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  • First President – National Leader Nursultan Nazarbayev’s 10 Foreign Trips

First President – National Leader Nursultan Nazarbayev’s 10 Foreign Trips

29 November, 2019 17:00

During his nearly 30 years in office, First Kazakh President – National Leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev had taken a great number of foreign trips. In this article, devoted to the First President Day, we are about to take a look back at 10 high-level visits of Nursultan Nazarbayev that left a mark in Kazakhstan’s history.

I. Official visit to the United States of America on January 16-19, 2018

First President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s trip to the United States of America had started off by holding talks with US President Donald Trump, where both had spoken highly of the long-lasting relations among the USA and Kazakhstan, with the US President pointing out the then-Kazakh President’s seminal part in the country’s development. For his part, Nursultan Nazarbayev had outlined that the US had been a close friend of Kazakhstan since the first days of independence.

In the spotlight was President Trump and Nursultan Nazarbayev’s joint statement on a US-Kazakhstan enhanced strategic partnership for the 21st century, discussing the legacy of international leadership, regional security, defence and security cooperation, strengthening economic cooperation, human dimension. So Kazakhstan’s efforts towards the non-proliferation of nuclear and chemical weapons, commitment to providing support to bring stability and security to Afghanistan had been singled out as well as the fact that Kazakhstan’s willingness to join the Convention on Cybercrime, designed to serve as a framework for cooperation against cybercrimes.

Undertakings had been made to seek opportunities to cooperate in digital economy, healthcare, infrastructure, commercial aviation, finance and banking, agriculture, and space exploration sectors, as well as commitments to work on challenges facing Central Asia by use of C5+1 format, suggesting the participation of 5 Central Asian nations (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan) and the United States.

“Kazakhstan has made the significant progress with you at the helm”, Donald Trump had told the press briefing.

The visit had seen the meetings with Michael Pence, Vice-President of the United States of America, Darren Woods, the Chief Executive Officer of ExxonMobil, Harvey Schwartz, President of Goldman Sachs, Adena Friedman, the President of Nasdaq, where the talks on Nasdaq’s work in the Astana International Financial Centre had taken place, Rick Perry, US Energy Secretary, with the IAEA Low-Enriched Uranium Bank, projects on green economy, oil and gas and energy sectors as the meeting’s keynotes, Ray Washburne, President of Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).

Round table with US business community

The United States of America is the second largest investor in the Kazakh economy, with over US investments of $50B being funneled over the years of independence. More than 500 companies involving US capital run in the energy, transport, innovation, medicine and other spheres, including Kazakhstan’s major partners as Chevron, Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Haliburton, and you name it.

The round table with the US business community, taken place as part of then-President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s visit to the USA, had zeroed in on the development of Kazakhstan's transport and transit potential and the State measures for business conditions. Also, the following topics had been touched upon: agribusiness cooperation, privatisation, green economy projects.

In a bid to improve its investment climate, safeguard investor rights, Kazakhstan, being an associated member of the OECD Investment Committee and a signatory to the Declaration on International Investment, offers a visa-free regime for citizens of 62 countries, including the US.

The Digital Kazakhstan program is in place, Nazarbayev University, the Park of Innovative Technologies, the International Technology Park of IT Startups are operational to roll out innovations in manufacturing.

Nur-Sultan (former Astana) hosted Expo 2017 international specialized exhibition ‘Future Energy’. The International Green Technology and Investment Development Centre locates in the confines of the Expo.

The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) grants its participants tax preferences for up to 50 years, offers the simplified currency, visa and labour regimes. The English law-based Centre set to be a regional hub for green, Islamic and innovative finance development.

The Head of State’s 16-19 January 2018 official visit to the United States had resulted in more than 20 commercial documents on investment and trade and economic cooperation being signed in aviation and space research, petrochemical and agricultural industries, as well as infrastructure development projects worth around $7B being designed, with the three intergovernmental agreements topping off, they include:

-          An agreement on exemptions from State aircraft maintenance;

-          A protocol to the U.S.-Kazakhstan agreement on commercial rail transit via Kazakhstan;

-          An agreement on improved global fiscal discipline.

Kazakhstan’s United Nations Security Council presidency

Then-Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s visit to the US had featured his chairmanship of the United Nations Security Council under the theme "non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction: confidence building measures".

“Kazakhstan’s election as a non-permanent member and presidency of the United Nations Security Council is the international community’s confidence placed on our country and our peaceful policy”, First Kazakh President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, had addressed the Council members during his official visit to the USA.

Kazakhstan was the first Central Asian country to steer the work one of the United Nations bodies – the UN Security Council – where the confidence promoting measures in the nuclear non-proliferation area had been put forth.

“The global community can only survive and thrive in a balance and harmony between nations, with the UN Security Council playing a special role and a historical mission”, Nursultan Nazarbayev had said.

II. Official visit to the Netherlands and participation in the Nuclear Security Summit on March 23-24, 2014


During the visit, the First President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, had met with the King and the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, and participated in the 3rd Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague.

The meeting with Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte touched upon the wider issues of bilateral cooperation, with a focus on nuclear disarmament and security, greater cooperation in trade and economy, investment, science and energy sectors. Environmental issues and effective water management, transit and transport potential and logistic infrastructure had also come under discussion.

