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KAZAKSTAN


 

 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 29,749 24,205 22,400 60
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,780 1,510 1,350 119
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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Update No: 314 - (22/02/07)

The death of Niyazov in Turkmenistan has definitely put all the dictatorial leaders of Central Asia in a quandary.
There is nothing more troubling for a dictatorship than the matter of succession. Dictators do not like to anoint an obvious successor, who could expedite their own political, and perhaps mortal, demise. But to be without one casts a question mark over any regime. This is where democracy scores heavily over dictatorship every time. The decision can be taken in due course by the people, not the dictator.

POLITICAL RESHUFFLE INVOLVES PRESIDENT'S SON-IN-LAW 
In a move that has taken everyone by surprise, President Nursultan Nazarbayev on February 9th abruptly removed his son-in-law, Rakhat Aliyev, as deputy foreign minister and dispatched him to Vienna to serve as Kazakstani ambassador to Austria. The move occurred days after Aliyev became embroiled in a controversy over the disappearance of two former bank executives. 
The presidential press service provided no reason for Aliyev's sudden departure for Vienna. Aliyev, 44, put a positive spin on the move, saying he would act as a diplomatic troubleshooter to advance Kazakstan's effort to chair the OSCE. "The president is sending me as ambassador to Austria and the OSCE to solve this task," Aliyev told the Kazakstan Today news agency. It will be Aliyev's second diplomatic tour in Austria. He first served as a diplomat in Vienna from 2002-2005. That appointment followed a political scandal in which several officials accused Aliyev of plotting to unseat Nazarbayev as president. 
Aliyev's departure comes amid an ongoing investigation into suspected financial impropriety at one of Kazakstan's leading banks, Nurbank. The affair has plunged the country's financial sector into controversy. Aliyev is perhaps the bank's highest-profile shareholder, and in connection with the financial probe, he adamantly denied allegations of unsavoury business practices. 
The accusations surfaced in early February, when the wives of two former senior Nurbank managers claimed their husbands had disappeared. The former chairman of the board, Abilmazhen Gilimov, and his deputy, Zholdas Timraliyev -- who both resigned from the bank in January -- had gone missing within the previous five days, their wives announced on February 5th, according to reports published by a variety of foreign and domestic news outlets, including The Associated Press. Gilimov had not returned after reporting for questioning to the financial police earlier that day, while Timraliyev had been missing since leaving for a Nurbank meeting on January 31st. It has since emerged that Gilimov is being questioned by law-enforcement agencies over financial wrongdoings at the bank, while Timraliyev is wanted by police. 
Timraliyev's wife, Armangul Kapasheva, alleges that prior to his disappearance, Timraliyev was kidnapped and subjected to violence and intimidation in an attempt to force him to ensure that management of a lucrative business centre in Almaty, Kazakstan's financial capital, passed to the president's son-in-law. Aliyev denies the charges. In an open letter to President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kapasheva claims that Gilimov and her husband left their homes on January 18th thinking they were to accompany Aliyev on a business trip. Instead, she said, they were taken to a sauna complex and held against their will for 24 hours. Kapasheva alleged that her husband had been beaten up and threatened with death unless he ceded to the demands. 
