- Kazakh-British relations
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LONDON, 1 March 2019 – A delegation from Kazakhstan's Parliament paid a working visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on 25 February – 1 March 2019. It was a reciprocal visit of the Kazakh parliamentarians after the British Parliament delegation's visit to Kazakhstan last spring.
The visit was organised by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), which is currently implementing a programme on strengthening Kazakh-British inter-parliamentary relations with the support of the embassies of the two states. The programme's aim is to enhance Kazakh parliamentarians' knowledge and understanding of parliamentary practices and processes from the UK and elsewhere by increasing interaction between the UK and Kazakh parliaments.
The visit of Kazakhstan's delegation was another step forward in developing a long-term system of inter-parliamentary exchange and interaction. In May 2018, a UK Parliament delegation headed by the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Kazakhstan Bob Stewart visited Astana, while in November-December last year, the WFD held a series of seminars for Kazakh legislators on the topics of “Post-Legislative Scrutiny" and “Parliamentary Openness and Public Relations".
The Kazakh parliamentary delegation, led by the chair of the group for cooperation with the UK, member of the Mazhilis (lower chamber) of the Kazakh Parliament Beibit Mamrayev, got acquainted with the work of the British and Scottish parliaments, their committees and working groups. The Kazakh delegation also participated as observers in a parliamentary debate on the UK's exit from the EU.
The members of the Senate (upper chamber) and the Mazhilis of the Kazakh Parliament also met with the members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons of the UK Parliament, including the Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords, Lord Dennis Rogan, Baroness Sharon Bowles, Chair of the APPG for Kazakhstan Bob Stewart, Vice Chair of the APPG for Kazakhstan Lord Mohamed Sheikh, John Grogan, Member of the Scottish Parliament Angela Constance, as well as the WFD Chief Executive Anthony Smith. The sides discussed the prospects of strengthening inter-parliamentary relations, the situation around the UK's exit from the EU, cooperation in sustainable development, transition to renewable energy, and other international issues.
Mr. Mamrayev briefed his UK colleagues on the forthcoming 4th Meeting of Speakers of Eurasian Parliaments, which is scheduled for 23-24 September 2019 in Astana. Speakers of both houses of the UK Parliament were invited to the event, which is themed “Greater Eurasia: Dialogue. Trust. Partnership". The Kazakh parliamentarian expressed hope that the participation of UK Parliament representatives would contribute to the further development of cooperation within greater Eurasia and strengthen mutual understanding in addressing the urgent issues through the tools of dialogue and partnership.
Regular exchange of visits by Kazakh and UK parliamentarians contributes to the steady growth of inter-parliamentary ties between the two countries. The British Parliament delegation's return visit to Astana is scheduled for the end of 2019 or the start of 2020.