RELATIONS WITH THE
KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA
Basis of the relations was established within the framework of official historical visit of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Noursultan Nazarbayev to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1994 and official visit of the Second Deputy Prime-minister, Minister of Defence and Aviation of Saudi Arabia Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz to Kazakhstan in 2000.
The latest official visit of the President N.Nazarbayev to Saudi Arabia on March, 2004 strengthened the friendly bilateral relations and filled it with constructivism.
It has made an impact for rapid development of mutual relations in political, cultural and economic spheres.
Moreover, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia have mostly coincident and close positions on various current international issues and support each other within international organizations such as the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Conference.
Inauguration of the Embassies of Kazakhstan in Riyadh and Saudi Arabia in Almaty on 1996 was the vivid conformation of willingness to cooperate and to develop relations of two countries. It is necessary to mention the activity of the former Honorary Consul of Kazakhstan in Jeddah Mr. Amr Dabbagh (at present Chairman of SAGIA) who has contributed a lot in development of business ties between two countries during the period 1996-2004.
The visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Kassymzhomart Tokaev in January, 2004 to Saudi Arabia had significant importance for the further development of political relations between the both States. As well it was fruitful for the strengthening of business and commercial relations. In the framework of the mentioned visit Minister addressed the speech at the Jeddah Economic Forum and informed the participants on last developments of Kazakhstan economy and the investment friendly legislation in Kazakhstan.
Important mechanism of enlargement of economic ties and bilateral trade amount is the Kazakhstan-Saudi Joint Intergovernmental Commission. First Commission’s meeting took place on October, 1999 in Astana, and the Second – on March, 2004 in Riyadh. Within the framework of Commission, both sides elaborated the ways of the development of political, economical cooperation.
Moreover, Commission is in charge of the enlargement of contract-legal base in investment, economy, trade, industry, science and technologies, agriculture, higher education, tourism and sport spheres of cooperation of Kazakhstan and the Kingdom.
Both states have steadily developing economies based on vast resources of oil, gas, metals and other minerals. Kazakhstan as well as Saudi Arabia is full of willingness to diversify its economy and already has doubtless success in this process. In this regard it is necessary to mention the great potential of economic cooperation of Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia and mutual investment opportunities.
Regarding this, as well as an outcome of the mentioned President’s visit the following events occurred during 2004:
- Visit of high rank representatives of Kazakhstan Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and national oil producer “KazMunaiGas” to Saudi Arabia on April, 2004. Delegation had fruitful negations with SABIC and National Commission on Industrial Cities Jubail and Yanbu.
- Tour of the large group of prominent Saudi businessmen under the aegis of the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce & Industry to Kazakhstan in June, 2004. Saudi delegation has visited Astana and Almaty, where they had meetings with their colleagues and authorities of Kazakhstan.
In 1997 after the transferring the capital of Kazakhstan from Almaty to Astana, Saudi Arabia was among the first countries to support this initiative and to provide Kazakhstan with numerous grants and soft credits for implementation of this vast project on social-economic development of completely new city.
Particularly, Saudi Arabia has given 15 million USD grant on construction of new building of the Senate of the Parliament of Kazakhstan in Astana. The construction of this important object currently is close to the conclusion stage. In this connection Vice-Minister of Finance of Saudi Arabia Mr. Hamad Al-Bazi visited Astana in August, 2004 to follow-up this project.
Moreover grants on construction of two cardiology hospitals, military school in Astana and Almaty were given by the Kingdom on total amount of more than 17 million USD. Fruitful cooperation with Saudi Development Fund should be mentioned as well due to the fact that Fund has rendered the 12 million USD soft credit for the development of road infrastructure.
Saudi based company Central Asia Investment with collective investment fund 50 million USD is operating in Kazakhstan and has already built several constructions of socio-economic and industrial purposes.
Cooperation of two countries in cultural sphere has as well the favorable development. As a result, the representative delegation of Saudi Arabia headed by the General Secretary of the World Islamic League Dr. Abdallah ben Abdel Mukhsin Al-Turki took part in the Congress of World and Traditional-National Religions on September 23-24, 2003 in the capital of Kazakhstan – Astana. During the mentioned activity the Minister of Justice of Saudi Arabia Dr. Abdullah Al-Sheikh also participated as the honorary guest.
During mentioned event Dr. Abdullah Al-Sheikh read out the message of the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd bin Abdulaziz at the opening ceremony.
As an outcome of the visit of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.Nazarbayev to Saudi Arabia in March 2005, large group of prominent Kazakh businessmen under the aegis of the Business Council of Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia visited Riyadh in May, 2005. Delegation was headed by the President of National Company “KazakhTeleCom” K.Karibzhanov and included number of representatives of biggest companies of Kazakhstan.
3rd Meeting of Business Council of Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia is to be held in 2006 in Kazakhstan.
Contacts and interaction between judicial bodies of two countries were strengthened during the visit of Justice Minister of Kazakhstan O.Zhumabekov to Saudi Arabia on December, 2004. In the framework of mentioned visit sides discussed ways of development of bilateral relations in juridical sphere. They signed the Agreement on Judicial Assistance between Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia.
Process of development of cultural cooperation should be mentioned as well. During April 8-20, 2005 the First Islamic Solidarity Games conducted by the Government of Saudi Arabia. The host team tops the standing with 23 gold medals. Egypt national team occupies the second place with 13 gold medals. Kazakh team was on the third place gaining 26 medals at whole, 13-gold, 7-silver and 6 bronze medals. 70 sportsmen of Kazakhstan participated in 7 out 14 events - swimming, diving, water polo, karate, weight-lifting and taekwondo. Kazakhstan’s delegation was led by deputy director of sport Committee of Ministry for Culture, Information and Sport Bakytbek Tazhibai.
In the framework of visit of Supreme Mufti Absattar Haji Derbisali on July 11-15, the Protocol on Hajj Arrangements for the Kazakhstan delegation during 2006 was signed in order to enable greater number of Kazakh pilgrims to perform Hajj.
During the period of September 21-27, 2005 delegation of 180 prominent persons of Kazakhstan visited holy places in Mekkah and Medina for Umrah. Delegation included cosmonaut Talgat Mussabayev, Olympic Games Champion in Boxing Yermukhan Ibraimov and number of prominent scientists, actors and politicians. The trip was organized by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia support each other within the framework of multilateral cooperation. Kazakhstan highly values the contribution of the Kingdom for the global fight against international terrorism. In this connection, Kazakh delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Minister A.Shakirov expressed full support of the proposal of Saudi Arabia to establish Counter-Terrorism Center in the Kingdom during the First International Counter-Terrorism Conference held on February 2005 in Riyadh.
On August, 2005 Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of Kazakhstan Nurtai Abykayev has attended the funeral prayer of King Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as a special representative of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.
During the period of December 5-8, 2005 delegation of the Republic of Kazakhstan headed by the Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Organization of Islamic Conference took part in the Third Extraordinary Islamic Summit conveyed by the initiative of the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques, King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
On January 11, 2006 the Minister of State for the Shoura Council of Saudi Arabia Saad Al-Madhami participated in the Inauguration of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.Nazarbayev.
On February 13-15, 2006 the delegation of the Senate of Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan headed by the Deputy Head of Administration Mr. Makzam Kassymov visited Riyadh. They discussed the way and development of the implementation of the project on construction of the new building of the Senate which is financially supported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Kazakh delegation had meeting with HE Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Minister of Finance of Saudi Arabia and the project’s consultant Rashid bin Humeid Company’s representatives.