Historic Visit by Serbian President Highlights Prospects for Cooperation

An official visit of Serbian President Boris Tadic to Kazakhstan and his negotiations with President Nursultan Nazarbayev in the Akorda Presidential Residence on October 7 sent a clear message of both Belgrade’s and Astana’s strong intentions to further deepen and widen the existing cooperation between the two states based on mutual trust and positive engagement.

During the talks, held both in a one-on-one and an extended format, the leaders of Kazakhstan and Serbia discussed prospects of elaborating mutually beneficial legal framework, and intensification of political and trade and economic partnership.

Nursultan Nazarbayev stressed he attaches great significance to the first official visit of his Serbian counterpart to Astana.

“This is indeed a great opportunity to seriously expand the scales of cooperation between Kazakhstan and Serbia,” he said.

Tadic, in turn, contended he was impressed with Kazakhstan’s economic achievements in the past twenty years, noting Serbia might become the country’s strategic partner.

“I am confident Kazakhstan will transform into a country of major economic prosperity, turning into an exceptional economic factor,” the President underscored, adding Serbia is ready to take part in Kazakhstan’s development, together with the country’s companies, and to accept investments from Kazakhstan.

The parties agreed they share good prospects for cooperation in a wide range of diverse areas and might promote their economic partnership considerably in the next several years on the basis of traditional friendship and bilateral agreements signed after the meeting.

President Nazarbayev concluded that the present volume of trade worth US$ 20 million did not do justice to its real potential, for there are almost unlimited possibilities to expand the level of economic cooperation.

Recalling that the two countries are also linked with similarly conceived long-term plans for economic development, President Tadic singled out construction services, agriculture, machine building and energy supply as potentially fruitful areas of economic cooperation.

“It is likely that the cooperation in the area of agriculture will be intensified in the near future and that processing of Kazakhstan’s oil at Serbia’s refineries is possible”, Nazarbayev said, underscoring that Kazakhstan will protect operations of Serbia’s companies.

The major arrangements reached during the negotiations also include the opening of the Serbian Embassy in Astana and the establishment of the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economy, implemented within a set of measures aimed at boosting bilateral economic ties.

Another important field of Kazakh-Serbian relations discussed during the meeting is the cooperation of Serbia with Kazakhstan within the frameworks of the recently launched Customs Union, which opens a number of new interesting projects and rather attractive terms for the collaborators.

The second part of the talks was focused on international agenda and close partnership of the two states within the United Nations (UN), the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) and other international institutions. Both Presidents noted Kazakhstan and Serbia share common visions regarding the most urgent international problems on the global political arena.

According to Tadic, the fact that Astana consistently supports Belgrade’s policy on the issue of Kosovo and Metohija will certainly have an additional impact on the level of economic cooperation between the two countries.

Following the meeting, the two presidents signed four important interstate agreements: a Protocol on Cooperation between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Agreement on Abolition of the Visa Regime, Free Trade Agreement and Investment Protection Agreement.

Later in the day, President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce Milos Bugarin and Vice President of the Kazakh Chamber of Commerce Tatyana Zhdanova signed an Agreement on Cooperation between their agencies.

Serbia’s delegation visiting Kazakhstan also included Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic and Minister of Trade and Services Slobodan Milosavljevic.