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Kazakhstan and Poland sum up political and economic coop in 2018, build plans for future

21 November 2018 09:33

WARSAW. KAZINFORMThe Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan and Poland recently held the latest round of their regular political consultations in Warsaw. The Kazakh delegation was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko, while the Polish delegation was led by Undersecretary Bartosz Cichocki, the press service of the Kazakh MFA says.

The talks were held during a time of great significance for both countries. While Kazakhstan launched a large-scale programme to implement the initiatives outlined in the address of President Nursultan Nazarbayev "Growing Welfare of Kazakh Citizens: Increase in Income and Quality of Life" made on 5 October, Poland recently celebrated the centenary of the country's rebirth as an independent state on 11 November.

These events gave a special implication and, at the same time, a practical direction to the meetings held in Warsaw with representatives of the Polish official circles, expert community and mass media.

The first item of the delegation's agenda was a meeting with members of the Sejm - the lower house of the National Assembly (Parliament) - led by Chairwoman of the Poland-Kazakhstan Parliamentary Cooperation Group Barbara Bartuś. The Polish MP noted that the group for cooperation with Kazakhstan is one of the largest in the Sejm, uniting 53 deputies. The parties welcomed the active exchange of visits between the legislative bodies, including the visit of ten members of the Sejm to Kazakhstan in May 2018 and the visit of Senator Tuleubek Mukashev to the Polish capital in July 2018. A mutual desire was expressed to organize in the first half of 2019 a visit to Warsaw for a delegation of the Kazakh Mazhilis, led by Chairman of the Kazakhstan-Poland Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group Sapar Akhmetov.

During the meetings in Warsaw, Polish partners were keenly interested in various aspects of the country's domestic and foreign policy. The meeting of the Kazakh delegation with a group of experts from the Centre for Eastern Studies, headed by Deputy Director Mateusz Gniazdowski, was no exception. There was an in-depth discussion of the positive trends in the geopolitically and economically important region for Warsaw - Central Asia, the existing security challenges of the region, the state and prospects for Kazakh-Polish cooperation, including in the context of the positive dynamics in relations between the Central Asian states, the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, the settlement of the status of the Caspian Sea, the development of relations between Kazakhstan and the European Union, including in the light of the development of a new EU regional strategy.

The attention of Polish experts was focused on the speech of the President of Kazakhstan at the fourth meeting of the Astana Club made on 13 November, which, among other things, suggested to find new formats for dialogue between the United States, Russia, China and the European Union, as well as the initiative to hold a Eurasian security conference in Astana.

On 16 November, the Kazakh delegation attended a ceremony to award editor-in-chief of the authoritative Polish publication Rzeczpospolita Bogusław Chrabota a 25th anniversary medal of the Diplomatic Service of Kazakhstan at the Kazakh Embassy in Warsaw. The Polish journalist was awarded for his contribution to the development of Kazakh-Polish cooperation, and active coverage of various aspects of the political and economic life in Kazakhstan.

Following the award ceremony, the Kazakh diplomat gave a detailed interview to Andrzej Łomanowski, political editor of the Rzeczpospolita.

The main event in the visit of Mr. Vassilenko to Warsaw was the meeting with Bartosz Cichocki. The partiesreviewed the results of interaction between Astana and Warsaw in 2018 at bilateral and multilateral levels.

The diplomats noted with satisfaction the high-level and trustful nature of Kazakh-Polish relations, which developed significantly following the exchange of state visits of Presidents Nursultan Nazarbayev and Andrzej Duda in 2016-2017. The sides noted the importance of maintaining the momentum of political and economic contacts, and identified priority areas of interaction for the foreseeable future.

Priority was particularly given to trade, economic and investment cooperation, which demonstrated a steady upward trend. In particular, in the first three quarters of 2018, the bilateral trade grew by 67% compared to the same period last year, reaching $ 1.33 billion, with a large trade surplus for Kazakhstan. The sides noted that more than 200 enterprises which involve Polish capital operate in the Kazakh market, including such flagships as Polpharma and SelenaGroup.

The representatives of the Foreign Ministries of Kazakhstan and Poland noted the successful mechanisms of inter-governmental and inter-agency cooperation and comprehensive legal financial framework. They agreed that the launch of a direct regular flight between Astana and Warsaw in May 2017 improved the conditions for doing business, broadening people-to-people contacts and increasing tourist flows.

In order to further improve the conditions for trade, economic and investment cooperation, the parties agreed to strengthen coordination of efforts to eliminate existing bottlenecks in the transport and transit area, and to intensify measures for interaction in promising areas such as agriculture, food industry, agricultural engineering, finance, and tourism. The delegations also discussed prospects for further enhancement of the legal framework through the conclusion of new sectoral agreements.

In the context of interaction in the international arena, the sides noted the same or similar positions across regional and global agendas, which created a favorable background for fruitful interaction between Astana and Warsaw as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council in 2018. The Deputy Minister of Kazakhstan, which is completing its biennial term in the UN Security Council this year, wished continued success to the country's Polish partners who will remain on the Council in 2019. Mr. Vassilenko highly appreciated the participation of President Duda on 18 January in the thematic briefing in New York chaired by President Nazarbayev on the topic 'Non-Proliferation of WMD: Confidence Building Measures', during Kazakhstan's presidency of the Security Council. In turn, Mr. Cichocki thanked the participation of high-ranking officials of Kazakhstan in the activities of the Polish presidency in the Security Council this May.

The sides discussed coordination of their positions in such areas as nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, the fight against terrorism, peacekeeping, the Afghan settlement, the situation in Ukraine and the surrounding region, and mutual support in elections within international organisations.

Important attention during the consultations was paid to relations in the field of education and culture, including the potential of the 34,000 Polish diaspora in Kazakhstan. The Polish side expressed gratitude for the organisation of the large-scale unique exhibition "The Heritage of the Great Steppe: Masterpieces of the Jewelry Art" held in the Gdańsk National Museum from October to December 2018, commemorating the 100th anniversary of Polish independence.

The final item in the programme of Mr. Vassilenko in the Polish capital was a meeting with Secretary of the Security Council of Poland Paweł Soloch. There was an enthusiastic and comprehensive discussion of the situation in Central Asia and Afghanistan, the Caspian region, as well as topical issues of the Kazakh-Polish political and economic partnership.

The results of the visit to Poland confirmed the trustful and constructive nature of the interaction between Astana and Warsaw, with a focus on further strengthening political, economic and humanitarian cooperation.