Astana, Kazakhstan, Sept. 8
By Daniyar Mukhtarov - Trend:
Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov met with the heads of diplomatic missions of European countries accredited in Kazakhstan. A wide range of issues, including negotiations on a new agreement on expanded partnership between Kazakhstan and the EU was considered, according to the Kazakh foreign ministry.
The meeting took place on the eve of the final eighth round of negotiations on a new agreement between Kazakhstan and the European Union.
Idrissov stressed that the negotiation teams of the sides reached good results and continue working hard to finalize the draft agreement during the upcoming negotiations.
"The new agreement will be comprehensive," he said. "It will reflect the existing and equal partnership between Kazakhstan and the EU, based not only on common interests, but also on common values, mutual understanding, mutual respect and mutual benefit. It must be a solid basis for the cooperation between Kazakhstan and the EU countries to be at a higher level.
He added that initialing of the agreement is scheduled for autumn 2014.
Idrissov stressed that a key element of the new agreement is a modernized trade and investment section, taking into account the perspective of Kazakhstan's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as the development of the Customs Union, the Common Economic Space and the Eurasian Economic Union.
Kazakhstan and the EU also agreed that in addition to the new agreement, which will be a legal basis, the "road maps" and sectoral agreements on intensifying the cooperation in specific areas may be worked out and adopted in the future.
"Astana attaches particular importance to the development of such areas of cooperation as innovation, science, education and competitiveness amid the objectives set by President Nazarbayev in the "Kazakhstan 2050" strategy," he said. In particular, Kazakhstan is interested in a separate agreement on science, technology and innovation with the EU."
Head of the EU Delegation to Kazakhstan Ambassador Aurelia Bouchez, for her part, underscored the importance of an early conclusion of talks on the agreement, including the section on trade and investments.
During the meeting the parties also mulled the issues of visa liberalization with the EU, the promotion of Kazakhstan's candidacy for non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council in 2017-2018, as well as cooperation between Kazakhstan and the OSCE Delegation in Astana.
At the meeting it was noted that the cooperation for simplification of visa regime is becoming increasingly important amid the intensifying mutual trips of citizens, and the growth of political, economic, business, and cultural ties between Astana and the European capitals.
The visa regime simplification has been in the agenda of the regular meetings of the Kazakhstan-EU bilateral cooperation structures since 2008.
Since 2011, the visa issues have also been discussed as part of the talks on a new agreement to expand the partnership and cooperation between Kazakhstan and the EU.
Idrissov said Astana is consistently working to facilitate the visa regime for Kazakh citizens at the global level.
He added that the facilitation of the process of obtaining visas to the Schengen zone and to Europe as a whole is currently a top priority.
Kazakh FM said the free movement of people is a key to further development of friendly relations, and stressed the need for further negotiations on visa facilitation by the EU for the citizens of Kazakhstan.
Introducing Kazakhstan's candidacy for non-permanent membership at the UN Security Council for 2017-2018, Idrissov underscored that being elected to this position is among the most important foreign policy objectives of the country.
He added that Kazakhstan is currently working to promote its application to that authority.
Idrissov said Kazakhstan chaired the OSCE in 2010 and held the historic summit in Astana, and added that his country attaches great importance to cooperation within this organization in all three dimensions, with a special emphasis on transnational security threats, economic and environmental dimension and regional cooperation.
Given the evolution of cooperation and bringing this cooperation to a new level, the FM envisions a transformation mechanism for such cooperation and aligning it with the realities of modern world.
Edited by CN