Libmonster ID: UK-1493


Candidate of Historical Sciences

Abylai Khan Kazakh University of International Relations and World Languages (Alma-Ata)

Keywords: Kazakhstan, Middle East, Egypt, foreign policy

The Middle East region plays a special role in the system of international relations, occupies an important place in the foreign policy interests of the Republic of Kazakhstan (ROK) and is one of the vectors of the country's foreign policy due to its geopolitical significance, economic potential, and close historical and cultural ties with the peoples of the region.

The importance of the Middle East is reinforced by its unique geostrategic advantage and its vast human and natural resources. These factors determine the steady desire of many states of the modern world to increase large-scale cooperation with this region.

One of the most important factors determining the structure of developing countries in the region is oil. According to the Chairman of the Senate of the Republic of Kazakhstan K. Tokayev, the countries of the Middle East serve as confirmation that the role of a raw material appendage of the West, involved in the virtually neocolonial division of labor, even if rich, is not the most enviable role. The second Kuwait can be as rich as it is dependent.1

The peculiarities of Kazakhstan's foreign policy in the Middle East are related to the parallel development of Kazakhstan's relations with the Arab world and Israel. Building relations with the countries of the Middle East, Kazakhstan is objectively involved in a very complex and sensitive issue of the "big politics" of the Middle East settlement, but, first of all, in the development of relations with Israel, with Arab countries, and with their partners, but at the same time, in fact, with their political opponents in the conflict settlement process.

For this reason, all foreign policy actions in Kazakhstan are carefully weighed and conducted taking into account the interests of the parties involved in the conflict. Kazakhstan supports the previously adopted resolutions of the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly on the Middle East settlement. As you know, it is acceptable for the international community to preserve the Israeli state and establish a Palestinian State, as well as to establish a stable peace in the Middle East.

In the first half of the 1990s, relations did not differ in the intensity of contacts. In general, the passivity of states in relation to Kazakhstan was characteristic (with the exception of Egypt). The first meetings and contacts were mostly purely protocol-based. Therefore, the work of Kazakhstan's diplomacy was to transfer relations to the level of political dialogue on topical international issues, discussion of economic problems, and possible projects.

Despite the difficulties and problems, Kazakhstan has gradually become an object of foreign policy interests of a number of countries in the region and is gradually becoming a subject of foreign policy actions in the Arab East.

The sequence and form of establishing diplomatic relations of the Republic of Kazakhstan are as follows: the Arab Republic of Egypt (March 1992), Libya (March 1992), Palestine (April 1992, exchange of notes), Israel (September 1992), Tunisia (November 1992) , the State of Kuwait (January 1993, exchange of notes). In the summer of 2001, credentials were presented to the heads of the Maghreb states, where consulates began to open.


Among the group of countries with which Kazakhstan has developed stable relations in the region is the Arab Republic of Egypt (ARE). Egypt is one of the most influential countries in the Arab East, and was the first country to support Kazakhstan's entry into the world community and the OIC.

The history of relations between Kazakhstan and Egypt goes back to

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deep past. It is associated with the name of Sultan Beybars, a famous son of the Kazakh steppes and an outstanding ruler of Egypt and Syria in the XIII century. During his visit to Egypt in 2006 the President of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbayev said: "One of the historical ties that bind our peoples is the activity of Sultan Baybars. Kazakhstan takes part in restoration of Sultan Beibars Mosque (in Cairo)"2. In this regard, the republic adopted the Law "On ratification of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt on cooperation in the restoration of the Sultan Baybars Mosque in Cairo", signed on October 28, 2007, and allocated $4.5 million on a non-refundable basis. 3

As the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Egypt Berik Aryn noted, " the memory of Baybars, whose reign was one of the brightest periods in the development of the Mysyr state, is treated with great respect in the Republic of Egypt. The name of the Sultan predetermined the special attitude of the Egyptians towards our republic. Egypt was one of the first countries to recognize Kazakhstan's independence..."4.

In turn, the Egyptians did not remain in debt. Even earlier, during the first official visit of N. Nazarbayev to Egypt in 1993, agreements were reached on the opening of the Kazakh-Egyptian Islamic higher educational institution - the Egyptian University of Islamic Culture "Nur-Mubarak"in Almaty. The cost of its construction was borne by the Egyptian side, allocating about $15 million for this purpose as a gift to the Republic of Kazakhstan. On May 16, 1993, President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Egyptian Minister of Waqfs Mohammed Al-Mahjoub laid the foundation stone of the future university campus in a solemn ceremony. In 2000, the first part of the complex was completed, and the university accepted its first students.

