Diplomatica: Canadians To Travel To Kazakhstan Visa-Free; Serbia Back Canada’s UN Bid
Kazakh Ambassador Konstantin Zhigalov said his government decided to lift visa requirements for all Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development member states, which includes Canada, starting Jan. 1. Beginning that day, Canadians will be able to travel to Kazakhstan visa-free for up to 30 days.
This is an unprecedented measure aimed at making travel to our country easier for all OECD countries, the ambassador said. (Our) embassy had been working hard to get Canada on the list of visa-free countries because it makes it much easier for the citizens of Canada travelling to Kazakhstan for business, tourist, private and transit purposes.
Although it hasn’t happened yet, Zhigalov said he hopes the Canadian government will reciprocate and allow Kazakh citizens to travel visa-free to Canada.
The Kazakh embassy has been busy these days it has established a Kazakstan-Canada business council and a Canada-Kazakhstan Parliamentary Friendship Group.
From a business point of view, Kazakhstan is an important trading partner, with more than $7 billion in bilateral trade between 2012 and 2014, a volume that’s lessened in recent years because of lower commodity prices and overall market volatility. Yet even today, Kazakhstan is on Canada’s global market action plan.
The creation of the business council aims to reinvigorate trading activities, the ambassador said. It was officially launched earlier in 2016 with its inaugural meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital, attracting more than 130 participants, including 30 representatives from Canadian companies, government and non-profit organizations. Annual meetings, alternating between Canada and Kazakhstan, are planned although the 2017 meeting will again be held in Astana, because the city is hosting EXPO-2017 and will attract many of the Canadian members.
The parliamentary friendship group, meanwhile, held its inaugural meeting last month to review bilateral relations and identify new priorities. MP Robert Nault and Sen. James Cowan will co-chair the group.
We very much appreciate the commitment of Canadian parliamentarians to strengthening (our) partnership in the wake of the 25th anniversary of our diplomatic relations, Zhigalov said.
Finally, for the first time in its history, Kazakhstan joins the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member, beginning Jan. 1.
It is the first time not only for Kazakhstan, but for the entire Central Asian region, to have a voice in the world’s most powerful body, Zhigalov said.
SERBS SUPPORT CANADA’S UN BID
Call it a parting gift: After a visit from Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic to Ottawa, Serbia has decided to support Canada in its bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council in 2021.
After fruitful visits with many Canadian officials including Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum and Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion, Serbian Ambassador Mihailo Papazoglu reported that the two countries also discussed the details of an air services agreement signed in 1990, and said they hope to soon secure direct flights between Belgrade and Toronto.
Serbia also requested that Canada reciprocate the visa-free travel it extends to Canadians. Currently, Canada requires visas from visiting Serbs.
The ambassador noted that the Serbs and Canadians also celebrated the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations, which made it a fitting time to establish a Canada-Serbia Parliamentary Friendship Group, with 16 MPs and senators.
A EUROPEAN CHRISTMAS TRADITION
The ninth annual EU Christmas concert, presented by the delegation of the European Union and the diplomatic missions of the EU member states, takes place Friday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. at Notre Dame Cathedral on 385 Sussex Dr. It will feature European Christmas carols by four choirs, including the Ottawa Children’s Choir, Chorale Lyrica, Nepean High School Choirs and Incognito Choir. The concert will also feature mezzo-soprano Terri-Ann Wint and organist Timothy Piper.
Source: Embassy of Kazakhstan in Canada