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ASTANA, 31 October 2018 – The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Kairat Abdrakhmanov recently discussed new opportunities for developing bilateral and multilateral cooperation with British ambassadors based in Central Asian nations.
On October 29-31, Astana hosted the regional meeting of Her Majesty's Ambassadors to Central Asian nations and those in charge of relations with the region at the Foreign Office, which is held annually in each of the five Central Asian states.
The participants exchanged views on the state and prospects of relations between the UK and Kazakhstan and the countries of the region. Both sides also confirmed their intention to strengthen cooperation in all areas of mutual interest.
Special emphasis was placed on Kazakhstan's role in Central Asia, as evidenced by the country's non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council, as well as the widely acknowledged international and regional initiatives by President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
In this regard, the Foreign Minister drew his counterparts' attention to the President's remarks at the recent Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Brussels and the steps he proposed to restore confidence and overcome differences among major countries.
British diplomats expressed great interest in the economic process taking place in the wider region and the dynamics of attracting foreign direct investment to the Kazakh economy.
The Kazakh Foreign Minister noted the UK's active role in the international arena and the effective cooperation of the two countries within the UNSC. Regular contacts at the highest level and an ongoing political dialogue between Astana and London play an important role in the development of bilateral interaction. President Nazarbayev and British Prime Minister Theresa May's conversation on the sidelines of the ASEM Summit in Brussels was one such example.
Discussing regional development, the Foreign Minister emphasised the importance of economic integration within the Eurasian Economic Union and the development of good-neighbourly relations with Kazakhstan and Central Asia's largest partners, Russia and China. In this regard, the Kazakh side indicated the need to move away from bloc thinking and the ongoing standoff surrounding sanctions due to their negative impact on Eurasian economic cooperation.
Foreign Minister Abdrakhmanov also noted the important prospects for the wide use of British technologies and expertise in the projects implemented in Central Asian states within the Belt and Road Initiative and other investment and infrastructure programmes.
The meeting emphasised the significant potential for enhancing investment, trade and economic cooperation. The UK is among Kazakhstan's ten largest trading partners in terms of turnover. In 2017, trade turnover amounted to $1.28 billion, while in the first six months of 2018 it had already reached $743.4 million. The country is also among the six largest investors in Kazakhstan. Since 2005, the inflow of British direct investment has exceeded $12 billion. There are also more than 600 companies with British participation operating in Kazakhstan.