ISSUE NO 273 FRIDAY, 5 OCTOBER 2012 WWW.MFA.KZ A WEEKLY ONLINE PUBLICATION OF THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE REPUBLIC OF KAZAKHSTAN
New Prime Minister Sets Out Priorities Assigns responsibilities to Cabinet members
Oil and Gas Industries Meet at 20th KIOGE Almaty welcomes 500+ exhibitors
Kazakhstan-U.S. Strategic Partnership Further strengthening of relations
Acting Foreign Minister Addresses UN General Assembly Calls for new principles of world politics
Kazakhstan-Norway Working Group on Energy Cooperation
OSCE States Debate Human Rights and Democracy Kazakhstan outlines reforms
Delphic Games Energize Astana Celebration of art and friendship
Agreements signed in four areas
Things to Watch
Also in the News
New Prime Minister Sets Out Priorities Kazakhstan’s new Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Serik Akhmetov, chaired the first government meeting since his appointment on September 27. He said that the new Cabinet would maintain continuity and build on the cumulative experience of its predecessor, many of whose members have retained their positions. However, the recent ministerial changes should be taken as a call to action for the entire Government, and the beginning of a new phase in its work, the Prime Minister said. The primary goal of the new Government will be the adoption of the three-year draft budget which has been approved by Parliament and which is essential for the implementation of the state program, he added. Another key focus will be to further Kazakhstan’s integration with the global community, through active participation in the Single Economic Space and accession to the WTO. Maintaining stable macroeconomic conditions and economic growth will remain a top priority. Mr Akhmetov cautioned that a second wave of the global economic crisis is not beyond the bounds of possibility, emphasizing that the Government will continue to monitor conditions and be prepared to meet all challenges in the development of the global economy. Implementing the programme for a Society of Universal Labor will also remain high on the agenda of this Government, which will oversee the necessary changes to legislation in order to pave the way for social modernization. The new emphasis on regional development in Kazakhstan will ensure that his Cabinet members work closely and actively with the regions, Mr Akhmetov said. He called for a review of progress on the key areas of the 2020 strategic development plan: industrialization, residential development, education, healthcare, drinking water, and employment. Stressing the importance of achieving the defined targets in each of these areas, he said that additional funds would be allocated if necessary to advance progress. The Prime Minister went on to assign primary responsibility for the following areas of government between himself and his four deputies: • The Prime Minister will deal with strategic issues of economic, financial, fiscal and customs policy; public finance; international relations and international cooperation; foreign investment; and improving the investment climate. • Deputy Prime Minister Krymbek Kusherbayev will focus on issues of regional policies; operational management of the economy; agriculture, land and water issues; the environment and natural resources; development, construction and modernization of housing and communal services; and transport infrastructure and logistics. • Deputy Prime Minister Yerbol Orynbayev will take charge of education, science and health; social modernization, social policy and social partnership; and culture, sports and religion.
“The Head of State has placed a lot of trust in us – not just me but all of us, by forming a new government leadership. And it is our duty to fulfil the President’s expectations” Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov
• Deputy Prime Minister Kairat Kelimbetov will primarily focus on the economic and financial sector, with responsibility for issues of macroeconomic policy, fiscal policy, management of state assets, financial sector issues, tax and customs policy. • Deputy Prime Minister - Minister of Industry and New Technologies Asset Issekeshev will manage implementation of the state program for industrial innovation 2010-2014; government policy to increase the use of local content in industrial output; industrial development; technical regulations; and foreign investment. ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 273 / 2
Back to Contents
“KAZENERGY and KIOGE act as two platforms for dialogue between Government and business… On the occasion of KIOGE’s 20th anniversary, we looked to expand the event’s business program and continue to provide participants with valuable networking opportunities.” Yuri Borodikhin, Executive Director of Iteca
Oil and Gas Industries Meet at 20th KIOGE The Kazakhstan International Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference (KIOGE) held its 20th annual event the Atakent Exhibition Centre in Almaty on October 2 – 5. Over the past two decades, KIOGE has helped to introduce more than 5,000 companies into Kazakhstan’s market, a large number of which now have well-established businesses. Today KIOGE is Central Asia’s largest and most influential trade event for the oil and gas industry. Two of the main catalysts for the steady economic growth experienced by Kazakhstan since 2000 have been economic reform and foreign investment, much of which has been concentrated in the energy sector. Exports of crude oil have grown significantly and Kazakhstan is the second largest oil producer after Russia among the former Soviet republics. Kazakhstan has the Caspian region’s largest recoverable crude oil reserves, with proven oil reserves of 30 billion barrels and daily production in 2011 of 1.64m barrels. For both the major multinationals with operations in Kazakhstan, and the growing number of domestic operators, KIOGE