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Diplomacy in Action

Interview With Kazakhstan TV


Interview
Fatema Z. Sumar
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs
Almaty, Kazakhstan
June 12, 2014

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Question: [Through Interpreter]. The first question, Ms. Sumar, what’s your opinion on Kazakhstan’s new geopolitical direction?

DAS Sumar: Kazakhstan plays such an important role here in Central Asia and in the region. We have been so appreciative of Kazakhstan’s leadership in multiple areas, including in Afghanistan supporting the regional transition there, so that there’s further prosperity, stability, in Afghanistan and throughout the region.

Kazakhstan has an incredible opportunity before it to strengthen further regional cooperation in the neighborhood, to expand in multiple directions. One of the areas that I work on for Secretary Kerry and the leadership at the State Department is looking at opportunities for regional cooperation and regional security. Kazakhstan plays such an incredible role in that. This is an area where President Obama has sincerely appreciated President Nazarbayev’s leadership in terms of regional leadership, and we look for further ways to strengthen our cooperation in these areas.

Question: [Through Interpreter]. The next question is [inaudible], ASEAN, [inaudible] and the [Eurasian] governments [inaudible] urbanizations and unions. How important they are for Kazakhstan?

DAS Sumar: The United States is a firm believer in free trade and global economies and markets. We very much support all countries in the world and here in the region looking at different ways to strengthen their economic diversity, economic independence, economic sovereignty. I believe there are multiple ways to do that. As long as they’re consistent with global free trade norms.

To this end, we’ve been a very strong supporter of Kazakhstan’s accession to the World Trade Organization, and we continue to support Kazakhstan’s accession there. Just this week in Washington, D.C. Kazakhstan participated in high-level talks with the U.S. government and other Central Asian countries on what we call TIFA talks. These are Trade and Investment Framework Agreements. And what they really are are ways for countries in the region, including Kazakhstan, to look at how they can further strengthen trade norms and regulatory processes. And we believe these are the types of important steps that really help strengthen economies and bring true meaning to economic independence and diversity.

Question: [Through Interpreter]. So you think we are ready to enter WTO organization, Kazakhstan?

DAS Sumar: I know there’s a lot of work underway within the government of Kazakhstan to look at what steps it needs to take to join WTO. This is a process that we have been also supporting, the Kazakh government along with many partners in the global trade community, and we look forward to the day when Kazakhstan is part of WTO.

Question: [Through Interpreter]. The last question, July 6th is the birthday of the President of Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. What’s your opinion on his political activity, and can you say some words of congratulations on his birthday?

DAS Sumar: The United States offers warm wishes to President Nazarbayev on his upcoming birthday, and we look very much forward to strengthening our relationship and our cooperation in multiple areas.

President Obama and President Nazarbayev have had a very good set of meetings including recently during their recent meetings. As President Obama has said, Kazakhstan has played a real important role of leadership in the region, especially in issues such as global nuclear disarmament and Kazakhstan’s leadership role there. We can’t underscore how important that has been to the safety of nuclear disarmament issues around the world. And so we very much appreciate that and look forward to working with Kazakhstan on a multiple range of issues.

Thank you so much.



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