Nur-Mubarak University has been operating under the agreement between the Governments of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Egypt, signed in 2001, and trains certified imams, religious scholars, and Arabic philologists. In the period 2004-2011, 262 students graduated with a degree in Islamic Studies. Of these, 163, or 62.2%, became imams, and 37 graduates (14.1%) became teachers of 9 madrasas of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Kazakhstan. 6

After the overthrow of H. Mubarak in 2011, the educational institution received a different name-the Kazakh-Egyptian Islamic University "Nur" 7.

As a result of the first official visit of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, N. Nazarbayev's visit to Egypt in 1993 was marked by the signing of a number of fundamental agreements. Among them is the basic "Agreement on the basis of relations and cooperation between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Arab Republic of Egypt". The preamble sets out the commitment to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, the closeness between the peoples of our countries in the field of culture, history and traditions, which gives grounds for further development of relations in the field of politics, economy, culture and trade. The agreement includes 11 articles covering various aspects of cooperation between the two countries8.

The parties also signed a trade agreement, an agreement on the promotion and mutual protection of Investments, an Agreement on information cooperation, a Protocol on consultations between the Foreign Ministries of the two countries, a Protocol on cooperation between the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Waqfs of Egypt.

These documents became the basis for the development of Kazakh-Egyptian cultural and humanitarian ties. Subsequently, Agreements were signed on cooperation in the field of tourism; on cooperation between the Ministry of Youth Affairs, Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports of the Republic of Azerbaijan. This contributed to the active development of tourism, organization of exhibitions of goods of Egyptian companies in Kazakhstan, holding Days of Culture of Kazakhstan in AR.

Contacts in the humanitarian, cultural and educational spheres have become much more successful between the two countries. The visit to Kazakhstan in 1992 of the Minister of Education of the Republic of Egypt, Hussein Kamal Baha Ed-Din, prepared the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Ministries of Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Egypt. The agreement opened up a wide opportunity for students, interns, postgraduates and researchers to study in educational institutions and research centers in Egypt, and at the expense of the Egyptian side.

In the cultural and humanitarian sphere, great assistance was provided to Kazakhstan through the Egyptian Fund for Technical Assistance to the CIS countries under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Egypt. In 1994 alone, more than 80 Kazakhstani specialists were trained in various fields in Egypt, for which the Fund spent more than $500 thousand. 9

Employees of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Construction, Housing and Development of Territories, employees of the State Committee for Privatization, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, bank employees, etc. were sent for internships in the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Trade and economic relations are recognized as a priority, but the geographical remoteness of the markets of our countries and the problems of transport communications objectively hinder the development of effective trade exchange. The volume of trade turnover between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Azerbaijan also does not reflect the potential capabilities of the two states. At the same time, direct flights between Almaty and Cairo have been opened today.

Recent events in Egypt related to the removal of Hosni Mubarak from power, and then

page 62

The ongoing escalation of the situation around Syria by ISIL extremists and, in general, in the Middle East, force Kazakhstan's foreign policy in this region to adjust its goals in a new way.

Despite the changed situation in the Middle East, Kazakhstan and Egypt continue to discuss a wide range of issues related to the development of bilateral cooperation in the new geopolitical realities, including in the context of the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). Today, there is a reliable and constructive partnership between the two countries, which focuses on further development of relations in the fields of economy, trade and investment, energy, agriculture, etc.

An important event in the further development of bilateral relations between Kazakhstan and Egypt was the visit of the new head of the Egyptian state A. F. al-Sisi to Kazakhstan in February 2016. The President of the Republic of Egypt highly appreciated the level of bilateral relations between the two countries: "We appreciate the support provided by Kazakhstan in a difficult period for our country. And the purpose of my visit is to further strengthen the close ties between our countries in all areas. " 10

For his part, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, N. Nazarbayev noted that Kazakhstan considers Egypt as a reliable and constructive partner on the African continent, in the Middle East region and in the Arab world and attaches great importance to the development of mutually beneficial relations between countries and peoples. Kazakhstan supports the activation of the work of the Kazakh-Egyptian Business Council by updating its composition, including businessmen who have a real interest and opportunities to work with partners in another country11.

Also, the development of trade and economic relations is influenced by increasing the efficiency of the Kazakh-Egyptian Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, cultural, humanitarian, scientific and technical cooperation. According to experts, the Egyptian side is already discussing the prospects of cooperation between its country and the EAEU on free trade. In this regard, N. Nazarbayev said: "We support the desire of Cairo to create a free trade zone with the Eurasian Economic Union. Kazakhstan and Egypt are also important for the Silk Road Economic Belt project proposed by China. The potential of our countries creates new opportunities for effective work in this direction " 12.

