Lithuanian business in Kazakhstan has great future
ALMATY. May 29. KAZINFORM. /Rizvana Sadykova, Serik Koybagarov/ In advance of the official visit of Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister Vygaudas Usackas to Kazakhstan next month, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Lithuania to Kazakhstan Romualdas Kozyrovicius gave an interview to KAZINFORM agency.
Mister Ambassador, how do you characterize the political and economic relations between Kazakhstan and Lithuania? What will be the key element of further development of bilateral relations? To date the political and economic cooperation between our states is very positive despite the potential of economic contacts is not used in full yet. EUR 200 million of commodity circulation still does not manifest all the potential opportunities and big prospects that we have. In my opinion there are preconditions for us to increase the volume of trade turnover in the nearest future. In whole, our bilateral relations have been actively developed in the recent years. Last year Lithuanian Foreign Minister visited Kazakhstan three times which demonstrates our regular contacts. The Intergovernmental Commission, which was established in 2001, intensified work in 2007 after its sitting in Astana with the participation of many Lithuanian businessmen. Vice Chairman of the Lithuanian Seim Algis Kaseta has recently taken part in the international conference ?Modern Kazakhstan and ?Road to Europe? held in Astana. What can you tell about his visit to Kazakhstan and oncoming official visit of the Lithuanian Foreign Minister? Vice Chairman of the Lithuanian Seim spoke at the Majilis conference and I saw many positive responses to his speech among the local mass media. He held meetings with Chairman of the Majilis Ural Mukhamedzhanov and Vice Speaker of the Senate Mukhambet Kopeyev. They discussed the issues of interparliamentary cooperation, Kazakhstan?s chairmanship in the OSCE and etc. Algis Kaseta noted that the Lithuanian-Kazakh interparliamentary group consisting of 63 deputies is the biggest one in the Parliament of Lithuania. The same group was formed in the Kazakh Parliament. It is headed by Rakhmet Mukashev. I think that Mr. Kaseta?s visit will promote further interparliamentary contacts between our states. The Kazakh parliamentarians will soon take part in the OSCE Parliamentary Conference that will be held in June in Lithuania. Minister Usackas plans to hold meetings with Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Karim Massimov, Senate Chairman Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Foreign Affairs Minister Marat Tazhin. The issues of economic cooperation, increase of commodity turnover, and interaction in the sphere of customs and chairmanship in the OSCE will be discussed. It is planned to sign several documents, including the agreement on simplified visa regime between Kazakhstan and Lithuania, visa-free regime for individuals having service and diplomatic passports. I think it will be a big achievement for Kazakhstan since Lithuania is a Shengen country. Now other than Lithuania Kazakhstanis will be able to visit other countries in the Shengen area as well. Minister of Agriculture of Lithuania Kazimieras Starkevicius will arrive with the Head of the Lithuanian MFA to Kazakhstan to hold talks with his Kazakh counterpart Akhylbek Kurishbayev and the head of KazAgro National holding. A Kazakh-Lithuanian Business Forum will take place as part of this. To my mind, this will promote our potential in mutually beneficial trade. We hope Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Karim Massimov will pay a visit to Lithuania this autumn. What can Kazakhstan introduce in the Kazakh-Lithuanian cooperation and in Europe in whole on the threshold of its chairmanship in the OSCE? Both countries are interested in the OSCE chairmanship. Lithuania will take this post in 2011 after Kazakhstan. This year we have started working in the so called OSCE Troika consisting of Greece, current chairman of the OSCE, Kazakhstan and Lithuania as the next presiding countries. Kazakhstan?s oncoming chairmanship in the OSCE sets the best pattern of the Organization?s trust to this country. Moreover Kazakhstan will be the first CIS country to hold the office. The country will have to solve large-scale problems. These are inter-faith harmony, democratization of the society, freedom of mass media, regulation of the frozen conflicts, like Transnistria, Nagorny-Karabakh and others. There is hope for full or partial solution of the outlined questions and Lithuania gives special attention to them, since in 2011 Lithuania will have to deal with all the problems which were not resolved by Kazakhstan. We know that the Baltic states nominate Permanent Delegate of Lithuania to the UNESCO Ina Marciulionyte as a candidate to the post of the Director General of this Organization. Could you comment on this initiative? Ina Marciulionyte who has been leading our mission to the UNESCO holds several positions in the Organization. In 2004 she headed the World Heritage Committee. Today she is Vice Chairman of the UNESCO Executive Committee, Chairman of the Committee of the UNESCO Headquarters. She is also a member and head of different working groups functioning within the organization. She has been working in the UNESCO for a long time and knows all the work specifics. Therefore Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia decided unanimously to propose her candidacy for this position for 2009-2013. We have already requested Kazakhstan to support this initiative. In 2009 Lithuania will celebrate its 1000th anniversary after the country was mentioned in sources. How does your country plan to mark this date? It is not that Lithuania had not existed as a state until this date. But the fact is that 1000 years have passed since the name of the country was mentioned in sources. This is a great event in the history of Lithuania and we decided to celebrate it from July 6 through July 10 on the day of crowning of the King Mindaugas. On these days we will also celebrate the holiday ?Vilnius ? the capital city of Europe?. Besides, the date coincided with the annual holiday of song and dance. We have invited a lot of foreign guests, creative ensembles from other countries including Kazakhstan. Last year Kazakhstan marked the 10th anniversary of its young capital city Astana. What were your impressions of our capital and country in whole? In your opinion, is there something peculiar in our traditions, rituals and inter-ethnic relations? I remember Tselinograd, a small provincial town of the Soviet period with population numbering 120-150 thousand. Today Astana is admired both by foreigners working here and guests. It gives us pleasure to show its sights to the guests. On behalf of our young readers who begin their career, we would like to know about your professional activity and your family. Firs of all, I would like to note that your country pays particular attention to the Kazakh language and does not derogate the Russian language from its rights. And I am pleased to see it. The Kazakh language is close to me by my viewpoint and my origin, because I have Karaim roots and I can communicate with the Kazakhs in the language they understand. I was born in the town of Trakai where the Karaims have been living for 600 years. All my ancestors lived there. According to historical data, at the end of the XIV century Vytautas the Great, Grand Duke of Lithuania after a campaign to Crimea brought the Karaims and the Tatars to Lithuania as his soldiers and farmers. I am an engineer-economist by specialty. I graduated from the Institute of Engineering and Construction. In 1990 after Lithuania gained its independence I was appointed the Minister of Material Resources of the first Lithuanian Government. In 1993 after the first President of the country Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas was elected, I was appointed Ambassador to Moscow. During 10 years I have been working as a diplomat. I served as an Ambassador to Russia, Hungary and the Czech Republic. In 2007 I came to Kazakhstan. Here I live with my spouse Kristina. Our son who lives in the USA likes to visit us in Almaty. I like to work in Kazakhstan. Over the last two years I have witnessed the country?s steps towards democratization of the society, tolerance, inter-ethnic and inter-religious harmony. Thank you for the interview.