This year is a very special year for my country – we are celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan!
In 1991 some observers doubted Kazakhstan’s ability to survive as a sovereign nation, given its multi-ethnic, religiously diverse population, an unbalanced economy, and the huge material and moral burden in the form of military infrastructure and a nuclear arsenal.
That legacy was a challenge which we managed to turn into an opportunity. Over the last quarter of a century we have completed a journey from a country nonexistent on the political map to a stable middle-income nation and respected member of the international community.
People of more than 120 ethnicities live in Kazakhstan. In this context, the establishment in 1995 of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan, on the initiative of President H.E. Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, became an important element of the political system of Kazakhstan, which ensured respect for the rights and freedoms of Kazakh citizens, irrespective of their ethnicity.
As a multi-ethnic country, Kazakhstan promotes the belief in the importance of inter-ethnic, inter-religious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and non-discrimination. Every three years since 2003, Kazakhstan has hosted the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, initiated by President Nazarbayev. The Fifth Congress took place in June 2015 and the next Sixth Congress will take place in 2018.
Independence is, first of all, about the economic viability of the country. During the period of formation of our young state, Kazakhstan’s GDP per capita increased by 20 times.
We reached the objectives of Strategy 2030 ahead of time and are now implementing Strategy 2050, with our ultimate goal being that of joining the world’s top 30 most developed nations by the middle of the century.
International ratings confirm that Kazakhstan as an emerging market is one of the most attractive economies to do business with. According to the World Bank, Kazakhstan is one of the leading countries in attracting foreign capital. During the last ten years in economy attracted more than 230 billion US dollars of direct foreign investment. In the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Rating 2017, Kazakhstan’s rating is 35 from 190 surveyed – among the top 10 global improvers and leads Central Asian region.
Despite obvious achievements, we are working to improve the investment climate and towards harmonization our investment policy with OECD standards. We started the new stage of reformation and modernization of the country by 100 Concrete Steps of implementing five institutional reforms. These reforms are our guidelines for the future and cover the following areas: formation of the modern state apparatus, ensuring the rule of law, industrialization and economic growth, the future of a united nation and creating transparent and accountable government.
Realization of these projects includes a set of special provisions, such as 10 years tax exemption, liberalized monetary, labor and visa regime, legislative system based on common law, English as the official language, launching direct flights with world’s key financial centers.
We are a young nation with an ancient history. Last year we celebrated 550 years of Kazakh statehood. Our history and geography have both influenced our domestic and foreign policy. For millennia, our ancestors lived, and survived, at the crossroads of civilizations, caravan routes of the Great Silk Road, military conquests and imperial expansions.
The 25th Anniversary of Independence of Kazakhstan – an important milestone – with major international events ahead of us, contributing to global peace and security in several key areas:
Following Kazakhstan’s election to a non-permanent seat of the United Nations Security Council for a two-year term, Kazakhstan will begin its work in the UN Security Council starting January 1, 2017.
We take our election to the Security Council as an international recognition of the soundness and maturity of our foreign policy. This is a historic achievement, not only of Kazakhstan but that of the entire sub region of Central Asia, which had never been represented in the body responsible for international peace and security. Stability and security in the world – that’s what we want for all of us!
As you are aware, today, Kazakhstan is a recognized leader in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. This year, on August 29, we marked 25 years since the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site.
We intend to draw the global community’s attention on our initiatives. They aim to build a world free from nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and from the virus of war and conflicts – the central message of the Manifesto of the President of Kazakhstan – “World. 21st Century”.
Kazakhstan will work to achieve this noble goal for the centenary of the United Nations in 2045. We will deal with the promotion of anti-terrorism initiatives put forward during the 70th session of the UN General Assembly last year. Kazakhstan will also give impetus to resolving the issues of water, energy and food security.
From June 10 to September 10, 2017, Kazakhstan will host “EXPO-2017” – an International Specialized Exhibition with the theme “Future Energy”, which will focus on the environmental challenges facing humanity, and how to overcome them.
The upcoming World Exhibition in Astana will give everybody a unique opportunity to visit Kazakhstan, to explore and see it, both as a tourist and businessperson. Hospitality is an inherent feature of our nation, and a warm welcome awaits all our guests.
In addition, Kazakhstan is working on the establishment of the International Financial Centre and Centre for Transfer of Green Technologies in Astana, which will be later located on the infrastructure base of the “EXPO 2017”.
The European vector of international cooperation is a major priority of our foreign policy. Kazakhstan is interested in developing long-term and mutually beneficial cooperation with Romania, and within the framework of the European Union as well.
The Kazakhstan-EU Agreement on Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation, signed December 2015 in Astana, will give a significant boost to economic and political ties between the EU and Kazakhstan.
The Agreement will reinforce cooperation in some 29 key policy areas, including in the sectors of economic and financial cooperation, justice and the rule of law, energy, environment and climate change, employment and social affairs, culture, education and research.
All Kazakhstan’s initiatives are well known and we are grateful to Bucharest for supporting Astana along this way.
We consider Romania as a key partner in Eastern Europe and on the Balkans and in this regard, let me express my confidence that mutual beneficial and friendly relations between Kazakhstan and Romania have a great promise.
Next year we will celebrate 25 years of the Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and Romania. We always remember the fact that Romania was one of the first country in the world, which recognized Kazakhstan’s Independence.
During these years, our states have achieved significant progress in all spheres of bilateral cooperation and multilateral collaboration. Kazakhstan and Romania enjoy the regular political dialogue. Astana and Bucharest coordinate efforts within the United Nations, OSCE and other international fora. Political consultations at the level of ministries of foreign affairs are held annually, as well as the interparliamentary events and meetings of the intergovernmental commission are held permanently.
December is a special month for our countries, marking the National Days: on December 1st Romania celebrates its National Day, and on December 16th Kazakhstan celebrates the Independence Day. And, I would like to congratulate all of us with these significant dates!