Russian, Kazakh leaders to discuss bilateral ties, international issues in Moscow

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev in Moscow on Thursday to discuss bilateral relations and the situation in North Africa and Japan, the Kremlin has said.

“The meeting will take place within an intensive political dialogue between Russia and Kazakhstan, reflecting a high level of bilateral cooperation,” the presidential press service said. Last year, Medvedev and Nazarbayev met 11 times.

During their meeting, the presidents will discuss the widening of trade and economic relations between Russia and Kazakhstan, including joint projects in the energy sphere, as well as cooperation in the space exploration sphere and the development of inter-regional ties, the press service said.

Russian-Kazakh trade turnover increased by almost 54 percent last year, if compared with 2009, and stood at $15.3 billion, according to the Russian Federal Customs Service. Russian export to Kazakhstan rose by more than 49 percent to $10.82 billion, while import increased by 63 percent to $4.48 billion.

Russia and Kazakhstan are in talks on duty-free supplies of Russian oil to Kazakhstan’s Pavlodar oil refinery until 2015. The Pavlodar oil refinery fully depends on crude oil supplies from Russia.

A similar agreement has been signed between Russia and Belarus.

A special attention during the top-level talks will be paid to issues related to the operation of the Customs Union between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, the Kremlin said. The Customs Union became fully operational in early July 2010, when the countries ratified the Customs Code. Customs borders are to be scrapped on July 1, 2011.

Medvedev and Nazarbayev will focus on further steps to be made towards the creation of a common economic space stipulating the free movement of goods, services and labor between the countries, which is expected to be launched by January 1, 2012.

The Russian and Kazakh presidents are also expected to exchange opinions on relevant international issues, including the situation in North Africa, Central Asia and disaster-hit Japan, the Kremlin said.


MOSCOW, March 17 (RIA Novosti)

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