During the talks, the two presidents discussed a number of important issues related to strengthening cooperation in the field of security and defense. The following sectors of the economy were identified as promising: agriculture, pharmaceuticals, tourism, infrastructure development, production of textiles, furniture and building materials.

The President of Kazakhstan drew attention to the need to establish long - term ties in the agricultural sector: "Egypt is the country that buys grain the most, and we are the country that exports it the most. Kazakhstan is one of the world's leading grain exporters. In 2006-2010. Kazakhstan supplied Egypt with one million tons of grain each. We will continue to develop this area"13.

Within the framework of the agreements reached between the two countries, the first steps have already been taken to strengthen cooperation in the pharmaceutical sector. Minister of Health and Social Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan T. Duissenova held a meeting with the Ambassador of the Republic of Egypt to Kazakhstan H. K. Ibrahim. The parties discussed promising areas of cooperation in the field of healthcare. The press service of the Ministry reported that "during the meeting, issues of supplying medicines and medical equipment from Egypt to Kazakhstan, establishing a system of exchange of experience between Kazakh and Egyptian specialists were also considered" 14.

According to the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan, about 40 medicines and 30 medical devices from Egypt are registered in Kazakhstan. The Kazakh side offered the Egyptians to open a joint venture for the production of medicines in Kazakhstan 15.

One of the most promising and important areas of cooperation between the two countries is in the field of peaceful nuclear energy. This was noted by N. Nazarbayev in a joint press statement with the President of Egypt A. F. al-Sisi.: "In accordance with the plans to create a low-enriched uranium bank in our country and a nuclear power plant in Egypt, we have started negotiations to establish cooperation in this direction... The IAEA Low-enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank is one of the mechanisms for ensuring guaranteed supplies of nuclear fuel to different countries in the event of a violation of the existing mechanisms for these supplies. The bank will be located on the territory of the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Ust-Kamenogorsk, in the north-east of Kazakhstan. The bank will store LEU enriched to 4.95% uranium-235. This amount will be sufficient for the production of nuclear fuel for a single full loading into the core of a standard light water power reactor " 16.

Kazakhstan expressed its readiness to assist Egypt in supplying nuclear fuel for the first Egyptian nuclear power plant (in the ad-Dabaa area on the Mediterranean Sea), which is being built in accordance with the Russian-Egyptian intergovernmental Agreement on cooperation in its construction signed in Cairo on November 19, 2015.

In addition to these priority areas of cooperation, investment in the construction of resorts on the coast of Kas was considered.-

page 63

construction of a poultry farm in Almaty region, expansion of cooperation in the space sector.

During the meeting, the two presidents discussed the issue of joining efforts against the spread of Islamophobia, the association of Islam with terrorism and jihad, close cooperation in the fight against terrorism and extremism, and other types of crimes. In this context, the Kazakh side proposed to use the platform of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions as an event aimed at preserving the unity of Muslim states, demonstrating tolerance and peace-loving religion.

Before leaving, the Egyptian President in an interview with the media noted 4 main areas of cooperation with Kazakhstan-trade, agriculture, tourism and education. And added: "This does not mean that we do not intend to develop cooperation with Kazakhstan in other sectors. Our countries have a lot in common. Especially, I am sure that the cooperation of our countries in the fight against terrorism will become a global example of spiritual harmony in the Islamic world. " 17

Thus, the first official visit of the new Egyptian President al-Sisi to Astana gave a positive impetus to further cooperation between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Arab Republic of Egypt, and today we can talk about a new stage in the development of relations between both states.

1 See: Tokayev K. K. Diplomacy of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Astana, El Orda. 2001.

2 Egypt supports Kazakhstan-http://


Арын Берик. 4 From Baybars to the present day -

5 Archive of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. F. 75-n, op. 1, d. 3438, l. 5.


7 Egyptian University of Islamic Culture "Nur-Mubarak" changed its name to Kazakh-Egyptian Islamic University "Nur" -

8 Archive of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.., 517, l. 4-7.

9 Ibid., d. 2715, l. 110.

10 What Kazakhstan and Egypt agreed on -

11 Ibid.

12 Ibid.

13 Ibid.

14 Kazakhstan and Egypt discuss cooperation in healthcare -

15 What Kazakhstan and Egypt agreed on...

16 Nazarbayev: Kazakhstan and Egypt start nuclear peace talks -

17 Nursultan Nazarbayev: Kazakhstan and Egypt to unite in fight against Islamophobia -


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