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Kazakhstan to export goods to Afghanistan via Iranian territory

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Iran, Mojtaba Damirchilu, during a press-conference in Astana said that Kazakhstan could use Iranian territory for the export of products to Afghanistan and other countries bordering Iran.

“If we talk about relations between Kazakhstan and Iran in the future, we can highlight a few points. In the past our relations have been internal, both countries have used their capacity to meet their needs. I think that we could reach more than bilateral level. For example, for transportation of products Kazakhstan could use Iranian territory. So I pointed out that these countries [Afghanistan, Iraq, and others] are connected with railways, it simplifies cooperation for Kazakhstan,” the ambassador said.

Damirchilu furthered that his country can expand cooperation in various fields, adding that Iran is keen to normalize relations with all countries, especially with neighboring. He called on all countries to make efforts in fighting terrorism in the region, particularly in Afghanistan.

Late November, President Ashraf Ghani visited Kazakhstan where he addressed issues of mutual interest, especially economic and political ties.

During his two-day visit, Ghani had signed three agreements; on governance, fight against corruption, diplomacy as well as wheat purchase from Kazakhstan. Four memorandums of understandings (MoUs) were also signed between the two countries.

One of MoU was signed between Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock and Kazakhstan’s National Company, “Food Contract Corporation”.

Second was between Afghanistan’s National Standards Authority and Committee of Technical Regulation and Metrology of Republic of Kazakhstan. The third one was between Afghanistan’s Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission and Kazakhstan’s Agency for Civil.

Fourth one was between Afghanistan’s Institute of Diplomacy and Kazakhstan’s Academy of Public Administration.

In an interview with Kazakh TV, Ghani spoke out about the importance of Af-Kazakh relations. “Our main goal is to improve trade ties with Kazakhstan and sign agreements with the Kazakh governments,” he said.

“Kazakhstan is one of the biggest wheat producers in the region and we need imported wheat in next five years. Also, Kazakhstan is a big steel producer and we need this product for infrastructure in Afghanistan,” he stated.

According to the Trend News Agency, since 2002, Kazakhstan has delivered $20 million in foodstuffs to Afghanistan and has allocated $50 million for Afghan students to study at Kazakh universities.

The trade between the two countries amounted to $336.7 million in 2014, up from $251.4 million in 2013. The Astana Times stated that trade now stands at $400 million.

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