• KGS/USD = 0.01126 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00225 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09196 0.77%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01126 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00225 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09196 0.77%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01126 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00225 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09196 0.77%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01126 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00225 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09196 0.77%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01126 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00225 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09196 0.77%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01126 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00225 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09196 0.77%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01126 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00225 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09196 0.77%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01126 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00225 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09196 0.77%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 34

Kazakhstan’s Foreign Policy: A New Year’s Outlook Under President Tokayev

When Kassym-Jomart Tokayev became the President of Kazakhstan in 2019, he brought to the role a wealth of experience from his long diplomatic career. Amongst many responsibilities, this experience included high-level government positions such as the post of deputy foreign minister and prime minister. Navigating geopolitical challenges since 2019 Tokayev has had a high global profile, including serving as director-general of the United Nations Office in Geneva. It was therefore expected that his internationally recognised acumen would play a foundational role in defining Kazakhstan's path through the complex, and sometimes chaotically evolving, geopolitics in Central Asia and beyond. Tokayev became president at a time when Kazakhstan faced both internal and external challenges. Domestic political and administrative reforms could not wait. The country’s strategically important natural resources, such as uranium and oil, as well as its keystone geographic position at the heart of Central Asia with a long border on the Caspian Sea attracted the attention of the international community. Situated between Russia and China, Kazakhstan required a balanced and nuanced foreign policy to respond to growing interest from the European Union (EU) and the United States. Since assuming the presidency in 2019, Tokayev has enhanced the country's geo-economic context as a shaper of transit corridors. Most notable of these is the Trans-Caspian International Trade Route (TITR), which puts Kazakhstan at the centre of pivotal geopolitical dynamics as a bridge between Europe and Asia. Strengthening bilateral and multilateral partnerships The EU, recognising Kazakhstan’s importance, has deepened its engagement with the country through an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement that entered into force in 2020. Deeper ties between Astana and Brussels, and the EU's interest in Kazakhstan, go far beyond hydrocarbon energy resources to embrace cooperation in green technologies, digital transformation and sustainable development. At the same time, Tokayev's tenure has seen Kazakhstan navigate its relationships with international superpowers amidst significant "black-swan" events like the COVID-19 pandemic and the worsening of Russia's conflict with Ukraine. His administration has skilfully maintained good ties with Russia while also adhering to international sanctions. Such an approach showcases Kazakhstan's commitment to global norms, multilateralism and international cooperation, combined with its commitment to an independent foreign policy based on national interests. Under President Tokayev's leadership, Kazakhstan has enhanced its diplomatic engagement by emphasising its strategic role in both regional and global geopolitics. His tenure has been marked by a continuing series of high-profile meetings and participation in key summits. Kazakhstan has also made crucial contributions to regional organisations, such as the Organisation of Turkic States (OTS) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The country's involvement in these organisations underlines its commitment to regional cooperation and integration. Particularly in the OTS, Kazakhstan has emerged as a leader, facilitating discussions and promoting initiatives that align with its broader foreign policy goals. Top-level international meetings (with figures such as U.S. President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and French President Emmanuel Macron) underscore Kazakhstan's central strategic importance in global...

