HRH The Crown Prince opened Norwegian Embassy in Kazakhstan
HRH Crown Prince Haakon officially opened the Norwegian Embassy in Astana today. Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, who is accompanying the Crown Prince on the visit, said: “The opening of Norway’s first embassy in Central Asia reflects the region’s growing international importance. Kazakhstan is a strategically important country and an increasingly important partner for Norway.”
Kazakhstan is a key country in Central Asia, a region that is playing an increasingly important political, economic and strategic role as it borders on Russia, China and Iran, as well as Afghanistan.
Mr. Støre commented: “Kazakhstan holds the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) this year, and is demonstrating that the country is ready to play a more prominent role at the international level. This entails a commitment to continue vital reforms with regard to democracy, human rights and freedom of the media.”
Norway cooperates with Kazakhstan in a broad range of areas. This is reflected in the talks that The Crown Prince and Mr. Støre had with President Nazarbayev and Prime Minister Massimov during their visit to Astana.
The Crown Prince and Mr Støre also opened a business seminar arranged by INTSOK (the Norwegian Oil and Gas Partners). Norway and Kazakhstan both have major oil and gas resources, and cooperation in the petroleum sector is therefore of particular interest. Several Norwegian companies are engaged in Kazakhstan, including Aker Solutions, Statoil and DNV.
Mr. Støre also met Deputy Foreign Minister Zhigalov and representatives of civil society.
“At the same time as we are strengthening the political dialogue and assisting Norwegian companies doing business in the country, we are also promoting democracy and human rights in Central Asia. This is an important element in Norway’s engagement in the region,” Mr. Støre added.
The Embassy will have a staff of 12, and will, in addition to Kazakhstan, cover Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs