Image by Kremlin.ru
The leaders of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan agreed to bury the hatchet today in a long-standing trade feud between the two countries. Relations between the two members of the Eurasian Economic Union had been strained when former Kyrgyz president Almazbek Atambayev accused Astana of interfering in recent presidential elections. Kazakhstan responded by preventing most Kyrgyz goods from crossing the border, effectively blockading the mostly land-locked nation.
Bishkek had filed a WTO complaint over the incident but has since ended that process as relations between the two governments improve under Jeenbekov’s leadership.
“We have established a constructive and trust-based dialogue in all areas,” Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s office quoted him as telling his Kyrgyz counterpart Sooronbai Jeenbekov, reported Reuters.
“Kyrgyzstan will continue to carry out its foreign policy aimed at deepening and intensifying bilateral ties with Kazakhstan,” Jeenbekov’s office quoted him as saying at the meeting in Astana.
Nazarbayev, the only leader of a Soviet republic still in power, has pushed to transform Kazakhstan into a regional economic power, going so far as to change the official alphabet back to Latin from Cyrillic, which was imposed by the Russians, in order to foster economic growth. The standoff with Kyrgyzstan was getting in the way of this effort.