Kazakhstan committed to building bridges between Europe and Asia despite war

Nur-Sultan, Apr 27 (EFE).- Kazakhstan, immersed in a process of internal reforms, is continuing with its policy to build bridges between Europe and Asia, despite facing difficult circumstances due to the war in Ukraine.

Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko during a press conference in the Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan on Wednesday. Kazakhstan, immersed in a process of internal reforms, is continuing with its policy to build bridges between Europe and Asia, despite facing difficult circumstances due to the war in Ukraine. EFE/Luis Angel Reglero

“We are at a very significant moment,” said Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko on Wednesday in Nur-Sultan, referring to the situation in the country and the international context of the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko during a press conference in the Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan on Wednesday. Kazakhstan, immersed in a process of internal reforms, is continuing with its policy to build bridges between Europe and Asia, despite facing difficult circumstances due to the war in Ukraine. EFE/Luis Angel Reglero

The ninth largest country in the world and the largest economy in Central Asia, depends on Russia to send about 80 percent of its oil to Europe.

Vassilenko expressed to a group of foreign journalists his country’s readiness to contribute to any initiative that would help end the war, which is having “side effects” on its economy.

Kazakhstan has already had discussions with the United States about cushioning the impact of the sanctions against Russia on its economy, stating that it neither supports the restrictions, nor will it help its neighbor to circumvent them.

In this situation, the country is to maintain its commitment to strengthening any relationship that helps to achieve “mutual benefits,” whether with Russia, China, its other major neighbor, or with the West.

Politically, the former Soviet republic wants to find a peaceful solution to conflicts, and economically, to continue on the path of exporting to Europe, taking advantage of the “crossroads” it represents between the East and the West, with the “many possibilities” in natural resources, such as gas and minerals in addition to oil, he said.

In addition, Kazakhstan is looking to take advantage of its potential in other sectors such as agriculture, with some 220 million hectares of arable land, the sixth largest in the world, according to official data.

“Cooperation is very important,” he stressed, to achieve objectives such as an increase in exports, whether it is oil to countries like China or cereal to other markets at a time when two major grain producers, Russia and Ukraine, have been affected by the war.

The country’s president, Kassym-Jormart Tokayev, has announced a series of important reforms to advance towards a “new Kazakhstan,” including limiting the powers of the head of state, giving more powers to parliament and improving the justice and electoral system.

In January, the country was shaken by a wave of protests during which 200 people died and thousands were arrested, and which Tokayev described as an attempted coup d’état. EFE

lar/mos/ads/lap