Turkmenistan-Iraq Natural Gas Deal: A Complex Balancing Act

The recent natural gas deal between Turkmenistan and Iraq has sparked both excitement and concern in the energy world. On November 8, representatives from the State Concern Türkmengaz met with a delegation from Iraq, led by the Minister of Electricity Ziad Ali Fadel, to discuss the export of natural gas from Turkmenistan to Iraq. As with any major energy agreement, this deal carries significant implications for both countries and the region as a whole. This opinion piece explores the positive aspects, potential challenges, and wider implications of the Turkmenistan-Iraq natural gas deal. The Turkmenistan-Iraq natural gas deal presents several positive aspects for both countries. Economically, the agreement opens up new opportunities for trade and investment, providing a boost to the economies of both nations. Additionally, it strengthens diplomatic relations between Turkmenistan and Iraq, fostering closer ties and collaboration in other areas. Moreover, the deal has the potential to enhance energy security in Iraq, diversifying its energy sources and reducing dependence on a single supplier. For Turkmenistan, this agreement represents an opportunity to tap into new markets and expand its natural gas exports. While the deal offers numerous benefits, it also comes with potential challenges and drawbacks. From Iraq's perspective, one concern is the possibility that it becomes overly dependent on Turkmenistan for its energy needs. This could create vulnerabilities and limit Iraq's flexibility in the energy market. Disputes over pricing and payment terms may also arise as aligning the expectations of both parties can be a complex process. Additionally, the agreement may face infrastructure and logistical challenges, such as ensuring efficient transportation and distribution of the natural gas. The influence of regional politics on the deal is another factor to consider, as geopolitical dynamics may impact its implementation. The Turkmenistan-Iraq natural gas agreement has the potential to significantly impact the regional energy market. It may alter the dynamics of gas supply and demand in the region, affecting other players and stakeholders. The agreement could prompt neighboring countries to evaluate their own energy strategies and explore new partnerships. Additionally, the deal could contribute to greater energy cooperation and integration in the region, paving the way for future collaborations and joint projects. As we consider the implications of this gas deal, it is crucial to examine its environmental impact and public opinion. The environmental consequences of increased natural gas extraction and consumption should be carefully assessed to ensure sustainable practices. Additionally, public opinion in both countries will play a significant role in shaping the perceptions and outcomes of the deal. Public engagement and transparency are vital to ensure that the interests and concerns of the citizens are taken into account. The Turkmenistan-Iraq natural gas deal represents a complex balancing act.  It ultimately offers economic benefits, strengthens diplomatic relations, and enhances energy security while also raising concerns about energy dependency, pricing disputes, and logistical hurdles. The agreement will have implications for the regional energy market, influencing the strategies of neighboring countries and reshaping energy dynamics. As the process unfolds, it is crucial to...

President Tokayev Puts Kazakhstan at the Centre of International Diplomacy

In the first half of November, Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev received a series of global leaders who came to Kazakhstan for high-level meetings. French President Emmanuel Macron arrived at the beginning of the month for two days of intensive talks prior to signing significant agreements. Immediately after, the heads of state of the members of the Organisation of Turkic States attended the organisation's tenth anniversary summit meeting in Astana, hosted by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. A few days later, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, accompanied by his foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, came to Kazakhstan for wide-ranging bilateral consultations. This busy itinerary reinforces Kazakhstan’s role a pivotal player in global geopolitics. The country's diplomatic activity in recent years has become key to maintaining a delicate balance within Central Asia. Kazakhstan has also played a lodestar role in guiding the region on how to balance the increasingly fractured international system, reflecting both the country's geopolitical realities and its greater ambitions on the international stage. In this environment, Kazakhstan's President Tokayev has skilfully navigated relationships with regional players and global powerhouses. Macron’s first stop in Central Asia French President Macron's visit to Kazakhstan in early November was the first stop in his strategic tour of Central Asia. During his meeting with President Tokayev, Macron signed several important agreements concerning crucial sectors for future development and bilateral co-operation, including critical minerals, energy, pharmaceuticals and aerospace. These agreements signify France's realisation that, amidst Russia and China’s increasing influence in this region, France must strengthen its own relations with Central Asian countries. The agreements signed are not only economically substantial but also strategically astute. France is the fifth-biggest foreign investor in Kazakhstan, with existing ties in the energy and uranium mining sectors. France’s energy giant TotalEnergies has been long involved in the offshore Kashagan oilfield, while French company Orano, whose leader was included in Macron's delegation, runs a uranium mine in Kazakhstan. French energy company EDF is in contention for a contract to build Kazakhstan’s first nuclear power station. All these projects underscore France's strategic interest in its long-standing partnership with the country. As such, President Macron's visit is not merely a diplomatic courtesy but a demonstration of France's recognition of Kazakhstan's growing importance in international affairs. It also signifies a global shift of geopolitical focus towards Central Asia, where Kazakhstan stands as the leading country. Bilateral relations between the two countries are poised to develop robustly, exerting a significant influence on the region's economic and political dynamics. President Tokayev hosted a successful OTS summit The tenth anniversary summit of the Organisation of Turkic States (OTS) in Astana was an important moment in the history of Turkic co-operation. President Tokayev as the host (and representing Kazakhstan as a key OTS member) played a central role in shaping the summit's agenda and objectives. Two principal concerns of the gathering were to boost economic co-operation and diversify transport corridors. This emphasis aligns with the OTS members' economic development strategies to increase exports. Special attention was given to ways to support...

