained economic ties with the Kazakh SSR. During the period of industrial construction and development of virgin lands, Yugoslav experts took part in the construction of industrial facilities, schools, hospitals, and shopping centres. In Kazakhstan, consumer goods, shoes and clothes made in Yugoslavia were popular.
Today, Croatia is an important and promising partner of Kazakhstan in Southeast Europe. An intensive political dialogue is maintained between Nur Sultan and Zagreb.
The first President of Kazakhstan, Elbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev, visited Zagreb twice on official visits in 2001 and 2006. Croatian presidents Stepan Mesic and Ivo Josipovic have repeatedly visited Kazakhstan. During the visits, Declaration on the basis of relations between Kazakhstan and Croatia and other important documents were signed that laid a solid foundation for the development of bilateral cooperation.
In April 2019, during the visit of the Vice Prime Minister - Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia, Maria Peicinovich-Buric, to the city of Nur Sultan, the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Kazakhstan was officially open. In May of this year Honorary Consulate of Kazakhstan in the capital of Split-Dalmatia County – Split was also open.
To date, joint efforts have brought interstate relations to a high level. An active dialogue is maintained between the Foreign Ministries - in 2019, three meetings were held at the level of the heads of the foreign affairs ministries of Kazakhstan and Croatia. Interregional relations, business, cultural and humanitarian contacts are developing.
The legal framework is expanding - in 2019, the Agreement on the avoidance of double taxation, the Agreement on economic cooperation between Kazakhstan and Croatia, envisaging the formation of the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation, entered into force.
Foreign trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Croatia has a steady growth trend. According to Kazakhstan statistics, in 2018 the volume of mutual trade exceeded $ 350 million. In Kazakhstan, more than two dozen Croatian companies are registered in the fields of construction, pharmaceuticals and medicine, food industry and trade.
The further deepening of trade and economic cooperation will be facilitated by the work of the Kazakh-Croatian intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation, the first meeting of which is scheduled for early 2020.
Nur Sultan and Zagreb hold similar positions on key issues on the international agenda. Our states work closely in the framework of the UN, OSCE and other international organizations on international security, the fight against international terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking, illegal migration and other transnational challenges and threats.
An effective instrument of public diplomacy and an important channel of cultural and humanitarian ties is the Croatian-Kazakhstan Friendship Society, created in 2017.
Looking forward with optimism, Kazakhstan and Croatia intend to continue pursuing a course towards the comprehensive strengthening and development of bilateral relations for the benefit of the peoples of the two states.
Embassy of Kazakhstan in Croatia, BiH and Montenegro