March 18, 2023
UK Foreign Secretary Visits Kazakhstan, Meets President Tokayev
Also see: State Department’s next Ukraine? Blinken in Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan is the United Kingdom’s primary trading partner in Central Asia, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the UK James Cleverly said during his meeting with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Astana as part of his first visit to the nation on March 18.
“Your visit will give a very strong impetus to further enhance mutual cooperation between Kazakhstan and the UK. I took note of your recent speech at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office that outlined the long-term vision for British foreign policy. Indeed, it is a very important speech,” Tokayev said.
The Kazakh President expressed appreciation for the positive dynamics of relations with the UK. “I would like to assess our mutual cooperation as very successful, particularly, in the economic sphere and the political domain. We need to make additional efforts to push forward this very positive direction in our mutual cooperation”, he added.
Cleverly noted the excellent relations between Astana and London. He said the UK positively assesses the political reforms in Kazakhstan.
He also held a meeting with Kazakh Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov, during which he noted that the UK is committed to strengthening cooperation in all mutually beneficial directions.
The Prime Minister’s office reported that trade turnover between Kazakhstan and the UK increased by approximately 60 percent last year and exceeded $1.8 billion. In addition, the UK is one of the top 10 investors in Kazakhstan, contributing $16.5 billion since 2005.
“The Kazakh government is determined to further deepen cooperation with the UK in all directions. In this context, an important step will be the signing of the bilateral Strategic Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the development of which is being finalized,” Smailov said.
…The list of joint projects includes the production of green hydrogen, projects in the logistics sector, and the development of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route.
Cleverly and Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko took part in opening a city square in honor of Queen Elizabeth II. The square is located on Kabanbay Batyr Avenue in the Central Park of Astana.
“Queen Elizabeth II enjoyed the love and respect of the Kazakh people and nations worldwide. It was President Tokayev’s decision to give the name of Her Majesty to one of the squares in the city and mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee. Unfortunately, Queen Elizabeth II did not pay a visit to Kazakhstan, but we hope that King Charles III and other members of the royal family will visit our country,” Vassilenko said at the ceremony.