On 27 January 2014, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius met with Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrisov, Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed.
The meeting focused on prospects for further bilateral co-operation, the Kazakh-EU relations, security situation and regional co-operation in Central Asia.
During their conversation, the Foreign Ministers dedicated a lot of attention to co-operation within international organisations. Linkevičius presented priorities for Lithuanian membership of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2014-2015.
Both sides confirmed their willingness to further advance bilateral ties. The Foreign Ministers of Lithuania and Kazakhstan signed the foreign ministries’ action plan for 2014-2015, which provides specific guidelines for co-operation.
Linkevičius stressed that Kazakhstan was by far Lithuania’s most important economic partner in Central Asia. Bilateral trading volumes have grown consistently for the fifth year in a row. The Foreign Ministers agreed that there was a lot of untapped potential for co-operation in transport, logistics, innovation, education, agriculture, etc.
The heads of the delegations agreed to strengthen co-operation, including through the implementation of the container train Saulė project.
“The development potential of the container train Saulė, connecting Western Europe with China via Kazakhstan and Lithuania, is great. I am glad that Lithuania and Kazakhstan agree that it is necessary to actively contribute to project success,” Linkevičius said.
The Lithuanian Foreign Minister voiced support for Kazakhstan’ efforts to strengthen relations with the European Union and called on the country to actively continue negotiations for a new enhanced Partnership and Co-operation Agreement with the EU with an aim to conclude it in the near future.
“The signing of a new enhanced Partnership and Co-operation Agreement between the EU and Kazakhstan would reflect the importance of the EU-Kazakhstan relations and the common goal of expanding co-operation in all fields of mutual interest,” Linkevičius said.
Moreover, he stressed that the co-operation agreement with the EU would support the implementation of Kazakhstan’s reform and modernisation programme.
The Kazakh Foreign Minister welcomed the positive results of negotiations on Kazakhstan’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The Lithuanian Foreign Minister expressed support for Kazakhstan’s WTO accession, stressing that this would help to overcome the remaining barriers and to promote mutual trade.
When discussing regional co-operation, the Foreign Ministers stressed that it was an important means for conflict prevention, driving socioeconomic development in the region. Linkevičius hailed Kazakhstan’s participation in initiatives on Afghanistan.
“The fact that the round of talks on Iran’s nuclear programme was held in Almaty also demonstrates the growing importance of Kazakhstan’s role in the international arena. Kazakhstan has also played a significant role in ensuring security and stability in the region. A particular emphasis is placed on initiatives on Afghanistan. The European Union has taken this into account in its Strategy for Central Asia, which is now more important than ever,” the Lithuanian Foreign Minister said.
Currently, the Kazakh Foreign Minister is paying an official visit to Lithuania.