Foreign relations of Kazakhstan
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
Foreign relations of Kazakhstan are primarily based on economic and political security. The Nazarbayev administration has tried to balance relations with Russia and the United States by sending petroleum and natural gas to its northern neighbor at artificially low prices while assisting the U.S. in the War on Terror. Kazakhstan is a member of the United Nations, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (which it chaired in 2010), North Atlantic Cooperation Council, Commonwealth of Independent States, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and NATO's Partnership for Peace program. Kazakhstan established a customs union with Russia and Belarus, transformed into the Eurasian Economic Community then in 2015 into the Eurasian Economic Union. President Nazarbayev has prioritized economic diplomacy into Kazakhstan's foreign policy.
Kazakhstan has a “multi-vector” foreign policy, i.e. a triangulation between the major powers of Russia, China and the US. Kazakhstan has called for “intra-regional integration in Central Asia” and international integration of the region.
In 2015 Kazakhstan joined the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. In September the Kazakh Senate ratified the Convention, which unites 26 countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela and other countries.
Foreign Policy Concept for 2014-2020
- Measures that will ensure national security, defense capacity, sovereignty and territorial unity of the country;
- strengthening peace through regional and global security;
- sustainable international position and positive global image of Kazakhstan;
- establishment of fair and democratic world order under the guiding and coordinating role of the United Nations Organization (UN);
- further integration into the system of regional and international trade-economic relations;
- creation of favorable external conditions for the successful implementation of the Strategy 2050; providing high living standards for the population; strengthening unity of the multi-national society; reinforcing rule of law and democratic institutions; protection of human rights and freedoms;
- diversification, industrial-technological development and increased competitiveness of the national economy;
- focusing the country onto the green development path and bringing it to the list of the 30 top-developed nations of the world;
- saving the national-cultural uniqueness and following the own original way of the state development;
- protection of the rights of personal, family and business interests of citizens and legal entities of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
- support to Kazakh diaspora and Kazakh language overseas.
Not until 2005 did Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan agree to begin demarcating their shared borders. No seabed boundary with Turkmenistan in the Caspian Sea has been agreed upon and the usage of Caspian Sea water is a matter that remains unsettled by international agreement.
Nuclear weapons non-proliferation
When the Soviet Union collapsed in December 1991, Kazakhstan inherited 1,410 nuclear warheads and the Semipalatinsk nuclear-weapon test site. By April 1995, Kazakhstan had returned the warheads to Russia and, by July 2000, had destroyed the nuclear testing infrastructure at Semipalatinsk.
On 2 December 2009, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Republic of Kazakhstan designated 29 August as International Day against Nuclear Tests, the anniversary of the date that Kazakhstan closed the Semipalatinsk test site in 1991.
Illegal cannabis and, to a lesser extent, opium production in Kazakhstan is an international issue since much of the crop ends up being sold in other countries, particularly in other member-states of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In 1998, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated that a "minimum of 1,517 tons of cannabis was harvested" in Kazakhstan.
With the fall of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan became a major transit country for narcotics produced in Southwest Asia, primarily from Afghanistan. In 2001, Kazakh authorities reported 1,320 cases of drug trafficking and seized 18 metric tons of narcotics. However, this is viewed as a fraction of the actual total volume trafficked and widespread corruption continues to hamper government anti-drug efforts; Transparency International gave Kazakhstan a score of 2.2, on a scale of 0-10 with 0 indicating a "highly corrupt" state. Russia and other parts of Europe are the main markets for these drugs although drug use is growing in Kazakhstan as well.
In November 2014 Kazakh Foreign Minister and Resident Representative of UNDP in Kazakhstan signed a project document supporting Kazakhstan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry in forming KazAID, a system of Official Development Assistance (ODA). The KazAID program implies technical assistance and humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. As of 2016, Kazakhstan provided Afghanistan with 20,000 tons of food products valued at some $20 million.
Bilateral relationships between the countries are very strong and Kyrgyz and Kazakh are very close in terms of language, culture and religion. Kyrgyz-Kazakh relationships have always been at a very high level and economic and other formal unification of two countries have been greeted with strong appreciation by both nations since the two share a lot in common. On April 26, 2007 the presidents of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan signed an agreement to create an "International Supreme Council" between the two states. This historic event took place during an official visit of the Kazakh president to the Kyrgyzstan capital, Bishkek.