Aliyev categorically denied the allegations. "The only thing in all these versions, theories and rumours which is true is that I am indeed a Nurbank shareholder. That is no secret to anyone," he said in remarks quoted by the Kazakstan Today news agency. "Everything else, including information about a supposedly missing former bank employee, is open slander resembling a carefully-planned act of provocation." Aliyev could not be reached for further comment. 
Gilimov and Timraliyev resigned from the bank on January 19th. Nurbank issued a press release announcing Gilimov's departure, giving no indication that the split was acrimonious. Gilimov was moving jobs and being replaced by his deputy, Gulmira Dzhumadillayeva, Nurbank said, thanking him for his contribution: "Under his management Nurbank entered and firmly consolidated itself in the top 10 banks in Kazakstan." 
On January 31st, Kapasheva reported her husband missing after he failed to return from a meeting with Dzhumadillayeva and Aliyev. The facts about what happened next -- which subsequently led to the arrests of several senior police officers -- are disputed.
Kapasheva says she encountered difficulties in reporting her husband missing, but in the evening a police rapid-reaction squad arrived at the bank, where her husband was thought to have gone earlier in the day. Bank security denied the officers access. In a press release on February 5th, Nurbank described the incident as an "attack on the bank's head office in Almaty." Allegations have been levelled that the officers were seeking to remove valuables and documents from the former managers' offices. 
When the rapid-reaction squad arrived at the bank, the financial police were already conducting a search following allegations of financial impropriety. They say the rapid-reaction squad tried to hinder the process. 
"There has been an attempt by interested parties to cover up illegal actions by rapid-reaction squad officers, [who were at the bank] apparently in response to a statement received from Kapasheva," Almaty financial police chief Vladimir Kurbatov told a news conference on February 5th. 
Following the raid on Nurbank the head of Almaty's rapid-reaction squad and the city's deputy police chief were arrested, and several dozen officers submitted resignations. Financial police are investigating a case involving abuse of office, though no charges have yet been brought. 
"We do have many questions for the former management of Nurbank," Kurbatov told the press conference. "More than 10 people are currently declining to appear before the investigation." He believes Timraliyev is on the run, and says the police have evidence that he called his wife to say so. 
Kapasheva does not deny that Timraliyev has been in touch, but believes it was at someone's instigation. "He has called," she told EurasiaNet. "I know it was his voice, but he was calling under pressure." 
The police case centres on a suspicious payment of 809 million tenge -- some US$6.5 million -- said to have been made on January 26th by Gilimov and Timraliyev. Kapasheva dismisses allegations of wrongdoing by her husband, questioning how he could have moved funds from the bank a week after he had resigned. "He wasn't working there then… His signature was not valid," she said. 
Kurbatov insists that the financial police are keeping an open mind. "We have tried to show maximum objectivity and listen to all sides… [but] preliminary investigations are not going in favour of the former management," he said. 
As the investigation continues, the case is becoming increasingly politicised. MP Dariga Nazarbayeva, Aliyev's wife and the president's eldest daughter, says it is an economic matter. "These are more fabrications; this is an attempt now to take a normal criminal case onto a political level," Nazarbayeva told Kazakstan Today. 
Other members of Aliyev and Nazarbayeva's family are involved with Nurbank. Their 22-year-old son, Nurali Aliyev, was voted onto Nurbank's board on 15th January, and Aliyev's father, Mukhtar Aliyev, holds a 6.73 per cent share in the bank.

