28 Sep 2023, 23:56

Kazakhstan won't help Russia bust sanctions: president

BERLIN, Sept  28, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - Kazakhstan's leader said Thursday his
country would not help Russia circumvent Western sanctions imposed over the war
in Ukraine, amid suspicions that Moscow is still receiving vital goods via
Central Asian nations.

"Kazakhstan has unambiguously stated that it will follow the sanctions
regime," said President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev following talks in Berlin with
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

"We have contacts with the relevant organisations to comply with the
sanctions regime, and I think there should not be any concerns on the German
side about possible actions aimed at circumventing the sanctions regime."

Moscow's invasion of Ukraine has rattled nerves in Central Asian nations,
including Kazakhstan, which has sought to distance itself from Moscow's assault.

Astana has not recognised east and southern Ukrainian regions occupied by
Moscow as part of Russia.

But the close economic and military ally of Russia, with which it shares a
7,500-kilometre (4,650-mile) border, has been repeatedly accused of helping its
larger neighbour obtain goods in violation of sanctions.

In its 11th sanctions package, the EU sought to crack down on re-exports of
sensitive goods by third countries to Russia with a measure allowing it to
restrict certain exports to states that fail to cooperate.

On Thursday, Kazakhstan's president said he did not fear any territorial
claims from Moscow.

""The border between Kazakhstan and Russia has been set out, largely
demarcated, confirmed and ratified by the parliaments of both countries.

"We therefore have no concerns about Russia's territorial claims," Tokayev
said, according to his press office.

In recent months, Kazakh citizens have faced trial for pro-Russian
separatism in Kazakhstan, mainly in the north of the country.

Russian propagandists and elected representatives have repeatedly
threatened that Kazakhstan will be the next target of the Kremlin's
expansionist ambitions.

Western nations have sought a bigger role in Central Asia at a time when
some in the region are questioning their long-standing ties with Russia.

Besides Tokayev, Scholz will also host the leaders of Kyrgyzstan,
Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan for joint talks on Friday.

The meeting with the five Central Asian leaders would be the first joint
gathering of its kind with an EU country.

Germany also has an interest in the energy-rich region as Berlin has been
seeking alternative sources of power after its supplies from Russia dried up.


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