Kazakhstan and Chinese Premiers Meet to Discuss the New Silk Road

Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev expressed his intention to strengthen bilateral ties and enhance co-operative endeavours with China during his May 2023 state visit, where he was received by China’s President Xi Jinping, who reciprocated the sentiment. This diplomatic exchange took place in the framework of the first-ever in-person summit of Central Asian leaders hosted on Chinese soil, in Xian, a political capital of several historic Chinese imperial dynasties, including the Tang. This summit is a regional element of a wider Chinese initiative seeking to augment the country’s global standing and influence across the Asia, Africa and Europe by revitalizing ancient trade routes and pioneering new ones. With its multilateral framework, it was primarily aimed at fostering and enhancing the various transport corridors along the “New Silk Road”. As part of this ambitious vision, the assembled leaders also discussed the potential for intermodal transportation via the strategically located ports of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan on the Caspian Sea. Another agenda point was a prospective rail line extending through Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan that has been in the planning phase for numerous years. In one projected scenario, this rail line could eventually extend through northern Iran to Turkey, whence onward into Europe. However, that would also be a potential threat to the viability of the Trans-Caspian International Trade Corridor (TITR), in which Kazakhstan has been investing heavily in co-operation with Azerbaijan. Many observers saw this event as a strategic manoeuvre by Beijing, calculated to establish and nurture ties in what is traditionally considered Russia’s sphere of influence. This Chinese shift in focus towards Central Asia is of particular significance since the nations there, including Kazakhstan, are seeking alternate sources of investment following the imposition of economic sanctions on Russia as well as Moscow’s diversion of resources to its war of aggression against Ukraine. That is surely true, but the circumstances driving this strategic shift are multifaceted and cannot be attributed to a single cause. Indeed, it is notable that this summit occurred as a stand-alone event rather than as an informal sidebar to a larger event like a meeting of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation, of which Russia is also a member. It was thus a clear signal that China views Central Asia as an important region for projecting its influence independently of Russian concerns. The shift in China’s foreign-policy focus towards Central Asia could potentially reconfigure the geopolitical balance in the region in the longer term, transforming the power dynamics in the region. Yet Kazakhstan and President Tokayev surely do not wish to become as dependent on China as they were once dependent on Russia. The creation of the Organisation of Turkic States (OTS) in 2021 at Kazakhstan’s initiative, on the basis of the Turkic Council founded in 2009 likewise at Kazakhstan’s initiative, clearly signifies Kazakhstan’s wish to main the foundational “multi-vectorial” strategy that has characterized its foreign policy since independence in 1991. It would perhaps be helpful to Kazakhstan, and the countries of Central Asia in general, if the EU and the United...

