(MENAFN- The Peninsula) The Peninsula
Doha: Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Qatar, H E Arman Issagaliyev, has said that 2022 will be a breakthrough year for the relations between Qatar and Kazakhstan.
In an interview with The Peninsula on recent wave of unrest in Kazakhstan and bilateral ties, the Ambassador further said that he was expecting exchange of high-level visits in which a number of agreements will be signed between the two countries.
He said that a major project is being implemented to purchase Kazakhstani electric buses for use during the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
“We are confident that 2022 will be a breakthrough year for the bilateral relations of our countries. We expect an exchange of high-level visits that will mark a new era of Kazakh-Qatari cooperation.”
During these visits, he said, it is planned to sign about 20 important intergovernmental and interdepartmental agreements in the field of investment protection and promotion, finance, Islamic economy, agriculture, mining and metallurgy, military and military-technical cooperation, healthcare, tourism, education, science and sports.
Arman Issagaliyev further said that trade turnover between Qatar and Kazakhstan has increased significantly in recent years.“But it still remains low, which does not correspond to the potential of the two countries,” he said.
He added:“We are very pleased with the positive dynamics of the development of our trade and economic relations. Last year, despite the pandemic, has been very active and full of bilateral contacts. Nur-Sultan was visited by representatives of national companies and private businesses of Qatar. Business structures of the two countries also held talks in Doha, during which the parties identified priority areas and projects of bilateral cooperation.”
An important result of the last year, he said, was the resumption of the activities of the Kazakh-Qatari Business Council, which is designed to give an additional impetus to the development of business ties.“In August, the first meeting of the council was successfully held in Doha, where the contours of mutually beneficial partnership in the economic and investment spheres were defined.”
“I hope that trade relations will continue to develop. In this we have great hope for the private sector. In addition, it is planned to create a joint investment fund and further implement major investment projects, hold a meeting of the Kazakh-Qatari intergovernmental commission on cooperation, open the first Qatari bank in Kazakhstan and expand air links between our countries.”
The Ambassador said that Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was one of the first foreign leaders to react to the situation in Kazakhstan and expressed confidence in the ability of the Kazakh authorities to overcome the crisis.“During a telephone conversation between His Highness the Amir and our President, they confirmed their intention to further develop cooperation between our countries. We are very grateful to His Highness for his words of support during this difficult time for us.”
Talking on recent unrest in Kazakhstan, he said that the perpetrators of the violence took advantage of the sincere discontent of the population due to the increase in prices for liquefied gas.
He said that the protesters demanded their reduction to the previous level and the solution of a number of socio-economic issues.“On behalf of the President, the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan promptly responded to the demands of citizens and took measures to reduce gas prices, as well as imposed a moratorium on raising prices for socially important food products, fuels and lubricants and utilities.”
“Initially, peaceful rallies were held in a number of regions against their increase. Then bandits, looters and armed terrorists, including foreign fighters, took advantage of the protests. The key goal of the criminals was obvious – they sought to disorganise state institutions, undermine the constitutional order and, ultimately, seize power in Kazakhstan.”
He added:“The situation demanded to take unprecedented measures, thanks to which the Kazakh law enforcement agencies managed to mobilise as soon as possible and repel the attackers, taking the situation under control. At the moment, the situation in the country is stable.”
He said that the criminals were subordinated to a single destructive plan, the preparation of which took a long time.“How long this preparation took – a year, two or three – the investigation will show.”
He said that the main goal of criminals was to undermine the constitutional order, destroy the institutions of governance, and seize power.“It is now obvious that all these military actions were coordinated from one centre, a carefully planned operation has entered a decisive phase. This is evidenced by simultaneous attacks on the buildings of regional authorities, law enforcement agencies, pre-trial detention centres, strategic facilities, banks, a TV tower and TV channels.”
The Ambassador said:“The overall situation in Kazakhstan is currently stable. But it is extremely important to successfully complete the ongoing counterterrorism operation and enhance the stability and enforce the law and order in the country. A special investigative task force has been instructed to bring to justice all militants and their accomplices involved in crimes against the civilian population, to reveal all the causes and details of the tragedy.”
He said assistance will be provided to the families of the deceased law enforcement officers, military personnel and civilians.“The Government will provide these families with housing and education benefits, as well as other forms of support. The government will provide financial assistance and other types of support to businesses during the crisis.
For enterprises, the payment of interest on loans, the payment of administrative fines and penalties have been temporarily suspended.”
He said that within two months, the Government and the Chamber of Entrepreneurs will develop a program to increase the incomes of the population as a whole and prepare specific proposals to reduce poverty in Kazakhstan.
“The Government will quickly develop a new Social Code. The Government must adapt its social policy to the new reality, taking into account the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and other problems. The Social Code should become a key element of the new“social contract” in Kazakhstan.”
The Ambassador further said that systematic efforts will be made to reduce inflation and ensure the stability of the national currency.“The target inflation corridor should be 3-4% by 2025. The Government, together with the National Bank and the Chamber of Entrepreneurs, will develop a set of measures to curb inflation. They should include measures to reduce dependence on imports, reduce excessive interventions and use monetary policy instruments.”
He further said that President K Tokayev announced a five-year moratorium on raising salaries of senior government officials, members of Parliament and akims (mayors) of regions.“At the same time, the wages of lower-level public sector workers will continue to grow.”
On Collective Security Treaty Organization's (CSTO) swift response to Kazakhstan's request, he said President of the Republic of Kazakhstan K Tokayev ordered the launch of a counter-terrorism operation in the country aimed at eliminating threats to national security and protecting the lives and property of citizens.“Objectively assessing the situation, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan was forced to appeal to the CSTO member states about sending peacekeeping forces to help stabilise the situation in the Republic.”
“The members of the CSTO are Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, with whom we have common historical past and friendly relations. The situation in Kazakhstan was critical and could become a threat on a regional scale. Urgent measures were needed to stabilise. The peacekeeping forces arrived in Kazakhstan to protect strategic facilities and cover the Kazakh law enforcement forces.”