Kazakh leader visits Ukraine, seeks mediator job

By bne IntelliNews December 23, 2014

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev paid an official visit to Ukraine just day before summits of Collective Security Treaty Organization and Eurasian Union in Moscow. Nazarbayev met in Kiev with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and offered his services as mediator in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. The statement corresponds with a declaration made by Nazarbayev in the evening, December 21 in an interview with leading Kazakh media outlets, when he declared his readiness to act as “an honest manager” in resolving conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Worth noting, Nazarbayev has been looking to play mediator role since March but his offer has not been accepted by Russia so far. By pursuing this strategy, Kazakh president hopes to manage to keep multi-vector foreign policy, despite tightening ties with Russia within the Eurasian Economic Union that will be launched on January 1, 2015.

During the visit, Nazarbayev made several statements and promises that were perceived by Ukrainian side as supporting gestures. He offered deliveries of Kazakh coal from Ekibastuz to Ukraine and resumption of works of Kazakh-Ukrainian economic cooperation commission. He also invited Poroshenko to Kazakhstan and offered holding Kazakh-Ukrainian business forum. Besides, cooperation in cosmic area by the two countries was discussed and a decision to launch cooperation in military-technical sphere was made, according to Poroshenko.

At the same time however, Nazarbayev made several statements that were clearly in line with Russian vision of relation with Ukraine. First, he noted that Minsk format is appropriate to have talks about Ukrainian crisis which in practice means talks between the Eurasian and European Unions, as Russia wishes.  

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