Kazakh foreign minister to discuss regional security in Washington


Kazakh soldiers respond to simulated enemy fire during Exercise Steppe Eagle in 2018. [Arizona National Guard]

Kazakh soldiers respond to simulated enemy fire during Exercise Steppe Eagle in 2018. [Arizona National Guard]

NUR-SULTAN -- Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi will visit Washington on Thursday-Friday (December 12-13) to discuss regional security issues with officials including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and representatives of the US Congress and the World Bank.

Tleuberdi's discussions will focus on a wide range of issues of the bilateral and regional agendas, said Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman Aibek Smadyarov, Kazinform reported on Monday (December 9).

Following the meetings in Washington, Tleuberdi will take part in the 14th Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM) Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Madrid, Spain, on December 15-16, according to Smadyarov.

The forum, titled "Asia and Europe: Together for Effective Multilateralism," is expected to bring together foreign ministers of 51 Asian and European countries, as well as officials from the European Union (EU) and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), he added.

"The forum will discuss multilateral issues of the international agenda, including the strengthening of co-operation between Asian and European countries, sustainable development, climate change, nuclear non-proliferation and cyber-security, as well as the situation in Syria and Afghanistan," said Smadyarov.

The United States and Kazakhstan have been working to expand co-operation in peacekeeping, the fight against terrorism, border security and regional security.

Groundwork on security throughout 2019

The countries laid the groundwork with meetings and joint exercises throughout 2019.

Deputy Kazakh Foreign Minister Yerzhan Ashikbayev and US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells gathered on December 5 in Washington to discuss their countries' burgeoning strategic partnership.

At that meeting, the US State Department hailed Kazakhstan's successes in counter-terrorism and in "the repatriation and reintegration of nearly 600 Kazakh citizens from Syria", a reference to Operation Jusan (Bitter Wormwood).

In an October visit to Nur-Sultan, US State Department Co-ordinator for Counterterrorism and Ambassador Nathan A. Sales also praised "Kazakhstan's groundbreaking work" in rehabilitating and reintegrating returnees.

In June, Kazakhstan hosted Operation Steppe Eagle 19, a multinational exercise that brought in troops from Great Britain, India, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan and the United States. Steppe Eagle has taken place annually since 2003.

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