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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 18, 1997


During their November 18, 1997 meeting in Washington, D.C., Presidents Clinton and Nazarbayev underscored the special importance they attach to the close and productive relationship between the United States and Kazakhstan. Deepening this partnership is key to promoting Kazakhstan's security, independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and democratic development, as well as the stability and economic prosperity of the region as a whole.

The two Presidents restated their strong commitment to the goals set forth in the Charter on Democratic Partnership Between the United States of America and the Republic of Kazakhstan, signed by the two Presidents in February 1994. Recognizing the growing economic and commercial ties between the two nations, the two Presidents expressed their strong support for the Action Program on Economic Partnership, signed in Washington, November 18, 1997, by President Nazarbayev and Vice President Gore, in their capacity as co-chairmen of the U.S.-Kazakhstan Joint Commission. Kazakhstan's commitment to accelerate reform, as outlined in the Action Program, will advance the development of a free market economy and underscores the great potential benefits of investment in the country's natural resources and industrial infrastructure. The United States is committed to support economic reform in Kazakhstan through a robust program of technical assistance and cooperation.

The two Presidents noted the important role played by U.S. commercial firms in Kazakhstan's economy since 1991. Extensive U.S. investment in the development and transport of Kazakhstan's energy resources has particularly contributed to the mutual goal of rapid energy development in the Caspian region.

Presidents Clinton and Nazarbayev agreed on the need to adopt a Caspian Sea legal regime that establishes a clear division of property rights based on the division of seabed resources. The construction of multiple pipeline routes to export hydrocarbons to world markets, including pipelines across the Caspian Sea, will advance economic development in Kazakhstan and promote regional stability and security.

The two Presidents agreed on the need to strengthen regional cooperation, including through the establishment of an east-west Eurasian transport corridor and stronger efforts to resolve the environmental crisis in the Aral Sea basin.

President Clinton welcomed Kazakhstan's efforts to integrate itself into the global economy and pledged continued U.S. support for Kazakhstani accession to the World Trade Organization, on commercial terms generally applied to new1y acceding members.

The two Presidents reviewed Kazakhstan's progress towards creating a society based on democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. President Clinton expressed strong support for the holding of free and fair parliamentary elections in 1999 and presidential elections in 2000, which will serve as a demonstration of Kazakhstan's commitment to democratic principles.

Presidents Clinton and Nazarbayev noted the positive evolution of defense cooperation between the United States and Kazakhstan, as well as the continuing progress in Kazakhstan's integration into emerging European security structures, including NATO's Partnership for Peace and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. The successful CENTRASBAT-97 peacekeeping exercise that took place in September 1997 is a concrete example of cooperation aimed at promoting regional stability. The two Presidents renewed their commitment to regional security cooperation, including enhanced bilateral military-to-military cooperation, as reflected in the Defense Cooperation and Military Contact Plans for 1998, signed during President Nazarbayev's visit.

The two Presidents praised the extensive U.S.-Kazakhstani cooperation on issues related to non-proliferation of nuclear and non-nuclear weapons. During President Nazarbayev's visit to Washington, agreements were signed on Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation, Defense Cooperation on Counter-Proliferation, and Long-term Disposition of Aktau BN-350 Nuclear Material, among other agreements.

President Clinton welcomed President Nazarbayev's firm commitment to prevent the transfer of technology and materials associated with weapons of mass destruction, and sophisticated military technologies, to countries that pose a threat to regional and global security. The United States and Kazakhstan agreed to establish a regular experts' dialogue on non-proliferation issues.

The two Presidents also discussed the serious threats posed by international terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and international criminal activity and committed their governments to expand cooperation in combating them.

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