The official spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, Aibek Smadiyarov, held a press briefing on December 28 to summarize the results of the ministerial activities in 2022, QazMonitor reports citing the ministry of foreign affairs.
Smadiyarov started by listing out the official visits to Kazakhstan by foreign high-ranking officials as well as by Kazakh leadership to other countries.
“Deputy Prime Minister - Minister of Foreign Affairs Mukhtar Tleuberdi visited Austria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Great Britain, Vatican City, Germany, Italy, Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Pakistan, Poland, North Macedonia, Singapore, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkiye, Uzbekistan, the UAE, the USA, and Vietnam.”
Kazakhstan's foreign policy was improved to reflect the current international affairs and new challenges and threats, the spokesperson said.
“Proof of this is the Foreign Policy Concept for 2020-2030, adopted in 2020, which firmly secures the continuity of our foreign policy – multi-vector policy, balance, pragmatism, and protection of national interests.”
“Our key tasks are to ensure security and stability along the borders, increase Kazakhstan's role as a subject of regional and global politics, and protect and promote national interests abroad.”
“In the Concept, special emphasis is placed on the promotion and protection of the interests of the state, business, and every citizen on the external perimeter. The basic principle of Kazakhstan's foreign policy is the effective protection of the rights, freedoms, and legitimate interests of Kazakh citizens and compatriots living abroad.”
As of today, Kazakhstan has diplomatic relations with 186 countries of the world and has 104 foreign missions in 70 countries. Smadiyarov listed out visa agreements reached this year.
“In 2022, the list of visa-free countries was expanded to 80 states, for various categories of passports, including 26 states for general passports. Mutual agreements were concluded with nine new countries in different categories of passports: Maldives, Andorra, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Albania, and Belize.”
“On October 12 this year, Kazakhstan and Qatar signed the Protocol amending the intergovernmental agreement on mutual visa exemption for holders of diplomatic and special passports, which exempts from visa requirements for holders of regular passports.”
The Kazakh government also introduced a visa-free regime for citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the People's Republic of China, and the Republic of India, which allowed the citizens of these countries to stay on the territory of Kazakhstan for 14 days.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan participated in the launch of a pilot project on the electronic documentation of Kazakh citizens. It reduces the time of processing passports abroad from 80 to 30 working days. Today this service is available at 20 consular offices.
Smadiyarov concluded the first part of the briefing with a promise that the Ministry will add more consular offices to the documentation system.