Organised by Kazakh-British Chamber of Commerce
President Nazarbayev says questions of democracy and human rights must be properly addressed in speech to Cambridge University. Questions of democracy and human rights must be properly addressed, and have energy devoted to them, President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan said in a speech to the University of Cambridge.
Speaking during a visit to the UK, President Nazarbayev highlighted his strong track record of building institutions of government, a market economy and the basis for democracy in the 20 years since Kazakhstan’s independence. He set out his pride in the strength of Kazakhstan’s partnerships internationally.
“Kazakhstan has made big steps in increasing living standards, welfare and the wellbeing of its people.
I made a decision to give up nuclear weapons and took an active role in a global process of nuclear decommissioning and non-proliferation.
I am proud of the support which we provide to the international community in their withdrawal from Afghanistan and we will continue to do so.
In our region, located between two giants – Russia to the West and China to the East – we manage to keep friendly relations with each one of them. And at the same time we always were and always will be a strong partner of the USA, UK and other countries of Europe and Asia.
I am glad for our treasured national religious tolerance, which allows people of different faiths to practice their beliefs freely.
These are the results of progress and openness, which Kazakhstan can be proud of.”
But, he acknowledged, “Still, a lot has to be done by Kazakhstan. These are questions of democracy and human rights, which must be properly addressed and have energy devoted to them. I understand and hear what is being said of us by our critics. But we would like this to be done with a certain sense of balance and an objective valuation of the achievements of my country.”
“We will carry out reform programmes on a wide range of issues, including legal reforms, decentralisation, development of civil society, corruption and business environment.
All these reforms require time and must be carried out with caution and highest concern for stability.”
President Nazarbayev also took the opportunity to reinforce the strength of Kazakhstan’s relationship with the UK, its third biggest source of investment.
“One of the most important partners of Kazakhstan is Great Britain”, he said. He highlighted the 500 joint ventures that exist between British and Kazakh businesses, and the more than $20 billion of UK investment in Kazakhstan in the 20 years since the two countries established diplomatic ties.
Referencing the growing cooperation between Kazakhstan and Cambridge University, he also announced the creation of a Central Asian Innovation Fund in partnership with the University, designed to develop the innovative potential of the Central Asian region, and the Al Farabi scholarship.
The President is visiting the United Kingdom ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games. He will also meet with Prime Minister Cameron and other world leaders at a reception in Downing Street.
For more information contact
International Information Committee
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Kazakhstan