President Nazarbayev Visits Minsk, Holds Talks with Lukashenko, Jeenbekov

The two-day visit of President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev to Minsk on Nov. 29-30 took place in the year of the 25th anniversary of the Kazakh-Belarusian diplomatic relations. Bilateral meetings preceded the anniversary session of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation  (SCTO) Council, where Belarus this year has held rotating chairmanship.

During the first day of the visit, Nazarbayev held talks with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko in narrow and expanded formats and discussed cooperation strengthening on trade and industry, transport and transit, space industry and the development of information and computer technologies. The head of state underlined the historically established friendly relations between Kazakhstan and Belarus.

“In a short historical period, significant advances have been made. In difficult conditions, we have created a significant political base for bilateral cooperation. Our states are reliable partners who have open and confidential relations,” President Nazarbayev said.

Positively assessing the dynamics of development of Kazakh-Belarusian trade and economic cooperation during 2017, Nazarbayev recalled the close economic cooperation between Kazakhstan and Belarus within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union.

“There are 260 Belarusian enterprises, six joint largest car assembly plants in Kazakhstan. The products of Belarusian agriculture are on the shelves of Kazakh stores,” Nazarbayev added.

President Lukashenko noted the importance of the Kazakh President’s visit in the context of expanding bilateral cooperation.

“I am confident that your visit will increase the trade turnover, and we have everything for this,” said the Belarusian President.

As a result of the talks, a number of documents were signed, including a programme of socio-economic cooperation between Belarus and Kazakhstan until 2026. The heads of state also expressed satisfaction that the documents signed during the Kazakh-Belarusian business forum will deepen relations between Kazakhstan and Belarus. More than 150 representatives of companies working in machine building, agriculture, production of agricultural machinery and equipment, food and light industry, trade and services, logistics, banking, investment, information and communication technologies took part in the forum from the Kazakh side.

Kazakh-Belarus cooperation has acquired a strategic character. Both countries are the founders of the CSTO and the Eurasian Economic Union – major Eurasian associations. Among the Commonwealth of Independent States countries, Kazakhstan is one of the three largest trade and economic partners of Belarus. The trade between Belarus and Kazakhstan this year began to recover after a serious decline in 2015-2016. The turnover over the nine months of 2017 increased 60 percent to $441.4 million.

Kazakhstan and Belarus cooperate positively in the industrial sphere. Carriage and mining equipment in Karaganda, tractors, grain and forage harvesters, engines, balers, special (communal and fire) equipment, various types of trailed agricultural machinery in Semey, Kostanay, Pavlodar, Uralsk and medical equipment in Aktobe are being assembled.

In Minsk, Nazarbayev also held a closed-door meeting Nov 30. with Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov, where he discussed with his counterpart the state of the Kazakh-Kyrgyz relations after the situation on the border worsened. Speaking to the press after the meeting, the two presidents announced they agreed the problems the two countries facing now were “resolvable” and both sides needed to act upon the situation, given the deep roots of fraternal relations and the interests of the two peoples.\

Nazarbayev announced the sides agreed to “carry out joint border control with participation of the Kazakh and the Kyrgyz sides, as well as EAEU representatives. According to the Akorda official press statement, Nazarbayev also congratulated Jeenbekov on winning the Oct. 15 election and invited him on an official visit to Astana.

At the CSTO Collective Security Session on Nov. 30 Nazarbayev announced the country’s priorities as organisation chair for 2017-2018. The session’s agenda also included discussion of trends in the development of the international situation and measures to strengthen collective security, the adoption of a declaration in connection with the CSTO’s anniversary, as well as political statements by the heads of states on urgent international security issues.

CSTO also reviewed a draft decision “On the plan for the implementation of the CSTO collective security strategy for the period until 2025”.