Kazakhstan, UK Sign Accord on Transit to Afghanstan

This week’s visit to Astana by British Secretary of Defence Philip Hammond resulted in the signing of an agreement guaranteeing the transit of British military property and personnel across the territory of Kazakhstan.

During his first official visit to Kazakhstan, Philip Hammond met President Nursultan Nazarbayev, his counterpart, Minister of Defence Adilbek Dzhaksybekov and other officials.

In a February 27 meeting in Akorda, President Nazarbayev said the two countries have established close political and economical contacts. He also noted this year Astana and London will mark the 20th anniversary of their diplomatic relations.

“The upcoming visit of David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the UK, is very important for Kazakhstan,” the President was quoted as saying by his press service. “We are further developing cooperation in the field of defence. Our military forces participate in military training programmes in the United Kingdom.”

“I am delighted at the opportunity to discuss issues of strengthening and further development of military cooperation between our countries as well as those of ensuring regional security,” Hammond said.

> Logistic And Afganistan

Earlier that day Minister of Defence Dzhaksybekov met his counterpart to discuss issues on defence policy and security in the Central Asia region, the status of the International Security Assistance Forces in Afghanistan and the possibility to transit military property and personnel across the Kazakhstan territory.

After the meeting the two ministers signed an intergovernmental agreement guaranteeing the transit of military property and personnel across the territory of Kazakhstan.

The agreement on the establishment of a transit zone for British military forces is of high importance for the UK due to its participation in international efforts to stabilize and rehabilitate Afghanistan.

Dzhaksybekov said “Kazakhstan appreciates the contribution of the United Kingdom to stabilising the situation in the Asian region.”

“We consider international military cooperation an important tool in ensuring regional security, where cooperation between regional and international organizations is one of the most important and crucial components,” Dzhaksybekov added.

In his turn, Hammond congratulated his counterpart and the military forces of Kazakhstan on the upcoming 20th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s Army. Hammond said the Kazakhstan military has developed rapidly and efficiently. Bilateral high-level contacts between the countries has expanded and continuously contribute to building mutual understanding, trust and growth of bilateral cooperation in various spheres.

Both ministers also expressed satisfaction with the dynamics and progress in bilateral military relations as well as confidence in further strengthening of the mutually beneficial defence cooperation in the future. Peacekeeping activities in particular have been a significant part of the bilateral military cooperation. International annual military exercises, first held in 2003 called “The Steppe Eagle” have become one of the tools of promoting interaction in this sphere.

Dzhaksybekov also invited the British delegation to visit the Second Kazakhstan International exhibition of military equipment and weapons “KADEX- 2012”, to be held in Astana in May.
World media monitoring