At a critical time
The Nurbank case has cast an unwelcome spotlight on the country's banking sector. Any damage to the sector's image is unwelcome at a time when Kazkommertsbank and Halyk Bank recently floated on the London Stock Exchange and are under investor scrutiny. Other Kazakstani banks are preparing to float shares on the LSE. 
Just a week before the controversy erupted, Kazakstan's banks held a publicity drive in London aimed at boosting their reputations and promoting themselves as responsible operators. The controversy casts a shadow on Kazakstan's investment climate as a whole, raising questions about the manner in which business disputes are settled. Observers will be closely watching the outcome of this case to see if a fair and transparent solution can be found. 

KAZAKSTAN DEEPENS TIES WITH GERMANY 
Nazarbayev has moved to deepen the level of Kazakstan's cooperation with Germany, a country for which he has a profound respect. With a bit of Kazak advice and help, Hitler could have beaten the USSR.
On January 30th, during a visit to Germany, Nazarbayev explored ways to increase existing bilateral political, trade, economic, cultural, and humanitarian cooperation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Reportedly, both leaders share common positions on international and regional security and European energy stability -- a topic on Merkel's mind since the recent problems with Belarus exposed the limitations of European reliance on Russian energy -- as well as the need for reform of the United Nations, which envisages Germany gaining a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
Nazarbayev's interest in Germany relates to its current presidency of the EU and current chairing of the G-8. He hopes to present Kazakstan as a reliable long-term economic partner, while gaining crucial German support for Kazakstan's effort to become chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2009. Astana also harbors ambitions to join the World Trade Organization. "The Kazak-German partnership is based on solid foundations of economic cooperation, active political dialogue, and close positions on the main issues of global and regional politics. Kazakstan supports Germany's efforts to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council," Nazarbayev confirmed. In fact, Germany is now a high priority in Kazakstan's formulation of foreign policy, seeing Berlin as intimately connected with its ambitious strategy to secure enhanced access to Western trade organizations and international markets.
"For the purpose of modernizing its economy, Kazakstan is very interested in cooperation with companies from Germany, which is a world leader in the field of new technologies and engineering. In particular, we hope for successful implementation of joint projects with a German company, ThyssenKrupp, on the construction of a metallurgical plant producing silicon metal," Nazarbayev stressed. The first signs of joint economic ventures to encourage Nazarbayev, but he clearly wants to build on this in order to attain yet more economic rewards in the future.
Merkel is a willing participant in this relationship, as she believes that Germany needs to foster its ties with Kazakstan, with a keen interest in its energy infrastructure. "Of course, Kazakstan is not a poor country in terms of mineral resources. It is rich in resources. This is a good basis for us to help Kazakstan to develop its technologies, and this may concern not only the oil sector and oil exports, but we also mean the oil processing sector," Merkel noted.
Arguably, ties between Astana and Berlin will also have security implications, as the bilateral relationship strengthens Kazakstan's reliability as a security partner to NATO. Nazarbayev promised that German companies would be made welcome in Kazakstan, receiving priority and, as Germany's economic interests grow, Astana, in turn, may be more willing to open up to the influence of its Western security relationships.
On February 1st Kazak Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier signed an important agreement in Berlin on the transfer of military equipment and personnel through Kazakstan's territory. According to a Foreign Ministry press release, "At the end of the talks, an agreement was signed between the governments of Kazakstan and Germany on the transit of military equipment and personnel through the country's territory in connection with the participation of German armed forces in Afghanistan stabilization and reconstruction effort."
This is a significant development in regional security dynamics, since the "friendship bridge" at Termez in Uzbekistan has been a key mechanism for the German military, facilitating the transit of humanitarian aid into Afghanistan. Termez was unique and well publicized in Tashkent, giving Karimov's regime continued favourable publicity in the aftermath of Western criticism of the 2005 Andijan massacre. Tashkent has also staked a great deal of political trust in Berlin's support for achieving rapprochement between the West and Uzbekistan. The German-Kazak transit agreement raises the profile of a powerful Astana-Berlin axis, which could potentially lessen Berlin's effectiveness as a campaigner for Uzbekistan's rehabilitation.
Germany is now ready to cooperate in various areas in order to develop stronger ties between the EU and Central Asia. Berlin and Astana intend to discuss in detail the new German strategy and the new format of dialogue in March. The first in a series of high-level meetings will be held in Astana on March 28th, involving the foreign ministers of Central Asian states and three EU countries, Kazak TV First Channel, reported on January 31st.
Kazakstan's relations with Germany are intensifying markedly and are likely to continue exploiting the weakness of energy markets in Europe and Berlin's declared political interest in seeking alternative energy sources. This provides another platform enabling Kazakstan to cooperate closely with Western militaries. Its deepening relationship with Germany is likely to see benefits in the security sector that go beyond the military transit agreement, allowing more access by Kazak military personnel to German military educational establishments. Nazarbayev is once again revealing his ambition to make Kazakstan the politically and economically dominant state in Central Asia. 

