Saeima delegation in Astana: cooperation with Central Asia, including Kazakhstan, is high on Latvia’s foreign policy agenda

(30.05.2016.)

During their visit to Astana, Inese Lībiņa-Egnere, Deputy Speaker of the Saeima, and Andrejs Klementjevs, Secretary of the Saeima, met with the highest officials of Kazakhstan and stressed that Kazakhstan is an important partner for Latvia in the Central Asia region. It is evidenced by the fact that cooperation with Central Asia was among the priorities of the Latvian presidency of the EU and continues to be high on Latvia’s foreign policy agenda also after the conclusion of our presidency. 
The representatives of the Presidium of the Saeima met with Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of Kazakhstan, and Roman Vasilenko, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan and the co-chair of the Kazakh – Latvian Intergovernmental Commission.

The Latvian delegation expressed their appreciation for the active bilateral cooperation between Latvia and Kazakhstan, which is promoted through active exchange of high level visits. The delegation also attested that Latvia views Kazakhstan as a responsible player in Central Asia and the international arena. In this context Lībiņa-Egnere and Klementjevs congratulated Kazakhstan on joining the World Trade Organisation, set to serve as a basis for stable external economic cooperation.

The Deputy Speaker and the Secretary of the Saeima acknowledged Latvia’s interest in cooperating with Kazakhstan in the transport, transit and logistics sectors in the framework of the development of the new Silk Road. The MPs emphasised that Latvia’s competitive advantage is its experience in the transport sector and the developed infrastructure, for example, city ports. In their meeting with the highest officials of Kazakhstan, the Latvian delegation also expressed hope that a direct AirBaltic route between Riga and Kazakhstan would be set up by 2017 as this would significantly boost economic cooperation.

Lībiņa-Egnere and Klementjevs informed the Kazakh officials that the week before the Saeima had adopted in the first reading a draft law on the EU-Kazakhstan Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, thus giving conceptual support for the ratification of this agreement. The agreement will create a modern legal framework for EU-Kazakhstan relations, thus opening a new page in the cooperation between Latvia and Kazakhstan, the Latvian delegation said. The agreement deals with the political dialogue between the signatories, as well as their cooperation in such areas as trade, security, migration, finances and judicial affairs.

When meeting with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Saeima delegation expressed interest in expanding the representation of Kazakhstan in Latvia and invited Kazakhstan to open an embassy in Riga.

During their visit Lībiņa-Egnere and Klementjevs also plan to meet with Rapil Zhoshibaev, Commissioner of Expo Astana 2017, and Gulmira Isimbayeva, Deputy Chairperson of the House of the Majilis of the parliament of Kazakhstan, and to attend an international conference hosted by the Senate of the parliament of Kazakhstan, entitled “Religion Against Terrorism”.

The Saeima delegation is accompanied on its visit by Jurijs Pogrebņaks, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Latvia to Kazakhstan.

Saeima Press Service

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