This is actually the first official visit I’ve paid to Kazakhstan. You visited [France] in the autumn of 2012, and you reminded me that François Mitterrand’s visit in 1993 was especially decisive because it took place two years after Kazakhstan’s independence.
Today, times have changed. In 20 years, your country has developed considerably. You have even created a new capital here.
In 2008, a strategic partnership was concluded between France and Kazakhstan. And I want to develop every dimension of it.
The first dimension of this strategic partnership is political and diplomatic. Kazakhstan has a major position in Central Asia. Kazakhstan is not only Central Asia’s leading economy, your country can also talk to all its neighbours and works with all its neighbours: Russia, China, and you also have links with Iran. In short, you’re capable of taking initiatives, and on a number of issues France can work with you.
First of all, there’s the issue of Ukraine. We’re both worried about the deterioration of firstly the humanitarian situation and secondly the economic situation.
We also want to seek every possible path, every solution. Those solutions must focus on the implementation of the Minsk Protocol – i.e. the recognition of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the ceasefire and the ability of Ukrainians to define together what constitutes autonomy and decentralization for the eastern regions and what constitutes – and quite legitimately – territorial unity.
I know you’re going to visit that part of our continent, and we’re going to work together to seek all the points that will enable us to clarify things and embark on de-escalation. We need it, because there are always risks of further escalation, as well as serious threats to the entire region’s economy.
We also have a political partnership to develop on the Middle East and the fight against terrorism. From this viewpoint, we’re aware that what’s happening in Iraq and Syria is extremely serious – all the more so because there are foreign fighters going from our countries, from all our countries, from all over the world, to that battleground, with all the consequences we’re aware of when they subsequently return. (…)
I encouraged President Nazarbayev to continue Kazakhstan’s efforts to join the WTO, which will make it possible to resolve the problems of compatibility between the two agreements Kazakhstan has signed with the European Union and its Eurasian partners. I’d also like Kazakhstan to be able to forge closer ties with the OECD in order for it to meet all the conditions, including on taxation, to play a full part in world trade. (…)
But during my visit here, President Nazarbayev and I decided to ensure that French companies are involved in the programme of diversifying Kazakhstan’s economy – i.e. health, agrifoods, tourism, as well as what’s already being done on aerospace, space and railways. I want to mention tourism in particular: tourism that can develop in Kazakhstan and tourism from Kazakhs going to France. (…)./.