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Deepening partnership with Kazakhstan

On the last leg of her five-day trip Chancellor Angela Merkel travelled to Kazakhstan. She wanted her visit to "signal the start of an even more dynamic partnership". Kazakhstan was Germany's most important economic partner in Central Asia, she said. "Today, documents worth a total of two billion euros were signed," Merkel reported. In addition, the OSCE chairmanship gave Kazakhstan the opportunity to strengthen freedom, democracy and human rights.

Angela Merkel and Nursultan Nazarbayev Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Nursultan Nazarbayev Photo: REGIERUNGonline/Kugler

"Trade with Kazakhstan - and this is something we should bear in mind - represents 90 per cent of Germany's trading volume with the region and 75 per cent of German exports to Central Asia," Merkel said. And this trading volume could by all means be increased.

Expanding economic ties

Nazarbayev welcomes the Chancellor with military honours open popup Reception with military honours Photo: REGIERUNGonline/Kugler

Imports of natural gas from Kazakhstan had become increasingly important when it came to securing Germany's energy supply: "Kazakhstan has become Germany's fourth most important supplier of natural gas," the Chancellor stressed. In return, German businesses could make very valuable contributions to the modernisation of Kazakhstan.

Angela Merkel emphasised that German trade and industry were interested in the areas of energy efficiency, telecommunications, the construction industry, mechanical engineering and agriculture. However, the most important prerequisite for greater engagement in Kazakhstan were reliable framework conditions and a solid foundation based on mutual trust.

Overcoming the consequences of the international financial crisis

The international financial crisis had hit both the Kazakh and the German economy hard, said the Chancellor. "Some Kazakh banks also got into difficulties. German creditors and the German state had a financial burden to bear as a result."

Chancellor Angela Merkel laying a wreath at the monument to the Defenders of the Fatherland open popup Laying a wreath at the monument to the Defenders of the Fatherland Photo: REGIERUNGonline/Kugler

Now it was necessary, she said, to fully reconstitute those banks that were affected, and that "we feel that the Kazakh government is also supporting that process". Germany would then once more be able to issue export credit guarantees that are important for developing the two countries' reciprocal trading volume.

"We are looking to the future," the Chancellor stressed. Kazakhstan was an important friend and partner of Germany beyond the economic sphere too.

This year Kazakhstan holds the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). A meeting of heads of state and government is to be held before the end of this year.

Sunday, 18. July 2010

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