ASTANA – Visiting Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek met Monday with Kazakh counterpart Erlan Idrissov and the leader of this resource-rich Central Asian nation, Nursultan Nazarbayev, to discuss political and economic cooperation, diplomats in Astana said.
Zaoralek arrived in the Kazakh capital with a delegation comprised of Regional Development Minister Karla Slechtova and representatives from more than two dozen Czech companies who are to take part in a series of business forums in Astana and Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city.
“Today, we discussed new areas of cooperation between Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic, which has great potential in engineering, agriculture and health. These areas will be given priority,” Idrissov said in a press conference following his talks with Zaoralek.
The Kazakh foreign minister said that although more than 100 joint ventures with Czech capital are currently operating in Central Asia’s largest economy, “Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic have a huge potential for further expansion of cooperation.”
Highlighting bilateral cultural relations, Idrissov noted that hundreds of young Kazakhs are currently studying in the Czech Republic and more than 100,000 Kazakh tourists visit the European country each year.
Idrissov announced that a monument to 19th-century Kazakh poet Abai Qunanbaiuli is to be erected soon in central Prague.
Zaoralek, for his part, noted that steps had also been taken to enhance political cooperation, saying his country supported Kazakhstan’s successful bid for a seat on the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member for the 2017-2018 period.
“In April this year, we have ratified an agreement on expanded partnership and cooperation between Kazakhstan and the European Union. The Czech Republic became the fourth country to support the document,” Zaoralek said.
Later, the Czech Republic’s top diplomat met with President Nazarbayev at the latter’s official Akorda office.
Zaoralek handed Nazarbayev a letter from Czech President Milos Zeman confirming his plans to participate in the opening of EXPO-2017 Astana, whose theme will be “Energy of the Future.”
Some 5 million visitors are expected to tour the International Specialized Exhibition that will be held in Astana from June 10 to Sept. 10, 2017.