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Presidents of Kazakhstan and Germany agree to enhance co-operation

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Kazakhstan intends to deepen people-to-people co-operation with Germany, considering the substantial German diaspora of 226,000 people living in Kazakhstan and over one million former Kazakh citizens residing in Germany, said President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at a joint media briefing with Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on June 20, the Akorda press service reported.

“This is a ‘golden bridge’ that strengthens friendship between our peoples, and we intend to deepen cooperation in this area,” added Tokayev.

Steinmeier concurred, saying the two countries have close ties. He noted that over the last three decades of diplomatic relations, Kazakh-German cooperation has only grown more robust thanks to the ethnic Germans living in Kazakhstan, as well as Germans from Kazakhstan living in his country.

“They make the exchange between our countries vibrant,” Steinmeier said, expressing his intention for a closer partnership with Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

Steinmeier noted that Germany is keen to support visa facilitation for Kazakh citizens as part of the European Union’s efforts in this area.

Mutual trade with Kazakhstan, which is one of Germany’s top 50 most important economic partners and top four oil suppliers, topped $10 billion last year, according to German statistics. Steinmeier stressed the need to diversify supply chains and sources of raw materials, calling it a top priority for German businesses. Tokayev said Kazakhstan could provide the German economy with energy and the necessary raw materials, mentioning the Kazakh oil supply to an oil refinery in Schwedt in northeastern Germany as a good example.

“This is especially important given the current political and economic tensions,” said Tokayev, emphasizing that Kazakhstan has been a long-time proponent of peaceful resolution of conflicts.

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“We very much hope that a ceasefire will be achieved in Ukraine as soon as possible, and we will be able to continue talking about establishing a lasting peace in this part of the world,” he said.

Regarding Western sanctions, Tokayev stressed Kazakhstan’s firm commitment to the World Trade Organization’s rules and to those adopted in the international market.

“As for the so-called export of dual-use goods to Russia, this is absolutely untrue,” the Kazakh President said.

He also addressed the EU-Central Asia cooperation, emphasizing how important the EU is to Kazakhstan as the country’s largest trade partner.

He reaffirmed that Kazakhstan will continue to work with European institutions to strengthen cooperation as part of the “Central Asia + EU” format, which recently held a top level meeting in the Kyrgyz Republic, during which the countries discussed several issues concerning joint partnership and the present geopolitical situation.

“Central Asia is becoming increasingly influential in the international arena,” President Tokayev said.

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