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Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton following her meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, Mr. Yerzhan Kazykhanov

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, made the following statement today:

“Kazakhstan is an important partner for the EU in Central Asia and the EU has good relations and dialogue with Kazakhstan, which are important to maintain for exchanging our views and concerns. My meeting with Foreign Minister Kazykhanov today provided for this opportunity.

We discussed recent developments over the last months in Kazakhstan. I recalled my concerns about violent clashes of December 2011 between striking workers and the police, and the ensuing arrests. I repeated my call for objective and transparent investigation of the events. We also discussed the recent Parliamentary elections. I encouraged Kazakhstan to maintain its aspiration to build an open and democratic society respectful of the fundamental rights and freedoms of its population. The EU stands ready to support Kazakhstan in this work.

We also discussed international issues, notably Syria and Iran, and Kazakhstan’s role as Chairmanship of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation.

The EU is committed to strengthen its relations with Kazakhstan through the negotiations or a new enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. However, as stated by the EU before, progress in these negotiations will depend on progress on political reforms in Kazakhstan.”