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Nazarbayev Meets with Hollande, Business Leaders in Paris
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev paid an official visit to France Nov. 5-6, meeting French President François Hollande and holding talks with French business and political circles. Nazarbayev also participated in the 38th session of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) General Conference.
In their meeting, the two leaders discussed international issues and bilateral cooperation, with Nazarbayev emphasising the potential the two countries have in trade, economic, investment, cultural, humanitarian and aerospace cooperation. President Hollande visited Astana in December 2014.
Following the talks, a presidential joint declaration was adopted, as well as a joint declaration by the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan and the French Ministry of Higher Education and Science. The parties also signed an agreement confirming France’s participation in EXPO 2017 in Astana and adopted a declaration of intention to cooperate in space between the Aerospace Committee of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Investment and Development and the French National Centre of Space Research.
Addressing the heads of major French companies, Nazarbayev underlined existing trade, economic and investment cooperation, noting that 24 French companies are already at work in Kazakhstan, with another 24 planned for the short and long-term. During his visit, contracts worth more than $5 billion would be signed, he said.
“France is among the leading economic partners of Kazakhstan. In spite of the difficult external conditions, our mutual trade turnover in recent years remains at $6 billion. Over the last decade, French business investment in our economy amounted to about $12 billion. One hundred and thirty French companies are operating in various industries of Kazakhstan’s market,” he said, including Alstom Transport, Eurocopter, PeugeotCitroën and Danone.
He mentioned that contracts are being prepared between the two countries’ business circles covering important areas such as the supply of uranium to France, the automobile industry, water supply and waste disposal.
Nazarbayev also commented on Kazakhstan’s efforts to improve its investment climate and implement reforms, to support its economy with the Nurly Zhol (Bright Path) infrastructure development programme and its work preparing for EXPO 2017. Astana EXPO 2017 National Company and Nazarbayev University organize the Future Energy Forum within an annual UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris on December 9th.
The President invited French businesses to participate in Kazakhstan’s industrialisation and the planned privatisation of large enterprises, as well as in the work of the planned Astana International Financial Centre.
The event was attended by representatives of companies such as Airbus, Alstom Transport, Areva, the Rothschild Group, Soufflet, Veolia Asia and Vicat. French company leaders praised Kazakhstan’s work in creating an attractive investment environment.
Nazarbayev met separately with PSA Peugeot Citroën Chairman Carlos Tavares, Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné, Aubert & Duval President Georges Duval and economist Jacques Attali.
The President spent his second day in France at the UNESCO General Conference.
Addressing the conference, he said, “Kazakhstan supports efforts to improve UNESCO’s efficiency and to strengthen its credibility, modernisation and adaptation to the challenges of our time. I am confident that UNESCO will continue to be an effective forum for cooperation between states and nations to promote enlightenment, understanding and peace.”
Nazarbayev also proposed creating an international academy on maintaining peace and sustainable development under the auspices of UNESCO.
“Basing it on best international practices, this academy could develop progressive ideas and practical measures to maintain peace and ensure sustainable development,” he said. “Of particular importance is the search for ways of early conflict prevention through the implementation of the UNESCO Culture of Peace Concept.”
In his speech, the President also noted Kazakhstan’s initiatives toward peace and nonproliferation, including the new 2045 Global Strategic Initiative Plan (a global strategy to eliminate the root causes of wars and conflicts) suggested at this year’s UN General Assembly, the Universal Declaration on the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World, which is currently making its way through the UN General Assembly, and a common global network for addressing international terrorism and extremism under the UN.
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