- Kazakhstan - Uzbekistan relations have always been sincere and strong. Since the rapid development of Kazakhstan the President of Uzbekistan Mr. Karimov has visited Kazakhstan several times.
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
Main article: Armenia–Kazakhstan relations
Kazakhstan formed diplomatic relations with Armenia on 6 November 2006. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said, "The trade level cannot satisfy either side, this low indicator does not meet our states' demands." Fortunately however, "Documents signed today create a legal base for closer cooperation between our companies... As a result of talks, we confirmed the urge of our states to further strengthen our relations. Increasing trade and economic ties will contribute to this, for Kazakhstan's business and capital not to be afraid to go to Armenia." Former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan echoed Nazarbayev's statements, saying, "We want this visit to prompt the arrival of Kazakh investment in Armenia."
President Nursultan Nazarbayev welcomed Sheikh Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain, on his first ever trip and the first by an Arab leader to the Republic. He has stressed Bahrain as a key partner in the Arab world at a press conference and has ensured that this visit has led to a new page in the relations between bonding the two nations The Kazakh Government has created the Bahraini-Kazakh Business Council, unveiling plans to sign an agreement on encouraging and protecting investment, avoiding taxation and fiscal evasion.
|China||1992-01-03||See People's Republic of China – Kazakhstan relations|
|India|| See India–Kazakhstan relations
Diplomatic relations have increased in importance in the 21st century after initially remaining passive in the 1990s. Both nations seek to develop an extensive commercial and strategic partnership in the Central Asia region.
|Israel|| See Israel–Kazakhstan relations
Notwithstanding its membership in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Kazakhstan has good relations with Israel. Diplomatic relations were established in 1992 and President Nazarbayev paid official visits to Israel in 1995 and 2000. In 2006, during a state visit by Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Karim Masimov, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert remarked, "Kazakhstan can show a beautiful face of Islam ... Contemporary, ever-developing Kazakhstan is a perfect example of both economic development and interethnic accord that should be followed by more Muslim states." Bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to $724 million in 2005. In 2008, Kazkahstan and Israel began to embark on joint military developments which include Self-Propelled Guns and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems.
|Malaysia||16 March 1992||See Kazakhstan–Malaysia relations|
|Pakistan|| See Kazakhstan–Pakistan relations
Relations between the two countries began when Pakistan recognized Kazakhstan on December 20, 1991. On February 24, 1992, diplomatic and consular relations were established during an official visit by Kazakhstani president Nursultan Nazarbayev to Pakistan. Kazakhstan is an emerging market for Pakistani goods.
|Philippines||1992-03-19|| See Kazakhstan–Philippines relations
Diplomatic relations between the Kazakhstan and the Philippines were formally established on March 19, 1992. The Philippines maintains relations with Kazakhstan through its embassy in Moscow in Russia. Kazakhstan has an honorary consulate in Manila. Trade between Kazakhstan and the Philippines amounted to 7.3 million during January to November 2010. In 2009, about 1,500 Kazakh tourists visited the Philippines. As of 2009, there are about 7,000 Overseas Filipino Workers are working in Western Kazakhstan, mostly in the oil and gas sector. Kazakhstan is attracting Philippine companies to invest in the country. On 2011, Kazakhstan is planning to put up a Kazakhstan house in the Philippines either in the Bonifacio Global City or Makati to showcase Kazakh products and promote its tourist destinations. There is also plans to put up a Philippine House in Kazakhstan for the same purpose and there is also plans to put Filipino art exhibits in Kazakhstan Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and his 27 delegates arrived in the Philippines for a three-day state visit on November 10, 2003 at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City. The Kazakh officials met with their Filipino counterparts and conducted meetings. Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo met with Nazarbayev to finalize the Philippine's intent to import oil and coal from Kazakhstan and discussed possible infrastructure projects in the Central Asian country. The Philippines also supported Kazakhstan bid to become a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum on security.
|North Korea||See Foreign relations of North Korea|
|South Korea||28 January 1992|| See Kazakhstan – South Korea relations
|Turkey||1992-03-02|| See Kazakh–Turkish relations
Turkey and Kazakhstan, both being Turkic nations, are founding members of the Joint Administration of Turkic Arts and Culture TURKSOY on July 12, 1993. Turkey recognized Kazakhstan on 16 December 1991, on the same day Kazakhstan declared its independence. Diplomatic relations have developed positively on the international stage as well as in commerce and strategic affairs. Kazakhstan has an embassy in Ankara and a consulate general in Istanbul. Turkey has an embassy in Almaty and a branch office in Astana.
