23 May 2018 14:43

Shoigu, Nazarbayev discuss C. Asian stability

ASTANA. May 23 (Interfax) - Russia wants to broaden its military and military-technical cooperation with Kazakhstan, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a meeting with Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

"Russia highly appreciates your efforts. You are a very experienced leader who is really aware of the whole complexity of the situation and existing threats. Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed me to meet with you to discuss the current processes in the region and our joint measures to maintain stability in it," Shoigu said.

Kazakhstan is Russia's strategic ally, he said. "We are interested in expanding any form of military and military-technical cooperation," Shoigu said.

"Our relationship has been successful and effective, both bilaterally and within integrated entities. The past years have seen a serious boost to the bilateral defense relations: the joint regional air defense system of Russia and Kazakhstan is improving, the number of joint military drills has risen, the supply of Russian weapons to Kazakhstan on preferential terms continues, over 700 of your troops are training at Russia's best military academies for free," Shoigu said.

"An important aspect is to agree on possible bilateral actions in response to security threats in the Central Asian region," he said. "Much work is being done and it will certainly continue," Shoigu said.

On Wednesday he and Nazarbayev, along with the defense ministers from the other Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) states, attended the opening of the KADEX 2018 defense technology exhibition in Astana. The ministers held a meeting with Nazarbayev, who then met with Shoigu separately.

The two discussed pressing issues concerning defense cooperation and their coordination within the CSTO, "noting the significance of holding the KADEX 2018 international exhibition and pointing to its efficiency as a boost for inter-state relations in the defense-industrial sphere of the two countries," the Kazakh president's press office said.