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22 May, 2008 14:09

Medvedev cements Kazakhstan links

President Dmitry Medvedev has re-affirmed Russia's relationship with Kazakhstan by signing a co-operation deal with its President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Medvedev signed the statement during his first trip abroad as president.

Over the years ex-President Putin has had a very warm relationship with President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Dmitry Medvedev is set to keep up the friendship.

“The level of friendly relationships between our two states is very high. Our relationships are of a very special and confidential kind. They are also time-proved. That’s why I decided to make my first visit as a President to the friendly neighboring country of Kazakhstan,” Medvedev noted.

Kazakhstan's President said he was please Medvedev's first trip abroad as president was to his country.

“We regard this as a confirmation of high level political and economic relations between out two countries,” President Nazarbayev said.

At the talks trade became the hardest issue. Russia is a key trading partner for Central Asia's biggest oil producer.

And renewed partnership in energy, space and military spheres gives the two countries long standing friendship a new twist. In 2007 the two countries trade turnover reached $US 16.5 billions. Russia and Kazakhstan share a 7,000-kilometre-long border, which is also a boost.

The two leaders also focused on co-operation in the hi-tech sphere and space exploration. Russia rents the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for its space projects. The countries intend to continue partnership in this area.

“We regard the implementation of major infrastructure projects like the construction of the Caspian gas pipeline or boosting the Central Asia pipeline as our strategic task. We have agreed to closely monitor our progress in this matter,” Medvedev said.

The Russian and Kazakhstan presidents also said that one of the most promising projects is creating a joint company on civil atomic energy, as well as building an atomic energy plant in Kazakhstan with Russia’s help.

China is the next stop in Medvedev’s Asian tour.