|Bilateral relations have grown steadily since that time. Cooperation between the two nations has grown in political, economic, and educational spheres. The presence of 100,000 ethnic Koreans living in Kazakhstan (known as Koryo-saram) creates an additional link between the two countries.|
On 28–29 December 2014 Kazakhstan's Prime Minister Erlan Idrissov paid a visit to Turkish capital Ankara. Idrissov met with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. During the meetings Kazakhstan’s and Turkey’s foreign ministers announced their intentions to further deepen bilateral political and economic ties, including by reaching the mark of $10 billion in annual trade.
Kazakhstan provided Ukraine with humanitarian aid after the beginning of military conflict in southeast Ukraine in 2014. In October 2014, Kazakhstan donated $30,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross's humanitarian effort in Ukraine. In January 2015 Kazakhstan sent $400,000 worth of aid to Ukraine's southeastern regions to help ease the humanitarian crisis.
Delegations from the EFTA States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland met with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan for a first round of negotiations on a broad-based Free Trade Agreement on 11–13 January 2011 in Geneva.
The launching of EFTA-Russia/Belarus/Kazakhstan free trade negotiations had been announced in November 2010 by Ministers from the seven participating States, following a preparatory process including a Joint Feasibility Study.
The 11th round of free trade negotiations was conducted from 27 to 30 January 2014 in Astana, Kazakhstan. A 12th round of negotiations scheduled for April 2014 has been postponed. No new dates have been set yet.
The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Kazakhstan has been the legal framework for European Union-Kazakhstan bilateral relations since it entered into force in 1999. In November 2006 a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of energy between the EU and Kazakhstan has been signed establishing the basis for enhanced cooperation.
The future European Commission assistance will focus on the following priority areas: promotion of the ongoing reform process at political, economic, judiciary and social level, infrastructure building, and cooperation in the energy sector.
The overall EU co-operation objectives, policy responses and priority fields for Central Asia can be found in the EC Regional Strategy Paper for Central Asia 2007-2013. In addition to the assistance under the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), Kazakhstan participates in several ongoing regional programs.
On 20 January 2015 Kazakhstan and the EU initialed the EU-Kazakhstan Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. This agreement will greatly facilitate stronger political and economic relations between Kazakhstan and the EU. It will increase the flow of trade, services and investment between the parties and will contribute to Kazakhstan's political and social development.
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Belarus||See Foreign relations of Belarus|
|Bulgaria||1992-07-05||See Bulgaria–Kazakhstan relations|
|Croatia||See Foreign relations of Croatia
|Czech Republic||See Foreign relations of the Czech Republic|
|Denmark||1992-05-06||See Denmark–Kazakhstan relations|
|Greece||See Foreign relations of Greece|
|Russia|| See Kazakhstan–Russia relations
Diplomatic relations between Russia and Kazakhstan have fluctuated since the fall of the Soviet Union but both nations remain particularly strong partners in regional affairs and major supporters of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Kazakhstani-Russian relations have been strained at times by Astana's military and economic cooperation with the United States as well as negotiations over Russia's continued use of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, however the two nations retain high-level military and economic cooperation perhaps second among former Soviet states only to that between Russia and Belarus. Kazakhstan sells oil and gas to Russia at a significantly reduced rate and Russian businesses are heavily invested in Kazakhstan's economy.
Rakhat Aliyev, the First Vice Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan met with Anton Tahlmann, the Vice Foreign Minister of Switzerland, in Bern, Switzerland from 13–14 November 2006. Tahlmann announced that the Swiss Federal Council is considering opening an embassy in Kazakhstan, saying, "Switzerland is interested in comprehensive development of relations with your country because of its dynamic development and the growing role in the region. In relation with this Bern regards an increase of its diplomatic presence in this country, an opening of the Swiss embassy in perspective." He confirmed his government's support for Kazakhstan's candidacy for the Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2009. The two ministers also discussed trade, migration, and the environment.
|Ukraine||1991||See Kazakhstan–Ukraine relations|
|United Kingdom||1992-02-19||See Kazakhstan – United Kingdom relations|
United States of America
Kazakhstan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Yerzhan Ashikbayev said that Kazakhstan is seeking “new perspectives” and boosting its relations with Latin American nations via a series of diplomatic visits.