offers a wealth of opportunities leading to potentially strong professional relationships and business growth, as well as a focal point for discussing the technical, operational and commercial development of Kazakhstan’s oil and gas industry. KIOGE 2012 brought together over 500 exhibiting companies from countries including: Azerbaijan, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Hungary, Germany, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, US, UK and UAE. Around 75% of exhibitors displaying their products and services were returning to KIOGE. The other 25% of exhibitors were new to the event, many of them seeking to take advantage of the significant commercial opportunities available in Kazakhstan’s oil and gas sector. The main theme of KIOGE 2012 was “Kazakhstan’s Oil and Gas Industry: New Perspectives of Growth”. Delegates were addressed by over 30 speakers, including high-profile and influential government and industry professionals from Kazakhstan and around the world. Among the many engaging sessions on a range of technical, operational and commercial subjects was a presentation by Michiel Postema, Professor at Norway’s Bergen University, entitled ‘Using Ultrasound to Separate Oil, Gas and Water’. KIOGE was the major part of a week-long programme of trade events aimed at the oil and gas sector, another major element of which was the Astana-based KAZENERGY Eurasian Forum, which this year took as its theme: “A World in Transition - Shaping a Sustainable Energy Future.”
ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 273 / 3
Back to Contents
Kazakhstan-U.S. Strategic Partnership Newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs Erlan Idrissov met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on October 3 in Washington to discuss the main areas of the strategic partnership between Kazakhstan and the US. Secretary Clinton expressed gratitude for Kazakhstan’s support for international efforts to stabilize Afghanistan and singled out the constructive role played by Kazakhstan in developing the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) and its assistance to Afghanistan’s security forces. She also expressed appreciation for Kazakhstan’s global leadership on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Mrs Clinton described Kazakhstan as an important player in key issues of international security and noted the remarkable progress made by Kazakhstan since the 1990s when she first visited the country. She also praised the work of Minister Idrissov as Ambassador to the US in strengthening bilateral cooperation. Kazakhstan’s relations with the US were also the focus of attention on September 28 at a meeting in New York to review the work underway in the Kazakhstan-U.S. Strategic Partnership Dialogue took Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov led Kazakhstan’s delegation, while the U.S. team was headed by Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake. The review covered a wide range of issues including Afghanistan, non-proliferation and cooperation between Kazakhstan and the US in the trade and economic sphere, on science and technology and on humanitarian issues. The Strategic Partnership Dialogue was established following an agreement in January this year between then Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The inaugural meeting of the Dialogue took place in April. The U.S. side also expressed gratitude to Kazakhstan for its support on Afghanistan, both in the provision of humanitarian, financial and technical aid to the Afghan government, and through regional initiatives aimed at stabilizing and developing Afghanistan’s economy. Particular note was made of Kazakhstan’s role in promoting the “New Silk Road” initiative and in developing regional confidence-building measures through the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) as well as its participation in the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan. Both sides expressed satisfaction with the consistent implementation of joint agreements between Kazakhstan and the U.S. and suggested ways to further strengthen the relationship. In particular, it was agreed that joint measures to develop trade and economic cooperation should be intensified, with a focus on attracting US investment and technology into Kazakhstan. Bilateral trade has grown five times since 2001 from $500 million to $2.5 billion in 2011. U.S. exports to Kazakhstan also continue to grow. Last year they increased 13% to $825 million. The delegations also agreed to form a joint working group on science and technology, which will meet on a regular basis and implement a bilateral agreement to further cooperation in these areas. Energy cooperation, including the peaceful use of nuclear energy and alternative energy, will be discussed at the next meeting of the Kazakhstan-U.S. Energy Partnership Commission, scheduled to be held in Washington D.C. on October 15-16. The next meeting of the Strategic Partnership Dialogue will be held in Astana in 2013. ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 273 / 4
Back to Contents
