The reception – jointly organised by the Embassy of Kazakhstan and the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group for Kazakhstan – was attended by more than 100 people including members of the UK Government and Parliament; heads of major British companies; heads of diplomatic missions; as well as representatives from the academic community.
In opening the event, Lord Mohammad Itlaf Sheikh, Vice-Chairman for the APPG and member of the House of Lords, noted Kazakhstan’s outstanding success since independence under the leadership of President Nazarbayev. In particular, Kazakhstan has become a reliable partner in the international community, actively promoting vital initiatives to ensure security and stability on both the global and regional stages. In addition, Kazakhstan has confidently undertaken large-scale modernisation of its economy and political system. Lord Sheikh outlined President Nazarbayev’s initiative to modernise the national identity of the people of Kazakhstan. He added that Kazakhstan is on track to become one of the world’s 30 most developed countries by 2050.
Lord Sheikh said he appreciated the ongoing relations between the UK and Kazakhstan, and noted that they have been developed in line with friendship and mutual understanding. The UK was one of the first countries to confirm its participation at EXPO 2017, and the Astana International Financial Centre will be based on the principles of English law and will have English as its official language.
Mr Erlan Idrissov, Kazakh Ambassador to the UK, noted that over the last 25 years relations between Kazakhstan and the UK have become solid and trustworthy. Our countries have always supported each other at the highest political level. This relationship has resulted in the creation of the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation; the Permanent Strategic Dialogue between Foreign Ministers; and the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group for Kazakhstan.
Special attention must be paid to bilateral trade and economic relations, which are developing dynamically. The United Kingdom is the sixth largest contributor of FDI to Kazakhstan, and Kazakhstan was included in the UK’s list of priority countries to enhance bilateral trade and investment. British universities are very popular among Kazakh students.
Sir Alan Duncan KCMG MP, Minister of State for Europe and the Americas at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, spoke at the reception on behalf of the UK Government. He said said that the two countries have demonstrated a high level relationship. Prime Minister David Cameron’s state visit to Kazakhstan in July 2013 and President Nazarbayev’s official visit to London in November 2015 are proof of this successful relationship.
According to the deputy head of the FCO, the UK is pleased to be playing such a strong role in the Astana EXPO. It has also been noted that successful economic co-operation aside, the UK and Kazakhstan – currently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council – are working together on the international stage, helping to safeguard regional and international security.
The reception also saw Mr Charles Hendry, UK Pavilion Commissioner, invite participants to visit Astana EXPO, and Mr Rupert Goodman, Chairman of the British-Kazakh Society, talk about trade, economic, and cultural ties between the UK and Kazakhstan.