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, on June 3 met with the Deputy Foreign Minister, Yerzhan Ashikbayev, in Asunción, Paraguay, for the 44th OAS General Assembly where Ashikbayev presented a contribution to help fund important OAS programs.
Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov conducted a four-day visit to Mexico on September 17–20, 2014. During his visit Idrissov met with Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo, Foreign Secretary Jose Antonio Meade, former President Vincente Fox, other senior officials and business leaders. The Minister and his delegation will view the future site of Kazakhstan's embassy in Mexico City. Idrissov said that the main objective of his visit was to build a bridge between Latin America and Eurasia. The Foreign Minister underlined that economic and trade collaboration with Kazakhstan will allow investors to reach neighboring markets, such as Russia and China. Idrissov also said that Kazakhstan seeks to expand its presence in Latin America and considers Mexico as a strategic ally in building these relations, while Kazakhstan can offer the same support to Mexico in the Eurasian region.
Kazakhstan has proactively worked to establish ties with African nations. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Askar Mussinov participated in the 25th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in Johannesburg, South Africa June 12–15.
Responding to an international call to help ease the suffering that Ebola is causing in West Africa, Kazakhstan transferred $50,00 to the UN Ebola Trust Fund in late 2014. After that Astana expressed its intention to provide $300,000 to the African Union’s special project to fight Ebola.
The 1st day of the VIII Astana Economic Forum held on May 21, 2015 was dedicated to Africa and was titled "Africa – the Next Driver of the Global Economy". The Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrissov noted: "We recognise that Africa is a continent with huge potential. It has enormous human capital and a large, young population.” More than 20 permanent representatives to the United Nations (UN) from Africa participated in the session.
Kazakhstan has been a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace since 27 May 1994. In October 2014 Kazakhstan and NATO marked 20 years of cooperation within the Partnership for Peace. To that end, from 6 to 10 October 2014 a NATO delegation visited Kazakhstan to take part in a series of public diplomacy events. Among meetings with Kazakhstan's officials, the delegates also visited the Nazarbayev and the Gumilyov Eurasian National universities in Astana, where they delivered lectures explaining NATO's engagement with partners in the Central Asian region and briefed audiences on the key outcomes of the recent NATO Wales Summit, with particular focus on NATO's partnership policy and Afghanistan.
A NATO delegation also plans to visit Astana in the first half of 2015 and hold a joint event with the Kazakh side in the second half of 2015. The future NATO-Kazakhstan joint activities will be held in the framework of the Partnership for Peace program, which centres on the development and exchange of experience for peacekeeping forces.
Rest of world
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Canada|| See Canada–Kazakhstan relations
The countries established diplomatic relations with each other in 1992. Canada has an embassy in Almaty. Kazakhstan has an embassy in Ottawa and a consulate in Toronto. Both countries are full members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. The President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, made an official visit to Canada in May 2003.
|Brazil||President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva visited Astana in 2009|
|Cuba||See Foreign relations of Cuba|
|Egypt||See Foreign relations of Egypt|
|Mauritius||20 October 2014||See Foreign relations of Mauritius|
|Mexico||14 January 1992||See Kazakhstan–Mexico relations|
|United States||16 December 1991||See Kazakhstan–United States relations|
At the 27th meeting of the Foreign Investors' Council, President Nazarbayev announced visa-free entry for citizens of the United States, the Netherlands, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, the UAE, South Korea, and Japan. It should be noted that currently Kazakhstan and the United States issue 5-year visas to citizens of each other.
This will fulfill a goal of diversifying the economy while also helping the world become more acquainted with Kazakhstan’s cultural patrimony. Since 2001 to 2012, Kazakhstan has doubled its tourism earnings. Experts expect that Kazakhstan will continue to benefit from tourism from the eased visa regime.
On July 15, 2014 Kazakhstan launched a pilot project of visa-free regime for 10 countries: UK, USA, Germany, France, Italy, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Malaysia, the Netherlands, South Korea and Japan. Citizens of these countries can enter, exit and transit through Kazakhstan without a visa for visits of up to 15 calendar days at a time.
On June 26, 2015 Kazakhstan issued a resolution expanding the number of countries included in a trial visa-free regime and extended that regime until Dec. 31, 2017. The list now includes 19 countries, including Australia, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UAE, the U. K. and the U.S.
Kazakhstan became a member of the United Nations on 2 March 1992, nearly three months after gaining independence.