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ENERGY

Kazakstan takes first step towards oil transport system 


Kazakstan has made a first step towards its primary goal - diversification of the crude supplies to Europe. The Central Asian state has signed an agreement for construction of a Kazakstan transport system that would deliver the Caspian crude to the world markets bypassing Russia.
Two weeks ago, two events attracted special attention. The first was an unexpected statement from the head of KazMunaiGas, Uzakbai Karabalin, criticising the foreign partners in the development of Kashagan - the largest Caspian oil field - and saying the national company would start its own investigation with the participation of internationally recognised experts. The second event was the signing, in the evening of the same day, of an agreement to build a new transport system from the Caspian Sea to deliver the oil from Kashagan and from the other major field, Tengiz, to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline - the first oil pipeline to Europe bypassing Russia.
Karabalin's statement was made in the morning, and the new transport system agreement was signed in the evening of the same day. The two events were seemingly unrelated. However, in his morning statement, Karabalin criticised the international consortium Agip KCO, the developer of Kashagan, and the joint venture TCO, the developer of Tengiz, while in the evening of the same day he signed the new project agreement with the exact same companies. 
The question arises: "Where is the logic here?" If there is dissatisfaction with the partners in the first project, is it reasonable to start a new and equally grand and expensive project with them?
There is logic here though. According to information provided by Reuters on January 25 this year, the head of the Italian company ENI (this company leads the Agip KCO consortium), Paolo Skaroni, advised that the reserves of Kashagan have proved a lot greater than it was suggested before. It means that Kashagan, which is believed to be the biggest discovery in the last 30 years, is even richer than forecasted, that is seven to 13 billion barrels.
It is also possible that the signing of the Caspian transport system agreement was prompted by Europe's desire to secure for itself an alternative route for the Kazakh oil from Kashagan and Tengiz. Following the oil and gas disputes of Russia with the Ukraine and Belarus, Europe is seeking to diversify energy routes. No doubt, politics is often the driver of oil projects. 
There was another fact that raised new questions. The press-release provided by the press-service of KazMunaiGas clearly stated: "Engineering, construction and commissioning of the Kazakstan Caspian Transportation System are scheduled for the first production on Kashagan in 2010 - 2011." 
It is interesting that the above-mentioned dissatisfaction of KazMunaiGas concerned the delays with the first production from Kashagan. It was first expected in 2005, but in 2004 Agip KCO got the Kazak government's approval to postpone production to 2007-2008. Last summer the time was further moved to late 2009 - early 2010. Does it mean that the official press-release has now indicated a new date for the first production? No clarifying response could be received from the national oil company's representatives attending the signing of the agreement. Without explaining the reasons, they repeated the mysterious phrase "First production in 2010 - 2011". So it appears the project is going to be delayed for one more year. 

Future of Karazhanbasmunai oil field determined

The future of another Kazakstan oil field, Karazhanbasmunai, has finally been determined. Sold to Canadian company Nations Energy at a time when Kazakstan hawked its energy jewels for much-needed cash, the field has now changed owners. The Chinese CITIC Group and the Kazakh national company KazMunaiGas own it on a fifty-fifty basis.
This solution is seen as the most beneficial compromise in the sale of Karazhanbasmunai, a deal which has recently attracted close attention. 
Karazhanbasmunai is located in the Mangistau region, and although it is not a young field (discovered in 1974), it is still oil-bearing. Its reserves are 340 million barrels.
Early last year, Nations Energy decided to sell its shares. Three foreign companies then were interested in Karazhanbasmunai: Chinese CITIC, Indian ONGC, and Russian LUKoil. The Chinese won the tender by offering the best price - US$1.9 billion. The deal was reported in the media, and the news was apparently a surprise for the Kazak minister of energy. The deal was closed without the heads of the country's knowledge. "The ministry of energy and, first of all myself, should take urgent measures to stop further consideration of this agreement," the energy minister said at the time.
And the government decided to act. According to Kazakstan law, the state has a priority right to purchase oil fields in the country once a decision to sell them has been made. And the government exercised this right.
There has been a precedent. A year before the Karazhanbasmunai affair, the stock of PetroKazakstan, a Canadian company, was sold in a similar manner. PetroKazakstan owned the Shymkent refinery and some oil fields in the south of Kazakstan. The Canadian company, which had certain difficulties with the Kazak law, decided before leaving Kazakstan to sell its shares at the London Stock Exchange without, however, informing the Kazakstan government. To avoid having the country's riches sold without its knowledge, the ministry of energy initiated an amendment to the law that was quickly passed by the Kazakh parliament. Now it was clear that thanks to that amendment the former Soviet republic was able to get back 50 percent of the refinery shares and 30 percent of the shares of Kukmol fields.
Now again, in the sale of Karazhanbasmunai, the government's priority right has allowed Kazakstan to regain, albeit half of, a once sold oil bearing field. 
In order to get the Kazak government's approval of the transaction, CITIC decided to sell 50 percent of Karazhanbasmunai stocks to KazMunaiGas for half the price - US$955 million. KazMunaiGas can pay for the stocks during the year.
There is a trend of the return of once-sold mineral resources to state hands. Kazakstan now has money to buy them out. Although it was the sale price of Karazhanbasmunai that caused lots of discussion. Many specialists believed that US$1.9 billion was too high a price. Kazak Minister of Energy Baktykozha Izmukhambetov said: "This is a fair price, a market price. If (they) are prepared to pay such a price, why not?" 
In response to the question where they were going to find the money to pay for their half of Karazhanbasmunai, KazMunaiGas said: "Our own and borrowed funds. The financing structure is laid out in the agreement between the Chinese and Kazakstan companies."
KazMunaiGas will most likely sell its interest in Karazhanbasmunai to its subsidiary, Exploration, Production KazMunaiGas. Although there has been no official announcement about that, the subsidiary clearly is in a good position.
It looks like everybody benefits from the sale of Karazhanbasmunai: the seller, the buyer, and even the budget. Daulet Ergozhin of the ministry of finance advised that according to Kazakstan tax law, Nations Energy will have to pay to the budget 20 perent of the proceeds from its very successful sale. It makes at least US$400 million.