Then-President Nursultan Nazarbayev had noted that the Netherlands had been Kazakhstan’s key and progressive European partner. The Kingdom of the Netherlands is among the main investors in the Kazakh economy and one of the leading trade partners.

An agreement had been concluded between Kazakhstan and the Netherlands to set up a Kazakhstan-Netherlands Business Council.

Participation in the Nuclear Security Summit plenary session in The Hague

Being in the forefront of anti-nuclear movement since denouncing the fourth largest nuclear arsenal inherited from the USSR, Kazakhstan has been speaking for global nuclear security.

The Nuclear Security Summit plenary session, had taken place in The Hague, the then-President of Kazakhstan had singled out several aspects, including full and comprehensive nuclear disarmament. A call for opposing nuclear terrorism and eradicating its origins had been made.

“Kazakhstan together with the U.S. and Russia had removed the infrastructure of the Semipalatinsk test site, which had been the fourth large nuclear arsenal”, Nursultan Nazarbayev had said.

III. Working visit to Russia, lecture at Moscow State University

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On 28 April 2014 then-Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev had left for the Russian Federation on a working visit, during which he had delivered a lecture on Eurasian integration at M.Lomonosov Moscow State University.

It is M.Lomonosov Moscow State University where the idea of Eurasian Economic Union had been mentioned for the first time.

The Eurasian Economic Union had been thought to facilitate new multilateral and inter-State relations at the time considering the commonality of history, economic attraction, and cultural interrelation.

In his speech at Moscow State University, Nursultan Nazarbayev had drawn attention to the fact that the Union would be purely for economic purposes, to raise competitiveness. He had debunked the claims of re-creating the Soviet Union, calling them groundless.

IV. State Visit to the People’s Republic of China on August 30, 2015


First Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s 30 August 2015 state visit to China had featured bilateral meetings with Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping, statesmen and businesspersons, as well as the participate in the parade dedicated to the 70th anniversary of China’s victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese militarists.

A meeting of Nursultan Nazarbayev and Xi Jinping had touched upon the bilateral cooperation in trade, economic, investment, credit and financial, cultural and humanitarian areas, the steadily growing relations among Kazakhstan and China had been marked.

The then-Kazakh President had conveyed his congratulations to Chinese people on the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese militarists and Beijing’s successful bid for hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The visit had ushered in a new stage of Kazakh-Chinese comprehensive strategic partnership.

Agreement had been reached to further green technology cooperation​ in the confines of Expo 2017, as well as the willingness to promote nuclear cooperation regarding the establishment of the IAEA Low-Enriched Uranium Bank within Kazakhstan.

The visit had ended with the signing of documents.

Lecture at Central Party School of the CCP

According to then-President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the Central Party School of the Chinese Communist Party had not been chosen by chance.

It is the students of the Central Party School of the CCP who will lead the Communist Party in the future.

The former Kazakh Head of State had spoken of the initiative "One Belt, One Road".

The transit land route via Kazakhstan is much shorter than the sea route, allowing for goods to be transported within two weeks, which is key to a transnational transit and transport alliance between Nur-Sultan and Beijing.

Nursultan Nazarbayev had had talks with the leadership of the Central Party School.

The parade dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese militarists had rallied together 23 Heads of State and Government, leaders of international organizations, on Tiananmen Square. The military march had also featured the Kazakh Airmobile Armed Forces.

V. 2 November 2015 official visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


During the 2 November 2015 official visit to the UK then-President Nursultan Nazarbayev had met with Queen Elizabeth II and former Prime Minister David Cameron, as well as heads of leading British companies.

David Cameron and Nursultan Nazarbayev had discussed the bilateral cooperation.

The former British PM’s 2013 visit to Kazakhstan had activated the strategic partnership, during which both governments had reached key agreements.

The then-Kazakh President awarded David Cameron the Order of Dostyk (Friendship) of I degree.

A press briefing had been held following the talks.

The then-President of Kazakhstan had underscored the serious content of the agreements signed during the visit, including joint projects in gas, power, petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries. Agreement had been concluded to run additional flights between the capitals.

The trip had also featured the opening of the Kazakh-British Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation second session, involving former UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

The participants had been updated on the key aspects of Kazakhstan’s development and economic policy, plans about an Astana International Financial Centre, calling British companies to join the latter.

The importance of the British vector in the foreign policy of Kazakhstan as evidenced by the strong partnership relations among the governments, businesses, academic communities and ministries of the two states had been outlined.

For her part, Queen Elizabeth II had welcomed the outcomes of then-President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s official visit to London.

VI. 4 September 2016 visit to China to partake in G20 Hangzhou Summit


Addressing the G20 Summit, where Kazakhstan had participated at China’s invitation, then-President Nursultan Nazarbayev had warned of the decreasing role of the World Trade Organisation and the fragmentation of the global economy, calling for joint actions of the world community.

The former Kazakh President had suggested re-structuring the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) into the Global Development Council to act as a global economic regulator.