During the General Assembly on November 12, 2012, Kazakhstan was elected to a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council for the first time. Their seat is with the Asian Group and their term will expire in 2015.
At United Nations Day 2013, Foreign Minister Erlan Idrisov addressed the UN General Assembly saying the UN should develop a regional center in Almaty. Since the United Nations has no regional offices between Vienna and Bangkok, Almaty is home to 18 international organization's regional offices and would be vital to the development of Central Asia and its neighbors.
At the 68th Assembly of the United Nations, Foreign Minister Idrisov announced Kazakhstan's bid for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for 2017-2018. So far they and Thailand have announced their bids.
In February, 2015 the United Nations' specialized agency World Health Organization opened a new geographically dispersed office (GDO) for primary health care in Kazakhstan at the Kazakh National Medican University of S.Asfendiyarov in Almaty. According to the head the Kazakh Medical University, the GDO of the WHO's European Bureau in Almaty will be financed by the UN.
In July 2015 Kazakhstan was accepted to the Executive Council of the World Federation of UNESCO (WCF) Clubs at the ninth WCF World Congress, UNESCO Centres and Associations.
On May 6, 2016, Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov spoke at two high level meetings at the U.N. headquarters in New York. The Foreign Minister said that Kazakhstan was calling for a nuclear free world by 2045, the 100th anniversary of the United Nations.
Kazakhstan, along with Sweden, Bolivia and Ethiopia, were elected to serve on Security Council for a two year term, starting from 1 January 2017. Kazakhstan also signed the Paris Climate Change Agreement on Aug. 2 at UN Headquarters in New York.
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
Kazakhstan is one of the original founding members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, known as the Shanghai Five. They formally began the organization on April 26, 1996 with the signing of the Treaty on Deepening Military Trust in Border Regions in Shanghai. Since then, Kazakhstan has become a very active member in global politics within the organization.
At the SCO Summit in Bishkek, Kyrygyzstan on September 20, 2013, Kazakhstan met with leaders to discuss many issues. One of the main issues discussed was the focus on regional stability for Afghanistan after the United States withdraws its troop. Kazakhstan also signed the Bishkek Declaration along with members and observers to find diplomatic solutions for Iran and Syria. On Syria, Kazakhstan wanted to help find a diplomatic solution that would not involve direct intervention due to the need of UN authorization. On Iran, Kazakhstan wanted to see a diplomatic solution between Iran and the P5+1 group for Iran to enrich uranium at levels for energy consumption.
Other international organizations
Kazakhstan had shown an interest in the Antarctic before, with officials even identifying it as a potential source of drinking water for the arid steppe nation. The country staged its first expedition to the South Pole in 2011.
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
On January 23 in Davos at the World Economic Forum, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Karim Massimov and Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Angel Gurria signed a Memorandum of Understanding between Kazakhstan and the OECD on the implementation of the Country Program of Cooperation for 2015-2016.
In July 2016, it was announced that Kazakhstan was admitted to the OECD Competition Committee that aims to promote antitrust reforms. Kazakhstan is the first Central Asian country to join the Committee.
World Trade Organization
Kazakhstan applied for WTO accession on 29 January 1996. The accession negotiations between Kazakhstan and the WTO lasted 20 years and on 30 November 2015, the organization welcomed Khazakstan as its 162nd Member.
World Anti-Crisis Conference
The 21st Word Anti Crisis Conference was conducted with the support of the UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/67/19International financial sistem and development from December 21 2012 on May 23, 2013 within the framework of the VI Astana Economic Forum. Main outcome of the WAC I was the Astana Declaration and the guidelines of the World Anti-Crisis Plan developed using the contributions from the international expert community, the UN member states and the UN Secretariat.
The concept of the WAC Plan, based on democratic principles and the interests of all UN member states aims at developing effective measures to overcome the economic and financial crisis, preventing future recessions and ensuring long-term balanced growth of the global economy.
Kazakhstan has not yet established diplomatic relations with:
- Belize, Bahamas, Haiti, St.Kitts and Nevis, St.Lucia, St.Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Guyana, Suriname
- Guatemala, El Salvador, Bolivia, Uruguay
- Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe, Gabon, DR Congo, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Seychelles, Comoros, Mauritius, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana
- Bhutan, Nepal
- Timor-Leste, Palau, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Niue, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Papua New Guinea
- the rest of states with limited recognition.
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