#Kazakhstan: Celebrating 25 years of independence

| May 4, 2016 | 0 Comments

AmbassadorThe Republic of Kazakhstan has a reason to celebrate: in 2016 it is the former Soviet country’s 25th anniversary of independence, . “And we’ve not wasted the past 25 years”, said Almaz Khamzaev, Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan (pictured) at a celebration event in Brussels on 3 May 2016. “We’ve worked very hard. And I think we’ve even become a new country!”

Ambassador Khamzaev attended the event at the Press Club on 3 May to commemorate the 25th anniversary together with Toivo Klaar, head of Central Asian Division (EEAS), Pier Borgoltz, an expert on Kazakhstan affairs and Stef Goris, Honorary Senator and president of the Assembly of the WEU (Western European Union). All of them participated in an active debate to honour the Republic’s achievements.

It was a cherished goal of our Kazakh ancestors to become independent. We have not only achieved this, we achieved even more,” Khamzaev explained. “Kazakhstan is the only country in the region with a good labour market!” Furthermore, the Kazakh government has taken on several measures to improve the country’s wellbeing. For example, a lot of money has been invested in infrastructure and urban construction. Astana has become the new, modern and prosperous capital!” The city will be able to show this to the world next year, when Astana is hosting the Expo 2017.

The Ambassador also outlined his country’s pivitol role in making the world a safer place by closing the former Soviet Semipalatinsk nuclear weapons test site and the safe disposal of all Soviet era nuclear weapons. He also highlighted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Kazakhstan  agreement to set up a low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel ‘bank’ in Oskemen, Kazakhstan, and his country’s ongoing desire to contribute to the work of the United Nations.

The Ambassador made a very strong case in support of Kazakhstan’s application to secure a non-permanent seat on the  United Nations Security Council for 2017/18, saying that Kazakhstan is ” Dynamic, Dependable and Diverse” and “seeks to use all its talents to make a positive contribution to the UN”.

In addition, all debaters agreed that the Republic of Kazakhstan had opened up to the West. “The EU has become the most important trade partner for Kazakhstan,” Khamzaev declared and Pier Borgoltz added: “The EU’s relation with Kazakhstan has been very fruitful. Kazakhstan’s engagement, also in foreign policies, has been remarkable. This anniversary can be seen as an incredible step forward for a young country!” Toivo Klaar elaborated on the country’s foreign policies. “Kazakhstan’s foreign policies have improved the country’s position on the global market!”

Furthermore, Kazakhstan’s people have managed to live in peace and harmony, even though there are more than 130 different ethnicities in the country of 17 million inhabitants. Stef Goris highly appreciated this. “Kazakhstan is a large and diverse country. About 70 % of the people are Muslims, 30% Christians. I’m deeply impressed how they handle to live together!” He added that in his opinion the West should take a closer look at the peaceful people of the Republic. “Kazakhstan’s experience could be more than helpful for us!”

Kazakhstan’s engagement in fighting terrorism has also been highlighted during the event. Toivo Klaar explained: “The country co-operates internationally to fight terrorism.” In addition, Kazakhstan is also helping other countries such as Afghanistan to become more stable and safer. For example, Afghan students are allowed to visit Kazakh universities to get educated since the education system in Afghanistan has suffered due to war and other conflicts.

According to the debaters, the West and especially the European Union learn from Kazakhstan. The country is sending a “signal of trust” to the EU by not requiring a visa for member states’ citizens, whereas people of Kazakhstan need one to visit the Union.

At the end of the celebration event of Kazakhstan’s independence, the Ambassador thanked everyone for acknowledging and appreciating the Republic of Kazakhstan’s numerous developments. “It is always good to see that also people from outside my country honour our endeavours!”

Background

Today’s Republic of Kazakhstan used to be part of the Soviet Union and was the last of the former Union’s countries to become independent in 1991. The Independence Day, the 16 December, is still a holiday in the Republic. Since 1991 the country has been led by President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Kazakhstan has a population of estimated 17 million inhabitants. For a country which is the ninth largest in the world, this is a rather low population. However, among the 17 million Kazakh people are more than 130 different ethnicities, such as Kazakhs, Russians, Tartars and others.

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Category: A Frontpage, EU, EU Reporter, Featured Article, Kazakhstan

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