Nursultan Nazarbayev had spoken of the coordination of monetary and fiscal policies, structural reforms in a bid to ensure stability in the long haul.

It is the 2016 G20 Summit where Nursultan Nazarbayev had called for considering G-global, Kazakh communication platform, to promote a dialogue between developed and developing countries.

Kazakhstan had announced its support for the UN SDGs, the Paris Agreement and the green economy principles, while inviting the world community to back its ideas in forming a world free of nuclear weapons.

VII. Nursultan Nazarbayev’s 6 November 2016 official visit to Japan


During his official visit to Japan, then-Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev had met with Emperor of Japan Akihito and Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. He had also addressed the National Diet of Japan and Tokai University, and attended meetings with business representatives.

The meetings had touched upon the countries’ close cooperation on many fronts, including nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

The huge contribution of Japan to resolving the global conflicts, and to sustainable regional development, as well as Kazakhstan’s commitments to building a nuclear-free world and solving energy, food and water security issues had been pointed out.

In his speech at the National Diet (Parliament of Japan), the former Head of State of Kazakhstan had expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to address the National Diet, and pointed to the measures taken by Kazakhstan for strengthening international security, and stressed the importance of joint efforts to build a world free of nuclear threat.

“Establishing a global anti-nuclear movement is crucial, that’s why we initiated the "ATOM" project”, the then-Kazakh President had said, inviting Japanese to join the project.

The President had warned of the growing risk of using nuclear weapons.

“One of the greatest challenges of the 21st is the threat of nuclear terrorism and illicit trafficking in nuclear and radioactive materials. Collapse of confidence among global leaders as never before ruins the safeguards to prevent the use of nuclear weapons. The political will of world leaders is required to turn back the tide of those negative trends”, the former President of Kazakhstan had addressed the National Diet.

The visit had seen Nursultan Nazarbayev being given the Special Honorary Citizen of Hiroshima title.

“Hiroshima and Nagasaki are a worldwide symbol of the struggle of humanity against mass destruction weapons”, the former Kazakh President had said.

He had paid tribute to the tens of thousands of victims of the atomic bombing.

VIII. 15 January 2017 official visit to the United Arab Emirates


The visit had featured negotiations with government officials, business representatives of the United Arab Emirates, as well as Nursultan Nazarbayev’s participation in the World Future Energy Summit.

During the talks with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan the issues of bilateral cooperation in trade, economic, investment, energy, cultural and humanitarian spheres had come under discussion.

The meeting had resulting in documents on key issues being signed.

While visiting the Dubai International Financial Centre, the former Head of the State had got acquainted with the activities of the DIFC, and its further growth prospects, GDP contribution, infrastructure development.

The vision of the Astana International Financial Centre as a leading financial structure in the Eurasian space had been supported.

The then-Kazakh President had also participated in the 10th World Future Energy Summit.

IX. 16 September 2017 State visit to Uzbekistan


Then-President Nursultan Nazarbayev had held bilateral meetings in order to discuss the key aspects of regional agenda and further Kazakh-Uzbek relations.

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev had met Nursultan Nazarbayev at the airport of the capital city.

The talks had taken place between Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Nursultan Nazarbayev, where the former Kazakh President had pointed out that 2017 had been a serious breakthrough in Kazakh-Uzbek relations in terms of economy, demonstrating friendly intentions between the two countries.

For his part, Nursultan Nazarbayev, had marked the great potential for further expanding the bilateral relations. He had welcomed the Uzbek President’s efforts made in a short period of time.

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who took office in 2016, managed the currency regulation, border issues, and business conditions.

The meeting had also touched upon the cooperation in trade-economic, investment, agricultural, transit-transport, military-industrial and cultural-humanitarian areas.

During the state visit Nursultan Nazarbayev and Shavkat Mirziyoyev had laid flowers to the Monument of Independence and Humanism, Uzbek national symbol.

Nursultan Nazarbayev had also participated in the ceremony of laying flowers to the monument to the First President of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov in Tashkent in front of the Aksaray Residence.

X. 24 August 2018 visit to Turkmenistan


The visit had featured the meetings with Turkmen leaders, participation in the Summit of the Heads of the Founding States of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.

During the meeting of the Heads of the Founding States of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, then-President Nursultan Nazarbayev had stressed the Fund had been founded to tackle the complex socioeconomic, water and environmental problems in the Aral Sea basin and the Aral Sea.

The Fund received the status of observer in the UN General Assembly.

The project called Regulation of the Syrdarya River Bed and Preservation of the Northern Part of the Aral Sea had helped significantly improve the ecological situation in the lower reaches of the Syr Darya River. Since 2010, the Northern Aral had been restored, with the water level of 42 meters, the salinity of water had fallen away, and the Sea’s forage, flora and fauna had been restored.

The meeting had discussed the issues to improve the IFAS’s efficiency.

The former Kazakh President had called for automating the system of administration, distribution, accounting and monitoring of water resources in the Aral Sea basin, including their quality. He had assured that Kazakhstan would remain a consistent and reliable partner in regional cooperation.

The meeting had been believed to trigger regional cooperation in use of water resources and ecology.

Adlet Seilkhanov

Photo: Akorda’s website