Kazakhstan’s Deft Diplomacy

All the headlines in Central Asia, and many outside of it, are highlighting the first-ever summit between China and the five Central Asian countries, which will be held in the northwest Chinese city of Xi’an from May 18 to May 19. The summit is scheduled to be attended by all presidents of the five Central Asian countries, including Kazakhstan's Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. According to international observers, the event represents the potential for Chinese influence to further expand into what used to be the formerly Russian preserve of Central Asia. President Tokayev has led the way for a liberation from all foreign interferences prioritizing Kazakhstan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as reducing economic dependencies during the first 20 years of Kazakhstan's independence. During this time, he held many key state posts, including foreign minister and prime minister. In those years, he implemented the so-called “multi-vector” diplomacy that has been copied by other Central Asian countries and aspiring middle powers around the world. Originally, this diplomacy covered five directions: the Commonwealth of Independent States, with a special mention of Russia; the Asia–Pacific region, especially China; Asia, especially Turkey; Europe, especially Germany, and the Americas, especially the United States. Those initial country-specific orientations were based on hopes for foreign direct investment in the newly independent economy. This multi-vector approach, extended over the years with an emphasis on multilateralism, has also allowed Kazakhstan to play a significant role in global diplomacy. It has hosted numerous high-level peace negotiations, including the Syrian Peace Talks in Astana, asserting its position as a neutral broker and peacekeeper. Kazakhstan’s multi-vector diplomacy not only maintains a balance among global powers but also leverages these relationships in favor of its national development and regional stability. China is a significant player in Kazakhstan's economy, primarily through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), of which Kazakhstan has been called the "buckle".  Astana has skillfully managed its ties with Beijing, making certain to avoid the debt trap that has ensnared other countries, such as Sri Lanka. Yet it is a measure of Kazakhstan’s economic and diplomatic maturity that the relationship has now gone far beyond the original starting points. To avoid any sensitive overdependence on China, which would be as negative for Kazakhstan today as its overdependence on Russia was earlier, Kazakhstan's diplomacy under Tokayev reaches out in new directions. Thus, during those same two days when Tokayev will be in China for the above-mentioned summit, Kazakhstan will also be hosting the second European Union–Central Asia Economic Forum. This Forum builds upon a first meeting that took place in Bishkek in 2021. The EU side at the Forum will be chaired by Executive Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis, building on the renovated EU Strategy on Central Asia that was launched in December 2020. The event is scheduled to “take stock of progress made so far and discuss ways forward on policy, programs, and investment needed to develop a more integrated and interconnected regional market engagement”. The main focus is on...

Tokayev and Mirziyoyev make “historic breakthrough” in Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan relations

Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev met with his counterpart from Uzbekistan, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, during his state visit to Tashkent on December 21-22. Some 40 commercial agreements worth $2.5 billion were signed over two days while the two leaders also reached a border-demarcation agreement. Most significantly, the two countries signed the Treaty on Allied Relations. “It would be no exaggeration,” Tokayev said, “to call this document historic [and indeed] a breakthrough.” Background to the Treaty on Allied Relations Tokayev is no stranger to regional diplomacy. In the first decade and a half of his country’s independence, he served as Kazakhstan’s deputy foreign minister, foreign minister, deputy prime minister, prime minister, and state secretary. His leadership in developing the Treaty on Allied Relations with Uzbekistan marks a re-inauguration of autonomous economic co-operation amongst the Central Asian states. It is a promising indicator that they are again tending toward such co-operation outside Russian influence. Post-Soviet co-operation between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan began with the Central Asian Union, created in 1994 and which also included Kyrgyzstan. This organization soon expanded to include Tajikistan and was renamed the Central Asian Co-operation Organisation (CACO). However, after Russia joined CACO a few years later, it was absorbed by the Moscow-directed EurAsian Economic Community (EurAsEC). This killed Central Asia’s first attempt at autonomous economic co-operation and integration. Uzbekistan withdrew from EurAsEC three years later in 2008. In 2015, EurAsEC was superseded by and absorbed into the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), another Moscow-dominated economic integration project designed to maintain and project Russian influence across the former Soviet areas. Of the EEU’s five full members, only two -- Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan -- are from Central Asia while Uzbekistan is an observer. Western sanctions against Russia have further stalled the EEU’s already sluggish integration momentum and confirmed the diversion of its non-Russian members’ trade outside this bloc. What the new Treaty achieves Although the new Treaty is not the equivalent of NATO or the Collective Security Treaty Organisation of the Commonwealth of Independent States, it still constitutes a landmark founding document of autonomous Central Asian co-operation. “Treaties of allied relations” have been signed by other post-Soviet and Asian countries in recent years. These are mainly enhanced agreements that in the Soviet tradition used to be called “friendship and co-operation” agreements. Such agreements leave the door open to deepening co-operation in other spheres. Currency integration was not directly discussed, but this new co-operation will certainly help Uzbekistan to better implement the convertibility of its national currency, the Som. It was only in 2017 that Uzbekistan’s Som became freely convertible into Western currencies. Foreign direct investment in Uzbekistan had suffered greatly from its absence, hindering any dynamic growth during the whole reign of Mirziyoyev’s predecessor Islam Karimov, who led Uzbekistan from 1989 until his death in 2016. There is significant potential for an important future deepening of this newly established bilateral co-operation. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan reached an agreement, for example, to create a working group chaired at the level of their deputy prime ministers,...

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