ASTANA, June 5 (Bernama) — Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak arrived here Sunday for a four-day official visit to Kazakhstan where he will also attend the 7th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in this capital city.
Najib, accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and several Cabinet ministers, was welcomed at the international airport here by Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, Malaysian ambassador to Kazakhstan Datuk Ahmad Rasidi Hazizi and Kazakhstan Minister of Communication and Information, Askar Kuanyshevich Zhumagaliev.
Najib’s visit, his first here as the Malaysian prime minister, is at the invitation of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Also accompanying Najib are International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed; Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil; Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha and Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor.
Kazakhstan ambassador to Kuala Lumpur Beibut B. Atamkulov, who is here, told Bernama that Najib’s visit was much-awaited by the leaders and people of Kazakhstan who had read and heard about him and had very high regard for Malaysia.
Atamkulov said Malaysia had been a model country for Kazakhstan, a land-locked Central Asian country with about 16 million people, since its independence from Soviet Union 20 years ago.
Anifah, meanwhile, told Malaysian journalists that Najib’s visit, including his presence and speech at the WIEF, provided a good opportunity for Malaysia to reinforce the close bilateral relations and promote meaningful cooperation and dialogue among the developing countries attending the WIEF.
Najib is scheduled to pay a courtesy call on President Nazarbayev and hold talks with his Kazakhstan counterpart Karim Massimov.
The leaders are expected to comment on the positive development of bilateral cooperation and to further reaffirm their commitment to expand cooperation on wide-ranging areas of mutual interest between the two countries.
Quoting trade figures, Anifah said that in 2010, Kazakhstan was Malaysia’s largest trading partner and also largest export destination and third largest source of imports in Central Asia.
Bilateral trade reached the highest level in 2010, up to US$107 million, a very significant increase of more than 300 per cent since 2009.
Malaysia’s exports to Kazakhstan amounted to US$106 million while imports from Kazakhstan amounted to US$760,000.
Kazakhstan, a Muslim-majority country situated along the Silk Road connecting the East and West, is the world’s ninth largest country, with an area of more than 2.9 million square kilometres.
Source : Bernama