In Focus: Foreign Policy Priorities
Strengthening UN & Int’l security
Kazakhstan, Japan and CTBTO seek discussions ahead of Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review
Kazakhstan, Japan and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) issued a joint appeal to launch the first of a series of preparatory discussions ahead of the 2020 review of the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
Vienna is hosting the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the NPT May 2-12. This is the first of three planned sessions prior to the 2020 Review Conference.
Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Executive Secretary of the CTBTO Lassina Zerbo issued a joint appeal on the CTBT.
At a joint press conference on May 2, Kishida, Zerbo and Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the UN offices in Vienna Kairat Sarybay presented the document.
In his remarks, Sarybay spoke of Kazakhstan’s decision to shut down one of the world’s largest nuclear test sites in Semipalatinsk in 1991, paving the way for the adoption of the CTBT five years later. Sarybay mentioned that 20 years after its opening for signature, the treaty has not yet entered into force.
Sarybay stated that the joint appeal “reflects not only the wishes of both countries’ peoples, but also the wish of the global community,” adding that The ATOM Project petition initiative launched by Kazakhstan has so far gained more than 300,000 signatures from around the world in support of a nuclear weapons test ban.
“We encourage the states whose ratification is needed for the entry into force of the CTBT to sign and ratify the treaty as soon as possible. Its rapid entry into force would be essential for an effective implementation of the NPT,” he noted.
Hosting EXPO 2017
Entertainment, cultural events to be presented around Astana during EXPO 2017
The Astana akimat (city administration) will present free and paid cultural and entertainment events throughout the city during EXPO 2017.
Events will include international festivals and exhibitions, concerts by local and international stars, classical and folk music performances, theatrical premieres, circus performances, festivities on the square near the Baiterek monument, on the City Square and at local parks. Jazz, electronic, pop, and rock music will be performed as well as an international street dance festival.
In addition to the capital’s artists, teams of ethnocultural associations and ensembles from different regions of Kazakhstan will perform.
The Astana akimat will also present for the first time the Astana Dauysy international music festival and Chinese Kung Fu show and Russian showman Alexander Maslyakov will host the July 1 Summer Cup comedy competition featuring previous champions.
Some of the programmes will be in open areas. For example, Nurly Zhol (formerly Water-Green) Boulevard will feature the Astana Art Festival, which has become a platform for self-expression and creative ideas. Family events will be held at city parks each weekend and the banks of the Yessil River host laser shows and Yessil Keshteri concerts.
IMF expects significant Kazakh GDP growth in 2018
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently issued an optimistic forecast of 3.4 percent Kazakh GDP growth in 2018. This year will reach 2.5 percent.
The optimistic forecast reflects higher oil production and substantial fiscal stimulus spending.
The sharp exchange rate depreciation in late 2015 - early 2016 triggered a surge in consumer prices, but inflation has come down to levels consistent with the National Bank of Kazakhstan’s target range.
As to the non-oil sector of the economy, growth is expected to gradually increase to 4 percent, benefiting from structural reforms and a resumption of bank lending.
Altogether, the experts commended the authorities’ policy response, which helped Kazakhstan weather the impact of lower oil prices and slower growth in key trading partners. Policy efforts ahead should focus on strengthening the macroeconomic frameworks, addressing financial sector issues, and implementing reforms to boost and diversify growth.
The IMF forecast regarding Kazakh GDP growth in 2016 was more pessimistic expecting just 0.6 percent. (imf.org)