Kalfin's Tour of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan Aimed to Invigorate Trade and Economic Relations

Kalfin's Tour of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan Aimed to Invigorate Trade and Economic Relations

Stepping up contacts with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan is high on the agenda of the official visit by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivailo Kalfin to the three countries of Central Asia from September 3 to 6, the Foreign Ministry said. Trade and economic relations with all three countries are of key importance both to Bulgaria and the EU.

A certain hiatus has been noticed in Bulgaria's relations with these countries in recent years, Kazakhstan being an exception, the Ministry said. No official visits have been exchanged with Tajikistan and Turkmenistan in the last ten years.

In June, the European Council adopted a strategy for Central Asia, which sets a priority on democratization, building the administrative capacity, human rights, trade and economic relations, the energy sector, education and training. For Bulgaria the countries of Central Asia are important both as sources of energy resources and in the context of the fight against international terrorism.

The Foreign Ministry does not rule out that the energy sector in general and the Bourgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline in particular, in which Kazakhstan is interested, may be among the
economic topics for discussion. Also, possible imports of wheat from Kazakhstan may be on the agenda.

Bulgarian business circles are interested in participating in construction projects and exportig medicines and cosmetics to the three Central Asian countries, the experts said.

In Kazakhstan (Sept. 3-4), Kalfin is meeting with President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Prime Minister Karim Masimov and Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin. In Tajikistan (Sept. 5), Kalfin will confer with President Emomali Rahmon, Sadullo Khayrulloyev, Speaker of the lower house of parliament (Majlisi Namoyandagon), and Foreign Minister Hamrohon Zarifi.

On the last leg of his tour (Sept. 6), Kalfin is scheduled to meet with Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov, Akja Nurberdieva, Chairwoman of the Mejlis (parliament), and Rashid Meredov, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers for International Relations.

In Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, Kalfin and his counterparts will open bilateral business forums at which opportunities for invigorating trade will be discussed.

In Kazakhstan, where the latest census showed that more than 6,000 people are of Bulgarian descent, Kalfin will attend a meeting dedicated to the centenary of the settlement of the first Bulgarians in that country.

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