President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, Colleagues,
We are grateful to the President of Kazakhstan for choosing Russia as the destination for his first official foreign visit.
Working in various government positions, Mr Tokayev has maintained close contact with his Russian colleagues. We have no doubt that, as the President of Kazakhstan, he will concentrate on the further development of mutually beneficial cooperation and allied relations between our countries. I must note that our talks were held in a constructive and businesslike atmosphere, in full accordance with the traditions that have developed over the years of productive collaboration with the founder of the Kazakh state, the first President of the Republic, Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The joint statement adopted today reflects our mutual commitment to strengthening the Russia-Kazakhstan comprehensive strategic partnership, and sets serious and responsible goals for further development. Russia and Kazakhstan have accumulated experience in interacting in various fields. The legal framework regulating our relations includes over 450 interstate and intergovernmental documents. Among them is the founding agreement signed in 2013 between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan on neighbourliness and alliance in the 21st century. It provides a solid foundation for us to look towards the future with confidence and make plans for moving forward and expanding our cooperation in various fields.
During our talks, we discussed in detail the current issues of Russian-Kazakhstani relations, exchanged views on regional and international issues, and reviewed the dynamics of integration processes in the Eurasian space, primarily within the EAEU, as well as in other multilateral formats: the CSTO, the CIS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
We talked a lot, of course, about trade and investment relations. I would like to stress that Russia and Kazakhstan are key economic partners for each other. Bilateral trade is growing at a steady pace: last year it increased by 4.5 percent to exceed $18 billion. At the same time, it is important that the share of high value-added goods is constantly increasing, in particular, machine building products, agricultural machine building products and equipment for the mining and energy industries.
Kazakh oil is mainly transited to foreign markets through Russia, and Russian oil is shipped to the People’s Republic of China through Kazakhstan. In addition, Russia is the largest importer of Kazakh coal.
Russia’s cumulative investment in Kazakhstan totals almost $13 billion, and Kazakh investment in Russia is almost $4 billion. Russian business is represented in all sectors of Kazakhstan’s economy. There are over 6,000 companies with Russian capital in the Kazakh market. The most significant projects involving investors from Russia include the production of mineral fertilizer, telecommunications services, and the mining of non-ferrous metal ores.
Our companies successfully work in the fuel and energy sector. Gazprom supplies gas to Kazakh consumers without interruption, and interacts with KazMunaiGas to process fuel from the Karachaganak field at the Orenburg gas processing plant. LUKOIL and its Kazakhstani partners have resolved to develop the Tsentralnoye field in the Caspian Sea.
Cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy continues; there are six Russian-Kazakhstani uranium mining and enrichment operations. We suggest moving on to new forms of cooperation, meaning, first of all, the building of a Russian technology-based nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan.
Close and mutually beneficial cooperation in space projects, particularly within the framework of working at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, was established as well. Last year, the cosmodrome’s lease was extended to 2050. We are ready to continue working on the Baiterek project with the goal to establish a new rocket launch site based on Russian carrier rockets.
Military and military-technical cooperation is being strengthened as well. At universities of the Russian Defence Ministry and other security agencies, Russia is helping Kazakhstan train its military specialists.
Ensuring regional stability, first and foremost, in Central Asia, is an important part of our joint work. In this context, I would like to point out our countries’ close cooperation within the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, conducting military exercises and anti-narcotics operations, and training collective rapid reaction forces.
We also discussed with the President of Kazakhstan humanitarian relations. We plan to continue promoting bilateral scientific and cultural exchanges as much as possible. Plans to establish a new Russian school and university in Kazakhstan are now being developed. We are also discussing a new branch of the Russian Centre for Science and Culture in Almaty, and are also carrying out a major restoration project at VDNKh’s historical Kazakhstan pavilion in Moscow, where a Kazakhstani Cultural and Business centre will be opened.
Russia traditionally assists Kazakhstan in training highly qualified personnel in different areas. More than 73,000 Kazakhstanis study at our universities. Over 60 Kazakhstani companies, universities and public organisations have established contacts with 39 Russian universities as part of joint educational programmes. Scientists from Russia actively participate in research projects in the Republic of Kazakhstan.
During the talks, we addressed preparations for the next, 16th Russia-Kazakhstan Interregional Cooperation Forum. This year it will be held in Omsk in November, and I was pleased to invite the President of Kazakhstan to take part. My counterpart and I supported the idea of holding a forum of young leaders of Russia and Kazakhstan as part of this event.
As I have already said, we addressed the most pressing regional and international issues during the talks. On most issues, the positions of Russia and Kazakhstan completely coincide or are close. We reaffirmed our intention to continue to closely coordinate our actions at the UN and other leading multilateral platforms, and agreed to expand cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
President Tokayev and I will meet again very soon, on May 29; a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council devoted to the fifth anniversary of the Eurasian Economic Union is scheduled in Nur-Sultan. The fact that this anniversary event will take place in the capital of Kazakhstan is very symbolic, since it was there that the Treaty on the EAEU was signed. In this way, we would like to emphasise the important role in the creation of the Union played by Kazakhstan and Nursultan Nazarbayev personally, who proposed and made the case for the idea of a Eurasian integration project.
In conclusion, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the President of Kazakhstan, all our colleagues, and friends from Kazakhstan for the productive and substantive conversation. I am confident that the results of our meeting will help strengthen the allied relations between Russia and Kazakhstan for the benefit of the fraternal peoples of the two countries.
Thank you for your attention.