Companies agree to set up Caspian oil export system

Kazak national oil and gas company KazMunaiGaz, participants in the international consortium Agip KCO and the joint venture Tengizchevroil have reached an agreement to set up Kazak Caspian Transport System (KCTS) to transport hydrocarbons to world markets.
The signing ceremony for a memorandum of mutual understanding on the main principles of cooperation in the project to set up the KCTS took place in Astana, an Interfax correspondent reports.
"The memorandum is the first step in setting up the KCTS for oil, which will further diversify hydrocarbon export sources," KazMunaiGaz President Uzakbai Karabalin said at the ceremony.
In turn, KazMunaiGaz Managing Director Kairgeldy Kabyldin said that the cost of setting up the KCTS is estimated at US$ three billion.
According to the KazMunaiGaz press service, this transport system "is aimed at exporting the growing volume of Kazak oil produced primarily at the Kashagan and Tengiz fields, through the Caspian Sea to international markets through the East-West energy corridor along the route Eskene-Kuryk-Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan.
The press release explained that oil would be transported through the future Eskene-Kuryk pipeline on the Kazak Caspian coast to oil terminal from which tankers will sail to Azerbaijan, after which the oil will be transported through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.
"It is planned that the KCTS will initially transport 25 million tonnes of oil per year to be subsequently increased to 38 million tonnes per year, the press release said.
According to the press release, designing, building and launching the KCTS is planned to coincide with the start of production at the Kashagan field in 2010-2011.

Astana, Rome vow energy resources diversification

Italy is a major investor to Kazakstan's oil and gas sector. Italian company Ajip participates in the development of Karachaganak - the largest gas deposit in the west of Kazakstan. Another Italian company, ENI, leads an international consortium Agip KCO which is involved in the development of major Caspian oil field Kashagan. Italy's ambassador to Kazakstan, Bruno Antonio Pasquino, talked to New Europe correspondent Kulpash Konyrova about diversification efforts and Italy's plans in the resource-rich state.
What are Italy's plans with regard to diversification?
Diversification of routes is on the agenda of both Europe and Kazakstan. During my meeting with the new Minister of Foreign Affairs Marat Tazhin, he said, 'Your goal is our dream', because the bulk of the Kazak oil and gas supplies currently go through Russia. However, the situation today is such that diversification of energy supplies is not possible without diversification of politics. No energy route can be completed without a political decision. A vivid example of that is the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan project (BTC). It is the first oil pipeline bypassing Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. But the construction of an oil and gas pipeline on the bottom of the Caspian Sea which could transport crude from the above-mentioned Kashagan in 2009 is directly subject to a political decision of five littoral states. Fifteen years have passed since Kazakstan became independent, but the issue of division of the Caspian Sea still remains unresolved. 
This is exactly why Italy talks about diversification of energy supplies in conjunction with the diversification of politics. The former cannot be achieved without the latter. 
The search for alternative types of energy has also appeared on the agenda. I plan to propose to the Kazakh Minister of Ecology to combine the efforts of the Italian and Kazakstan companies in extracting energy from industrial waste. A lot of such waste has accumulated in Kazakstan. Italy has succeeded in the development of new technologies. I know that the current minister of ecology, Mr. (Nurlan) Iskakov, has shown himself as a champion of ecology. I plan to invite him to visit some of our plants to see how our scientists can help in receiving energy and clean water from waste. 
What is the reason for delayed production from Kashagan? What are the difficulties that ENI is facing?
During the two months that I have worked as an ambassador to Kazakstan I have visited the oil field twice. The specialists have identified two reasons. The first reason is geographical. It means that they have to establish with certainty the location of oil and gas. Kashagan is the world's largest field, and it has not been determined so far whether it is or it is not offshore. The water level over the field is very low, only four metres, so it is impossible to install an offshore platform there. At the same time, the field is not onshore either. This is why the consortium needs to build big and reliable islands to accommodate minimum 600 to 700 personnel, as well as buildings and the drilling equipment. In the local climate conditions, it is only possible to build such islands when the temperature is above minus 20 C° to avoid icing. In short, it is an ambitious project.
The second reason is the high concentration of sulfide gas. A 0.9 percent content of this gas in the atmosphere is a lethal doze. Here it is 20 percent. This means that maximum safety should be provided for the people who work and live in the area. A little leak of the gas may kill the entire town of Atyrau. ENI has a worldwide reputation for the most stringent safety rules. It is better to be behind schedule but to be sure that all works are done in accordance with the rules. 
The Kazak media has been talking a lot lately about tightening control over oil companies. What are your thoughts?
The Italian law is known as the most stringent law in the world. To participate in a tender, a company in our country must present a conformation from the ministry of internal affairs that it has no connection with the mafia. This rule is a norm. Each firm should show who stands behind it. So the Italian government regards the new requirements of Kazakstan with due respect. 

