Kazakhstan and the U.S. make Joint Statement on Enhanced Strategic Partnership Dialogue
NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM Kazakhstan Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Akan Rakhmetullin and U.S. Department of State Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Assistant Secretary Donald Lu led a successful annual meeting of the Kazakhstan-U.S. Enhanced Strategic Partnership Dialogue (ESPD) December 15 in Nur-Sultan.
Assistant Secretary Lu extended congratulations on the 30th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence. In this 30th Anniversary year, the United States strongly reaffirmed its commitment to Kazakhstan’s independence, territorial integrity, and sovereignty. Both sides congratulated each other on the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kazakh MFA’s press service reports.
The senior-level delegations discussed a range of key bilateral and regional political, economic, and security issues. The United States welcomed President Tokayev’s political reform efforts, including a June 9 decree «On further measures of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the sphere of human rights». The two sides agreed to start practical preparations for the inaugural meeting of a High-Level Dialogue on Democratic Reforms in early 2022.
The United States thanked Kazakhstan for its strong partnership in addressing common challenges such as counterterrorism, border security, peacekeeping, non-proliferation, climate change, and regional security. The United States commended Kazakhstan’s leadership in repatriating foreign fighters and their families and pledged to continue cooperation on rehabilitation and reintegration. Participants underscored that Kazakhstan has been a global leader in modeling both the principles and practices of nuclear non-proliferation. The United States remains committed to close partnership with Kazakhstan to secure and remediate the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site.
Deputy Foreign Minister Rakhmetullin and Assistant Secretary Lu expressed the commitment of Kazakhstan and the United States continue humanitarian support to the Afghan people. The United States expressed appreciation for the temporary relocation of USAID personnel from Kabul to Almaty and noted Kazakhstan’s initiative to establish a regional humanitarian hub in Almaty. Both sides spoke in favor of further intensifying regional engagement through the C5+1 and the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).
Assistant Secretary Lu welcomed Kazakhstan’s ongoing program of reforms, and both sides discussed opportunities for U.S. companies to expand trade and investment in Kazakhstan, noting that regular meetings of the Kazakhstan-U.S. Working Group on Economic Cooperation have promoted mutual interests. The participants agreed to continue consultations on ensuring sanctions do not have unintended consequences for Kazakhstan’s economy. The United States welcomed Kazakhstan’s Chairmanship of the World Trade Organization’s Twelfth Ministerial Conference, which contributes to robust economic ties.
The two sides discussed the possibility of establishing «permanent normal relations trade relations» between Kazakhstan and the United States. Vice Minister of Trade and Integration Kairat Torebayev and Senior Advisor for South and Central Asia Afreen Akhter also discussed science and technology cooperation, as well as English language and educational exchanges; women’s political, social, and economic empowerment; and joint initiatives to promote regional prosperity and connectivity.
The sides also stressed the importance of strengthening security cooperation by deepening ties between militaries, law enforcement agencies, and border and customs authorities, including within the framework of the Fourth Five-Year Plan for Military Cooperation between the Ministry of Defense of Kazakhstan and the United States Department of Defense.
Both sides expressed interest in development of energy-efficient and green technologies. The participants discussed the outcomes of the C5+1 Climate Ministerial. The United States noted Kazakhstan’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 and reach 15 percent share of renewables by 2030 and urged Kazakhstan to join the Global Methane Pledge. The two sides stressed the importance of further cooperation in climate adaptation, mitigation, and green economy development under the C5+1 framework following renewed pledges by Kazakhstan and other Central Asian states at the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow.
Assistant Secretary Lu underscored U.S. support for Kazakhstan’s efforts in countering the COVID-19 pandemic. The delegations also affirmed their shared interest in strengthening people-to-people ties through academic and research exchanges. Both sides expressed their commitment to continue to support efforts to increase women’s representation in decision-making processes. Both sides expressed interest in continued close cooperation between KazAID and USAID to implement joint projects in Central Asia and Afghanistan.
Vice Minister of Justice Akerke Akhmetova and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Kara McDonald expressed their interest in further expanding cooperation to uphold freedom of religion or belief, combat human trafficking, eradicate torture, protect refugees, promote respect for women’s rights, advance women’s economic security, and support independent media and civil society.
Deputy Foreign Minister Rakhmetullin and Assistant Secretary Lu affirmed their intention to hold the next meeting of the ESPD in 2022 in Washington, D.C. They also discussed a visit by Kazakhstan Deputy Prime Minister - Foreign Minister Tileuberdi to Washington in the first half of 2022.