Nazarbayev's forthcoming visit to Brussels to deepen Kazakhstan-Belgium cooperation and to expand Kazakhstan-EU relations

By Dimash Syzdykov

As is known, the Kingdom of Belgium is an administrative and political centre of Europe where the headquarters of the European Union, EU Council,  European Parliament, NATO and other international organizations are located. In the second half of 2010 Belgium assumed the office of the EU Council presiding country. For Kazakhstan, as the OSCE chairing country, development of the relations with the state where the major European institutes are located is an important priority in its foreign policy.On the threshold of the official visit of the Kazakh President to Belgium scheduled for October 25-26, Kazinform publishes an interview with Director General of the Royal Institute for International Relations Marc Trenteseau who gave his own evaluation to the Kazakh-Belgian bilateral relations and chairmanship of our country in the OSCE.
Mr. Trenteseau, how would you assess the level of the Kazakh-Belgian bilateral relations? What results do you expect from the forthcoming visit of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev to the Kingdom of Belgium?

The oncoming official visit of the Kazakh President to Brussels sets the best pattern of quite good level of both countries relations. A whole range of bilateral documents are planned to be signed within the visit which in turn will allow deepening and expanding cooperation between two states.

Undoubtedly, the visit will provide an opportunity to develop ties between Kazakhstan and the European Union since within Belgium's chairmanship in the EU Council it will be possible to hold meetings with the representatives of the European institutions, namely, President of the European Council (the supreme body of the European Union) Herman Van Rompuy, Chairman of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek, Chairman of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and other officials.

In recent years the European Union has been giving special attention to Central Asia and Kazakhstan. From an economic viewpoint, the region is of great importance for energy security of Europe. Cooperation in the environmental protection is important too. Kazakhstan and the European Union can join their efforts to solve the problems caused by climate change. Issues of global security are crucial too. In particular, the countries can jointly work on the problems connected with transnational organized crimes, illegal trafficking in drugs and weapons. We all know that all of these issues are of common interest; therefore they must be solved jointly. In general, the potential of Kazakhstan- Belgium and Kazakhstan-EU cooperation is quite huge and we should develop their interaction in all fields.
This year Kazakhstan presides in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an authoritative international structure. In the second half of 2010 Belgium took the office of the EU chairing country. In this view, how do you assess the interaction between two countries, as well as between the EU and the OSCE?

The OSCE remains the basis of international security. I can say that it is the major tool of collective security in the Euro-Atlantic region. Taking into consideration that Kazakhstan chairs the OSCE in 2010, we hope that your country will significantly promote solution of the problems within the Organization and raising the weight of the OSCE on the international arena. As for Belgium, you know that in December 2009 the EU adopted the Lisbon Treaty which aims at deep transformation of the whole architecture of the EU institutions. In this context Belgium finds it important to assist in implementation of all provisions of the Treaty especially in the field of foreign relations. Therefore cooperation between the OSCE and the EU, Kazakhstan and Belgium gains special relevance.
The OSCE top-level summit has not been held for 11 years. Kazakhstan managed to convince the OSCE leaders to host the Summit on December 1-2, 2010 in Astana. What can you say about this event?

As I have noted, the OSCE is an important tool in the system of Euro-Atlantic collective security. Unfortunately, some provisions of the agreements signed within the Organization are not implemented today. As for Europe, the problems of security should not be considered within the EU only. In this view, we are very glad that Kazakhstan was supported in his initiative to hold the OSCE Summit in Astana which is expected to become the main event of the Organization in 2011. I think the top-level meeting will allow solving the urgent issues on the OSCE space. Therefore we hope for success of the Summit.
Thank you for the conversation!