GOVERNMENT WEEK. Expansion of ties between Iran and Kazakhstan important for regional security. Government financial support to businesses. Telia Sonera expands activity in Kazakhstan
Astana.April 10. KAZINFORM /Balym Issenova/ President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Astana on Monday on a two-day official visit to discuss bilateral ties and mutual cooperation. No doubt that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Kazakhstan is important, given the geographical and cultural closeness of the two countries and considering that they are Caspian neighbors. Trade between the two countries reached USD 2.5 bln in 2008 and governmets of the two countries are trying to raise this figure to USD 10 bln. Kazakhstan exports oil industry products, grain, metal and metal products to Iran and imports dried fruit, petrochemical and food products and construction materials. Presidents of the two countries had talks in private and extended formats. The issues of the development of cooperation in political, trade and economic spheres were discussed. The Presidents discussed the status of the Caspian Sea, the issue of formation of a proper legal regime for the Caspian Sea and exchanged views on regional and international problems including the situation in the Middle East and economic rehabilitation of Afghanistan. President M.Ahmadinejad highlighted the similarity of Kazakhstan and Iran’s view on many regional and international issues. “We have discussed all spheres of our cooperation – trade, investments, transport, energy, agriculture as well as the issues of regional and international character. In all sectors our positions are similar”, the President of Iran noted. The parties also touched upon all aspects of the current crisis and the ways to deal with its adverse aftermaths. The President of Iran expressed confidence that cooperation in the sphere of trade in grain and its transit would be activated. Cooperation in exploration and production of hydrocarbons, development of petrochemicals is also to be expanded. In addition to the railroad which will be built by three countries – Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran, a new auto road will be constructed. The countries will launch new “Tehran-Astana” airline. The sides set to develop interaction in construction of tankers for transportation of Kazakhstan oil to the world markets. “We also agreed on mutual investments and development of banking cooperation”, M. Ahmadinejad said. As far as the Caspian problem concerned, the Iranian leader noted the unanimity of views of Kazakhstan and Iran on this issue. Both sides are interested in preservation of peace and stability in the Caspian region and protection of the marine ecology. “We agree with N. Nazarbayev’s proposals on moratorium on sturgeon fishing. Our experts will introduce amendments to these proposals”, he added. President N. Nazarbayev noted that Kazakhstan adheres to the policy of good neighborly relations in the Caspian Sea region”. “We consider it expedient to establish a sovereign zone in 22-25 miles of external state boundaries. I think that it will be a compromise solution. Kazakhstan initially supported the principle of demilitarization of the Caspian Sea for ensuring security,” the Kazakh President said. During the talks with President of Iran, N.Nazarbayev offered to build a nuclear fuel bank on Kazakhstan’s territory. The International Atomic Energy Agency was first to propose this idea in 2005. The United States and Russia also supported this idea. "Regarding creation of a nuclear fuel bank for nuclear energy, Kazakhstan could consider the possibility of hosting it on its territory, as a country which signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and voluntarily renounced nuclear weapons" said N. Nazarbayev. The Iranian President supported the idea, but did not say whether his country would consider using such a bank. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad expressed Iran’s readiness to join in a move with the Central Asian nations to create a common currency for trade, saying it would benefit all the states in Central Asia and the Caucasus regions. “During the summit in Iran we included this issue in the final document and backed it. Undoubtedly it is necessary to prepare infrastructure and background for further creation of the single currency. It is significant to create a fair international financial system, where the single currency could properly function”, M. Ahmadinejad said. He also emphasized that Iran welcomes Kazakhstan’s membership in all international organizations, including the OPEC. The President of Iran met with Kazakh Prime Minister K. Massimov and the Mazhilis deputies. The Head of the Government informed the guest of Kazakh President N.Nazarbayev's range of instructions on realization of the agreements between Kazakhstan and Iran achieved within the meeting with his Iranian counterpart. In particular, it is the construction of a railway through Turkmenistan, waterways to the Caspian Sea and oil sector. K.Massimov noted that the Head of the State charged to consider the establishment of Iranian bank in Kazakhstan. During the meeting with a group of deputies President M. Ahmadinejad noted that Kazakh-Iranian relations have a big potential for further development. “The current situation in the world imposes the necessity of rapprochement of peoples and states. We hope that through cooperation we will be able to overcome consequences of the world crisis and achieve rapid development of our economies and culture”, the President of Iran said. The parties agreed to develop and strengthen inter-parliamentary contacts between Kazakhstan and Iran. On the second day of his stay in the country, President M.Ahmadinejad delivered a speech at the Eurasian National University. The Iranian President was awarded the Honorary Doctor degree of this University. The Rector of the university presented a medal and diploma to the honorary guest. On Tuesday President N.Nazarbayev chaired a session of the Security Council of Kazakhstan devoted to the discussion of a range of issues. Heads of Kazatomprom JSC and National Nuclear Centre made reports on the state and prospects of development of the nuclear energy sector. In his speech N. Nazarbayev highlighted the importance of the atomic sector for the country taking into consideration the world tendencies in development of nuclear energy and usage of nuclear technologies in different sectors of science and economy. On Monday during the telephone conference PM K. Massimov charged the chairman of Samruk Kazyna to withdraw the money allotted for small and medium businesses support from Sberbank. “Sberbank has not utilized the funds in Astana and Almaty. Withdraw the money and redistribute it among other banks”, the Prime Minister said. First Vice P M U. Shukeyev was charged to study the program of mortgage loan refinancing and if required to make certain corrections. The Premier charged the Kazakh Minister of Culture and Information to publish criteria for mortgage loan refinancing in all public mass media. At the first session of the Interparty Council on development of measures on overcoming the crisis and development of the country in post-crisis period the Vice Minister of Agriculture reported that around KZT 72 bln will be provided for crediting of agricultural manufacturers “The agricultural processing should be supported by lending resources and Samruk-Kazyna’s funds. We have reached an agreement with Damu Fund on using 30% of the allotted KZT 224 bln as crediting. This sum comprises about KZT 72 bln”, the Vice Minister told. During the international roundtable “Participation of the business in elaboration and implementation of anti-recessionary policy, Vice PM S. Akhmetov gave information on the total volume of the Government financial support to businesses that made about USD 5 bln over the last year and a half. 300 000 jobs are planned to be provided during implementing the “road map” developed within fulfillment of the President’s tasks set in his annual Address to the Nation, S. Akhmetov noted. Alongside the manufacturers-participants of the program on increasing the domestic content in purchasing goods and services will be imposed stringent quality requirements which should conform to all market standards, the Vice Minister said. PM K. Massimov held a meeting with Telia Sonera President and CEO Lars Nyberg. The sides discussed the issues of the company’s further activities on development of Kazakh market of telecommunications services. Lars Nyberg noted a big potential of Kazakhstan's market of telecommunication services. He was interested in future expansion of the company’s activity in Kazakhstan’s market, striving to provide world class telecommunications services.