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FOREIGN RELATIONS

Astana, Berlin seek stronger business ties

Kazakstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev visited Germany on January 30 meeting with his German counterpart Chancellor Angela Merkel, the country's federal president and business leaders to discuss growing ties between the two countries.
"We have agreed to improve and broaden cooperation on energy matters," Merkel told a press conference in Berlin on January 30 after talks with Nazarbayev. Merkel offered German expertise to help Kazakstan develop its huge natural resources, which, besides oil and gas, include steel, copper and zinc. Today Germany, Europe's biggest economy buys about 33 percent of its oil and 42 percent of its gas from Russia.
Kazakstan is estimated to hold 100 billion barrels of oil and more than 200 trillion cubic feet of gas. Kazakstan's Kashagan oil field, one of the five biggest in the world, will produce an average of 1.2 million barrels a day between 2010 and 2041, Uzakbai Karabalin, president of KazMunaiGaz national oil and gas company, said.
"Kazakstan is a very rich country and German business has great interests in promoting its economic development. We have a lot of common interests, and we would like to be the driving force for Kazakstan's relations with the EU," Merkel said. She added that 40 percent of Kazakstan's population still live on farming. "There's a chance for our export businesses," she explained.
Merkel, holder of the European Union's six-month presidency, said the bloc wants to compete with Russia and China for greater influence in Central Asia. Germany, which also holds the chair of the Group of Eight industrialized nations, will "very deliberately" pursue cooperation with Central Asia, the German Chancellor noted.
Nazarbayev said Kazakstan is "the key market" for German companies in Central Asia since bilateral trade equals US$5.2 billion a year. Kazakstan has already invested more than USD one billion in Germany, while German companies have invested US$2.2 billion in Kazakstan's growing economy.
Kazakstan's links to Germany are historical. During the Soviet days, many ethnic Germans in Russia found themselves exiled to Kazakstan where they quickly became a valuable part of the local community. After Kazakstan's independence in 1991, large numbers of ethnic Germans repatriated themselves back to Germany creating an even stronger bond.
Several major private deals were signed during the visit including the 100 million Euro agreement between the Kazyna Sustainable Development Fund and Thyssen Krupp, one of the world's largest steel manufacturers, to build a metallic flint plant in Kazakstan.
During the visit, Nazarbayev also promoted Kazakstan's bid to chair the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) winning the support of the Chancellor. Kazakstan's efforts to improve public safety, tackle human rights abuses and promote legal structures should earn the country the OSCE chairmanship, he said adding "we're doing a lot and have a claim to the OSCE chair." Merkel expressed support for Kazakstan's bid, saying Germany "can live" with the country in the OSCE chair "provided it carries on with reforms."

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