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U.S. and Kazakhstan Moving Towards An Enhanced Strategic Partnership for the 21st Century

Washington, Jan 16th, 2018: President Donald J. Trump hosted President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan today at the White House to discuss enhanced strategic partnership between the United States and Kazakhstan. President Nazarbayev thanked President Trump for his hospitality and offered an invitation for President Trump to visit Kazakhstan in the future. The two leaders reaffirmed the independence, territorial integrity, and sovereignty of Kazakhstan, as well as its role in advancing global peace and prosperity.

In recognizing the growth of the relationship between the United States and Kazakhstan since its independence in 1991, the leaders resolved to strengthen cooperation on political and security issues, trade and investment, and people-to-people relationships through regular high-level meetings within the framework of an Enhanced Strategic Partnership Dialogue. The two leaders committed to address shared challenges in Central Asia through regional formats, such as the C5+1 dialogue (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan + the United States), and welcomed future Afghan participation in C5+1 projects. They resolved to seek a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Afghanistan, and to pursue initiatives fostering greater political and economic cooperation in the region. The two leaders pledged to deepen their cooperation against violent extremism and international terrorism, while respecting the rule of law and human rights.

Legacy of International Leadership

President Trump noted Kazakhstan’s global leadership as an elected member of the United Nations Security Council in 2017-2018. He praised Kazakhstan’s legacy as a leader in international non-proliferation efforts, beginning with the voluntary renunciation of its nuclear arsenal in 1992, and reinforced by ongoing commitments to nuclear security and recent support for preventing the spread and use of chemical weapons. Both leaders condemned the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including North Korea’s unlawful nuclear and missile programs. The leaders welcomed the recent opening of the International Atomic Energy Agency Low Enriched Uranium Bank in Kazakhstan, which seeks to decrease the risk of nuclear enrichment technology proliferation.

Regional Security

President Trump thanked President Nazarbayev for Kazakhstan’s steadfast commitment to support the United States’ South Asia strategy by guaranteeing continuous logistical support and access to Afghanistan, and Kazakhstan’s contributions to humanitarian efforts. The two leaders recognized that only an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process will bring stability and security to Afghanistan. President Trump highlighted Kazakhstan’s past financial contributions to the Afghan security forces. Expressing support for fair burden sharing, President Nazarbayev reaffirmed Kazakhstan’s commitment of additional support to address security challenges in Afghanistan. He also offered to extend a program to train Afghan civilian and security personnel in Kazakhstan, with an emphasis on empowering Afghan women. Both leaders welcomed Kazakhstan’s participation in Afghan transportation infrastructure development projects. Regarding Syria, the two sides welcomed diplomatic initiatives that achieve genuine de-escalation of violence and strengthens the basis for a political settlement of the conflict through the United Nation-led Geneva peace process.

Defense and Security Cooperation

The two leaders pledged to deepen bilateral defense and security relationships, noting their intent to conclude several agreements that enhance cooperation, interoperability, access, and logistical routes in support of regional security. Both leaders noted the signing of the fourth Five Year Plan for Military Cooperation between the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the United States Department of Defense. The presidents committed to explore Kazakhstan’s interest in joining the Cybercrime Convention, which would provide a framework for global cooperation against threats to e-commerce and crimes committed over the internet. Participation in these kinds of multilateral agreements further strengthens law enforcement cooperation and information sharing to combat international terrorism and violent extremism.

Strengthening Economic Cooperation

President Trump and President Nazarbayev pledged to promote a fair and reciprocal economic partnership that increases bilateral trade and investment, and creates jobs and opportunities in both countries. President Nazarbayev welcomed the United States as a leading investor in Kazakhstan. President Trump encouraged Kazakhstan to implement its World Trade Organization obligations, uphold fair labor practices, enforce the sanctity of contracts, and protect intellectual property rights, as a foundation for future participation in international economic organizations. President Trump applauded Kazakhstan’s ambitious plans to develop a diverse and innovative economy, noting that United States development finance institutions seek to support investments in Kazakhstan. Both leaders expressed their support for legislation to provide Kazakhstan with permanent normal trade relations and noted that this status will further strengthen the bilateral trade relationship. They recognized the recent elevation of the Strategic Energy Dialogue, which outlines bilateral energy cooperation, including oil and gas, nuclear non-proliferation, and civilian nuclear development. The leaders pledged to explore bilateral cooperation in the digital economy, healthcare, infrastructure, commercial aviation, finance and banking, agriculture, and space exploration sectors. They also reinforced their commitment to the Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) and welcomed Afghan participation in future TIFA Council meetings. Kazakhstan and the United States plan to strengthen cooperation in the use of space technologies to assess environmental hazards and mitigate the threat of natural disasters in Kazakhstan. The leaders intend to consult on sanctions issues to avoid any unintended consequences for Kazakhstan’s economy. Finally, President Trump congratulated President Nazarbayev on the success of Astana EXPO 2017, which showcased Kazakhstan’s economic potential, and will become the future home of the Astana International Finance Center.

The Human Dimension

The presidents acknowledged that efforts to develop human capital are an investment in the future, which will sustain the global competitiveness of both countries. Both leaders welcomed the reciprocal expansion of diplomatic and consular presence in both countries. President Trump encouraged Kazakhstan’s goal to increase English language proficiency, and pledged to offer assistance to improve English education programs in Kazakhstani schools.

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