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PACE President in favour of strengthening relations with Kazakhstan

Strasbourg, 16.03.2010 – “I came to Kazakhstan with an offer to upgrade co-operation with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and I am very glad that we found full understanding with the highest authorities of the country on this matter,” declared the Assembly’s President Mevlüt Çavusoglu at the end of an official visit to Kazakhstan on 15-16 March 2010.

During his two-day visit to Astana, the President met the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, the Speaker of the Senate Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, the Speaker of the Mazhilis Ural Muhamedzhanov, Foreign Affairs Minister Kanat Saudabayev, Minister of Education and Science Zhanseit Tuimebayev and the First Deputy Chairman of the Nur Otan party Nurlan Nigmatulin. He also addressed students at the Euroasian National University in Astana.

The main subject of discussion was the perspective for Kazakhstan to apply for “partner for democracy” status with PACE, which would enable a more active participation of the Kazakh Parliament in the Assembly’s activities, including plenary debates and the work of the Assembly's committees and political groups.

Obtaining this status would be fully in line with the efforts of Kazakhstan to intensify co-operation with Europe and European institutions, as shown by the recent accession of the country to the Council of Europe European Cultural Convention, its current Chairmanship of the OSCE and the ten-year programme "Path to Europe" launched by the President of the country.

The PACE President also said he appreciated the efforts of Kazakhstan in areas important for the Council of Europe, in particular strenthening intercultural and inter-religious dialogue and the partipation of national minorities in the polical and social life of the country.

At the same time, he encouraged the authorities to pursue democratic reforms with a view to reinforcing political plurality and fundamental freedoms in the country.

“Partner for democracy” status was established by the Parliamentary Assembly in 2009 for the parliaments of neighbouring states of the Council of Europe to upgrade their relations with the Assembly and place them on an institutional basis.