Acting Foreign Minister Addresses UN General Assembly In his address to the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly on September 29 Kairat Umarov, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, said the geopolitical turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as natural and manmade disasters, were compelling evidence that the issues of security, stability and sustainable development were increasingly relevant. World politics should be based on new principles, including constructive multipolarity and transparency, trust and political tolerance, and the clear pre-eminence of evolutionary forms of development, the Acting Minister said. Mr Umarov went on to address the threat of proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology, supporting the SecretaryGeneral’s proposal to adopt a nuclear weapons convention and calling on all states to adopt a preliminary universal declaration of a nuclear-weapons-free world. Outlining Kazakhstan’s active involvement in the fight against international terrorism and drug trafficking and its efforts to build regional cooperation on these issues, Mr Umarov said that the time had come to consider the introduction of new concepts of international law, such as an “electronic border” and “electronic sovereignty”, to help combat these problems. Reiterating Kazakhstan’s abhorrence of the internet video and cartoons that recently offended Muslims worldwide, Mr Umarov cautioned that freedom of expression must be exercised responsibly. At the same time, he condemned the related attacks on diplomats and diplomatic missions and called on Governments to protect diplomatic representatives. Concerning Syria, Mr Umarov said that Kazakhstan supported all efforts to resolve the conflict peacefully and to contain the crisis. He called for all nations to unite around the Syrian transition process, just as Kazakhstan had called for peaceful and diplomatic resolution of the Palestinian issue and the situation related to Iran’s nuclear program. Other issues cited by Mr Umarov in his address as of importance to Kazakhstan were the reconstruction of Afghanistan’s economy, trade expansion and global energy security and the ongoing development of intercultural dialogue.
Finland and Kazakhstan Discuss Cooperation Finland’s Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade, Alexander Stubb, visited Kazakhstan on October 2-5, accompanied by a delegation of over 80 Finnish businesspeople. The delegation included specialists in innovation, energy, technology, mining, construction and education. Minister Stubb met with Prime Minister Akhmetov to discuss developing cooperation on innovation and new technologies, as well as increasing Finnish investment in Kazakhstan. Mr Stubb also met Deputy Prime Minister and Industry and New Technologies, Asset Issekeshev, the Head of the Kazakh National Bank. Grigory Marchenko, and Chairman of the Board of Samruk-Kazyna, Umirzak Shukeyev. The Finnish delegation also attended Kazakh-Finnish business seminars in Almaty and Astana and Mr Stubb went on to address the students of KIMEP University and Nazarbayev University. A keen cyclist and triathlon competitor, Minister Stubb took the opportunity to join Team Astana at the Sary-Arka velodrome for their training session. He called this an “amazing experience”. He was especially pleased to meet Kazakhstan’s champion cyclist Alexander Vinokurov, describing himself as a big fan and applauding Vinokurov’s recent gold-winning performance at the London 2012 Olympics. The visit culminated on October 5 with the seventh meeting of the Kazakhstan-Finnish Inter-governmental Commission, at which Kazakhstan’s delegation was headed by the Minister for Environmental Protection, Nurlan Kapparov. The meeting focused on trade and economic relations between Kazakhstan and Finland, while also addressing cooperation in the fields of education, health, energy efficiency and innovation. Trade between Finland and Kazakhstan grew rapidly in 2000–2008, increasing by double digits most years to reach €850m in 2008. Trade volumes fell in the wake of the global economic crisis, but by 2011 had risen again to €500m, while in the first six months of 2012 trade amounted to €311m. Finnish exports to Kazakhstan include equipment and machinery, primarily for the mining industry, as well as pharmaceuticals and mobile phones. Nokia is the most popular mobile phone brand in Kazakhstan and Finland’s TeliaSonera owns Kcell, the largest telecommunications operator in Kazakhstan. ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 273 / 5
Back to Contents
Kazakhstan-Norway Working Group on Energy Cooperation The fourth meeting of the Kazakhstan-Norway Working Group on Energy Cooperation took place in Astana on October 4. The Working Group is the principal channel for developing Kazakhstan’s relations with Norway and its activities have gained pace with three meetings over the last two years. The meeting was attended by representatives of Norwegian companies including Statoil, Carbon Limits, DNV, INTSOK, Kvaerner Caspian and RKK, all of whom participated in the seventh KAZENERGY Forum held in Astana this week. The Working Group discussed and signed agreements on cooperation in four key areas: energy efficiency; the exchange of experiences on the use of associated gas; staff development; and the oil and gas sector, including exploration and production, new technologies, services, and the development of local content. Participants on both sides expressed confidence that the agreements will enhance cooperation and reaffirmed their commitment to a mutually beneficial partnership between Kazakhstan and Norway. Relations between Kazakhstan and Norway have developed steadily since the 2004 signing of two Joint Declarations on cooperation across the political and economic spheres. In 2008 Norway established an embassy to Kazakhstan, while in 2012 Kazakhstan upgraded its diplomatic mission to Norway to an embassy. In June this year the Norwegian Ambassador Dag Malmer Halvorsen and Kazakhstan’s Minister of Transport and Communications Askar Zhumagaliyev signed an agreement between Norway and Kazakhstan on international road transportation. The agreement will give positive impetus to the development of road transport, trade and economic relations between the countries. Trade volumes between Kazakhstan and Norway were approximately USD 100m in 2011. A major milestone in cooperation within the oil and gas sector was reached with the 2011 agreement between KazMunaiGas and Statoil on the joint development of Kazakhstan’s Abay oil field in the Caspian Sea. The next meeting of the Working Group will take place in Norway in 2013.
ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 273 / 6
Back to Contents
OSCE States Debate Human Rights and Democracy From September 24 to October 5, Warsaw hosted the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM), Europe’s largest human rights and democracy conference, organized every year by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). 1,000 government representatives, experts and human rights activists attended the event, which reviewed the progress states have made in putting their international commitments into practice. Media and non-governmental organizations from Kazakhstan were strongly represented. The meeting was addressed by Kazakhstan’s Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Usen Suleimen, who welcomed the ongoing constructive dialogue with ODIHR on the enhancement of democratic processes in Kazakhstan. Ambassador Suleimen confirmed Kazakhstan’s commitment to advancing the protection of human rights, reminding the meeting that Kazakhstan’s 2011 Chairmanship of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation oversaw the establishment of a Standing Committee on Human Rights, which now provides a platform for dialogue among Muslim states on issues relating to human rights and freedom. This followed on the Consultative Council on the OSCE Human Dimension, established at Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry during Kazakhstan’s Chairmanship of the OSCE in 2010. The Ambassador gave an update on two key policy programs in Kazakhstan: the National Human Rights Action Plan for 20092012 and the Legal Policy Concept for 2010-2020. Implementation of these programs is advancing Kazakhstan’s progress towards EU and OSCE standards on law enforcement, judicial systems and the protection of human rights, as will the reforms of social legislation envisaged in the Social Modernization program, he said.
Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry is to establish a new Working Group on Human Dimension which will include representatives of Government, political parties and civil society, Ambassador Suleimen said. The Group will invite international human rights organizations accredited in Kazakhstan to engage in dialogue on issues related to monitoring of implementation of international human rights agreements, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as furthering cooperation with the OSCE in the area of human rights.
“There can only be true security and stability in relations between states when governments and leaders keep the promises they have made – to their citizens and to each other – in the fields of human rights and democracy.” Douglas Wake, First Deputy Director of ODIHR
Douglas Wake, First Deputy Director of the ODIHR, said that the tradition of reviewing human dimension implementation builds on an important truth that underlies the OSCE’s comprehensive concept of security. Across a wide range of sessions and topics, the main speakers agreed that states should respect the universal values of democracy and human rights, as the very foundations of stability for the OSCE dimension security system; however, there was also acknowledgement of the demanding nature of this task, especially given the rate at which society is changing, through science and technology as well as other factors. ODIHR will hold a Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting in Vienna on November 8-9. ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 273 / 7
Back to Contents
Delphic Games Energize Astana There was an influx of youthful energy to Astana on September 24-29, with the arrival of 800 young people from 16 countries, to participate in the Seventh International Youth Delphic Games of the CIS member states on the theme “Energy of Youth”. The Games enlivened the most famous locations across Astana, including the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, the Palace of Schoolchildren and the National University of Arts. The Delphic Games are unique in encompassing a variety of art forms ranging from classical to modern times, including piano, folk singing, pop singing and even web design. In these Seventh Youth Delphic CIS Games, the Visual Art and Academic Singing categories attracted the most countries, while Folk Dance and Modern Dance had the highest number of participants. New additions included a poetry competition and a spectacular circus event, which proved exceptionally popular with the audience. According to the international jury - composed of members from Moldova, Turkey, Italy, Austria, Kyrgyzstan, Romania and Ukraine - the standard of competition across all 19 categories was exceptionally high, with several winners of other international competitions among the participants. Kazakhstan’s team took first place in the folk dance category. Among the youngest participants was Liza Karaulova (15), who won the gold medal in the piano competition. A student at the Moscow Conservatory, Liza was accompanied by her mother Diana and father, Armen Igoryan, Director of the Yerevan State Choreography Academy. Mr Igoryan praised the organization and professionalism of this year’s Delphic Games. At the closing ceremony in the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Science, Aliya Galimova, thanked all the young competitors for “being part of a magnificent fabric of imagination, creativity and beauty, over the course of a few days in which participants from 16 different countries spoke a common language of good”.
ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 273 / 8
Back to Contents
Also in The News… • President Nazarbayev met with Gazprom’s CEO, Aleksey Miller, to discuss prospects for bilateral cooperation in the energy sector. They discussed increasing cooperation between Gazprom and KazMunaiGas in the production, transportation, processing and sales of natural gas and gas condensate. (Presidential Press Service) • On October 2, President Nazarbayev met with the President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al-Madani. The IDB President said that the Program of Partnership signed with Kazakhstan would enhance Kazakhstan’s cooperation with all member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in particular in energy and road and railway construction. (Presidential Press Service) • Kazakhstan’s Senate adopted a law on October 4 establishing May 7 as a public holiday to be known as “Day of the Defender of the Fatherland”. According to Deputy Minister of Defense, Sergey Gromov, the new holiday will raise the prestige of the armed forces at home and abroad. (zakon.kz) • A conference took place in Astana on October 5 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) entitled: “CICA: from the idea to the building of a security architecture in Asia”. (inform.kz) • Kazakhstan’s gross international reserves grew 1.75% in September to reach USD 29.557 billion, an increase of 2.74%> According to National Bank data, the assets of Kazakhstan’s national fund were worth USD 55.413 in September, a monthly increase of 2.14%. (KazTAG) • Per capita GDP is expected to reach USD 24,000 by 2017, Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov said on October 5, up from USD 14,500 in 2013. Inflation is expected to be within the range of 6-8% over the period 2013-2017. • According to Kazakhstan’s Auto Business Association, the production of vehicles in Kazakhstan has increased 18 times in the last four years. At present around 11,000 vehicles are being produced in Kazakhstan per year. (Nur KZ) • The Governor of North Kazakhstan Region, Serik Bilyalov, met with world cycling champion Aleksey Lutsenko on October 4 to congratulate him on his recent victory in the Under 23 Road World Championships in The Netherlands (inform.kz) • Kazakhstan’s cyclist Kirill Mordvintsev won the 2012 Mazandaran Tour in Iran. He finished the final stage in fourth place but was placed first overall. (KazTAG) • Aida Akhmetova came second in the 4th International Rosario Marciano Piano Competition in Vienna. She was the only participant from Kazakhstan. (KAZINFORM) • Guzel Manyurova, has won Kazakhstan’s first silver medal at the Women’s Wrestling World Championship in Canada. Competing in the 72 kg weight category, she came second to Anna Fransson of Sweden. After winning bronze at the London Olympics, she became chief coach of Kazakhstan’s national wrestling team. (KazTAG)
ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 273 / 9
Back to Contents
Things to Watch… • The Fall 2012 meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is taking place from October 5-7 in Tirana, hosted by the Albanian Parliament. • “Indestructible Brotherhood 2012”, the first peacekeeping exercise of CSTO member states will take place near Almaty on October 8-17. The exercise will simulate a response to a crisis situation in a hypothetical Central Asian country. Representatives of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations will be invited to observe the active phase of the exercise. (KAZINFORM) • Council elections will take place on October 28 in eleven regions of Kazakhstan. Ten regional councillors will be elected together with eight city councillors and 27 regional councillors. (infozakon.com) • Kazakhstan may take part in the Eurovision singing competition if it joins the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Negotiations are currently underway on EBU membership for Kazakhstan. Membership will give Kazakhstan the right to participate in Eurovision. (Interfax-Kazakhstan)
ASTANA CALLING is a weekly online publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Please send your requests and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 273 / 10
Back to Contents