Kazakhstan’s deputy Foreign Minister, Yerzhan Ashikbayev, on Saturday ended a three day visit to Cuba during which he proposed a waiver of visas between the two countries.

As reported by the Kazakh Foreign Ministry, Ashikbayev met with Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez and deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra to discuss “a wide range of cooperation issues in the bilateral format and within the UN and other international organizations.”

“The sides expressed satisfaction with the strengthening of political dialogue,” the statement said, “and noted the consistent expansion of a legal framework for cooperation, as evidenced by the signing this year of bilateral agreements in education and sports.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra
Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra

The two countries have observed an economic cooperation agreement since March 2009 and a travel agreement since 2005.

“Particular attention was paid to the need to expand trade and economic and investment partnership,” the statement continued. “To further strengthen economic and trade ties, the parties agreed on the preparation of bilateral agreements on the promotion and reciprocal protection of investments and avoidance of double taxation.”

Ashikbayev and Sierra “called for further liberalization of the visa regime between the Republic of Kazakhstan and Cuba, which will contribute to the expansion of contacts between the business communities of the two countries and increase the tourist exchange.”

According to the 2005 agreement on travel, travelers must secure a 30-day visa when entering either country. A waiver of the visa requirement would need to be signed by both Foreign Ministries, a formality that appears to be in the making.

Late last month, on May 30, Kazakhstan and Argentina signed a visa-waiver agreement in the Kazakh capital, Astana. Foreign minister Héctor Timmerman signed for Argentina; his counterpart, Erlan Idrissov, signed for Kazakhstan.

A statement issued at that time said that “the Kazakh Foreign Ministry will continue to work actively to establish a visa-free regime with the countries of the world, in particular with other Latin American countries.” Last year, Chile and Kazakhstan signed an agreement on visa-free travel for the official delegations of the two countries.

And on June 1, the Kazakh ambassador to Canada, Konstantin Zhigalov, attended the inauguration of Salvadoran President Salvador Sánchez Cerén and met with Salvadoran Foreign Minister, Hugo Martínez, to discuss bilateral cooperation.

During his visit to Cuba, Ashikbayev met with the deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, Ileana Nuñez Mordoche, to discuss bilateral cooperation in the energy sector. Invitations were exchanged to participate in the trade fairs held yearly in Astana and Havana.

[Photo above of Kazakhstan Deputy Foreign Minister Yerzhan Ashikbayev.]

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