- - Thursday, June 27, 2019

Less than one month ago, the people of Kazakhstan took a new historic step on the path to democratic development with the election of the new President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. President Tokayev will continue to build on the foundation laid by First President Nursultan Nazarbayev, as Kazakhstan upholds the democratic principles of its constitution.

The people of Kazakhstan elected a leader who will advance the country’s position on a global stage, as a commercial epicenter of Central Asia and proponent of democratic values in our region. President Tokayev vowed in his inaugural address that he will strengthen the unity of the nation through dialogue, encourage a pluralism of opinions and continue to be a reformer for our country.

The democratic process is not always easy. There are bumps along the way, but a new leader continues the course to reform our nation. President Tokayev has called on the Government to listen to the demands of the people, develop solutions and remain accountable.

Through the newly formed National Council of Public Trust, representatives of Kazakh society — most especially the youth will discuss the concerns of the population and provide counsel, further strengthening the unity of our nation.

In his inaugural address, President Tokayev laid out his vision and priorities for the country which included political and economic reforms. In addition to seeing Kazakhstan moving along its path towards democracy, Mr. Tokayev has ensured that Kazakhstan will remain a reliable international partner and intermediary, promoting peace in the region and providing a voice to the people of Central Asia on a global scale.

The new president will continue to support entrepreneurship, attract and protect foreign investments, stimulate business activity, and expand our middle class. This can only be achieved through our close relationships with international partners like the United States.

Kazakhstan and the United States share a long history of diplomatic and economic relations which spans nearly three decades.

As the United States’ steadfast partner in Central Asia, Kazakhstan is firmly committed to expanding bilateral cooperation including trade and investment, political and security issues, and people-to-people relations.

Kazakhstan intends to continue constructive cooperation with the United States to find solutions to important international challenges, such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism. So, thanks to our consistent close cooperation with the United States, almost 550 citizens of Kazakhstan, mostly women and children, were returned from the territories previously controlled by ISIS in Syria.

During his visit to the United States in January 2018, First President Nazarbayev met with President Donald Trump to strengthen ties within the framework of an Enhanced Strategic Partnership. President Tokayev looks forward to building on this wide-ranging relationship and discovering new avenues for cooperation between our two countries.

Today, more than 700 American companies operate in Kazakhstan, and the United States is one of the country’s largest investors with over $45 billion in total investment. American companies, like Nasdaq, have also partnered with Kazakhstan to launch the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC) in 2018. These partnerships and Kazakhstan’s dedication to fostering an environment conducive to foreign investment have allowed the country to become a financial hub in the region.

Under the Tokayev presidency, the strengthening of the relationship between the United States and Kazakhstan will continue. We are grateful to have a partner like the United States as Kazakhstan takes a new step in its development as an independent and sovereign state.

• Beibut Atamkulov is the foreign minister of Kazkahstan.

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