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US to strengthen strategic cooperation with Kazakhstan and Central Asia

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced during his first official visit to Astana that the US is ready to strengthen its strategic partnership with Kazakhstan, creating closer economic cooperation with it and other countries in the Central Asian region, reports Reuters.

«I would like to emphasize that the strategic partnership between the United States of America and Kazakhstan is experiencing very rapid development. Since December 1991, when the US was the first country to recognize the independence of Kazakhstan, the US has been firmly committed to supporting the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence of Kazakhstan and the countries of the entire region,” said Blinken.

He also emphasized that US businessmen were among the first to invest in Kazakhstan, with these investments exceeding 50 billion US dollars overall since 1991.

Also, during the visit, Blinken announced the allocation of an additional 25 million US dollars to the Economic Resilience Initiative of Central Asian countries, which will now amount to 50 million US dollars in total. The task of this assistance is the more extensive development of the regional economy, the creation of new export markets, and the attraction of private sector investments. The initiative will help the countries of Central Asia mitigate the consequences of Russian aggression in Ukraine, gaining new cooperation partners and promoting the diversification of the economies.

Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi said that the spirit of a strong partnership supports the cooperation. The political dialogue goes on with renewed vigor, and economic cooperation and investments are growing. The mutual trade turnover between Kazakhstan and the USA exceeded 3 billion US dollars in 2022. That is an increase of 37.2% compared to 2021. The US is one of the largest investors in Kazakhstan’s economy, and the total

In addition, in the first three quarters of 2022, the inflow of US investments increased by 58.8% compared to the first three quarters of 2021. There are already about 590 companies with US capital in Kazakhstan, and there is a growing interest in the Kazakh market.

Tileuberdi added that Kazakhstan and the US had established a consultation mechanism to avoid negative consequences for Kazakhstan’s economy and prevent possible secondary sanctions. «We have appointed national coordinators on both sides, who regularly communicate with each other. We are grateful to the US that we can have timely information about possible cases of application of secondary sanctions,» said the Foreign Minister.

The US supports the reform program that was announced last March by Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. «We look forward to exact steps in the implementation of the program, expanding public participation in political processes, increasing government responsibility, limiting corruption, introducing presidential term limits, and protecting human rights. These reforms are important for foreign investors, who are ready to expand cooperation with Kazakhstan,» said Blinken.

Also, the US Secretary of State expressed his gratitude to Kazakhstan for the humanitarian aid provided to Ukraine – supplies of food, clothing, medicine, and other humanitarian aid, including setting up «invincibility centers» in Kyiv and Bucha, where Ukrainians can warm up in the winter and find shelter from the war.

Source : bnn-news.com