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Kyrgyzstan - Kazakhstan: best frenemies

16/06/16 07:57, Bishkek – 24.kg news agency, by Tatyana KUDRYAVTSEVA

Relations between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan can hardly be called partner despite the both countries' accession into the Eurasian Economic Union. Recriminations, barriers and bans are the characteristic of the current relations between the states.

Will the neighbors manage to negotiate peacefully? Who is to blame for the difficulties, and where is the difference between the protection of own interests and fair reproaches? The correspondent of 24.kg news agency asked respondents the questions.

 Aiylchy Sarybaev, Doctor of economic sciences, Professor:

- Each state has its own economic policy. If the policy of two countries does not coincide, the sides begin to negotiate. The same applies to relations between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. You should not dramatize the outcome of the negotiations of the Prime Ministers, which took place in early June in Bishkek. Yes, there are no concrete decisions so far. However, negotiations should be continued. There are a lot of controversial issues in relations between the two countries. These problems will be solved. Perhaps, some of them will be removed in the framework of participation in EEU. The union was exactly created to cope with these issues, to unify the rules.

I think that the most controversial issue today (claims are voiced not only by Kazakhstan but also other countries of EEU) is the absence of veterinary diagnostics laboratories complying with the international standards in Kyrgyzstan. The process is, unfortunately, not worked out in our country. But we should not wait for momentary solutions. Even when two people marry, they need time to get used to each other. And there are the states. Let me add that it is not necessary to shift the blame for what is happening on the Kazakhstan or the other party. This is the wrong approach. Do not look for the guilty. We just need to be patient and work systematically to eliminate the existing shortcomings.

Azamat Attokurov, executive director of Institute of Management Consultants NGO:

 - The most acute problem today is the closing of borders. For example, the same potatoes. These are issues of participation of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Kazakhstan in the Eurasian Economic Union. In fact, today Kazakhstan applies non-tariff measures, restricting the import of Kyrgyz products by sanitary, phytosanitary standards, requirements for labeling, packaging. There are different reasons why our products do not reach the market.

Another acute problem is that Kazakhstan unilaterally and without warning closes the border. This makes it difficult for our citizens to enter (exit) the Republic of Kazakhstan. Also, there are difficulties in logistics. Transit cargos scarcely move through the territory of Kazakhstan. Do you remember the story when the cargo with petroleum products for Kyrgyzstan was arrested and detained at the border? The cars were in Kazakhstan for more than two months, and our oil traders suffered heavy losses.

- How the problems can be resolved?

- That's just it that everything is solved only through negotiations. There can not be force or other methods in this matter. But the problem is that their outcome is impossible to predict, because the solution of the problem lies in the political mainstream. If we are politically beneficial for Kazakhstan, if we do something to please them, they will open the border. If not - the complexities will continue.

Kubanychbek Idinov, economist:

 - The situation will calm down in any case. Relations between the two countries, in fact, are normal. The only thing is that Kazakhstan also protects its producers. For example, they did not pass potatoes, meat recently. As for meat, really, they're afraid of foot and mouth disease, anthrax - until we will build the laboratories. Frankly speaking, we have left out veterinary diagnostics for the years of independence. We did not train specialists, the youth did not enroll veterinary departments all that time. And many previous professionals are not in the country. The authorities "woke up" only when the country joined EEU. Without cattle identification and laboratories, we can not deliver the meat to other countries. Kazakhstan is right here when it demands compliance with the terms. We supply milk to Kazakhstan, but there is also a problem - such as brucellosis.

We enter a civilized level of trade between the states. Therefore, the Kyrgyz Republic is obliged to comply with all international standards in terms of products safety. We can not assume that Kazakhstan only wants to close the border and not let our goods in or to Russia. On the other hand, the Russian Federation gave us funds for the construction of laboratories. It is not known what they were spent on, but in the end there are only two of them - in Bishkek and Osh. It also greatly complicates the passage of our goods through the border. But disputes between the two countries will be resolved in any case. The work inside Kyrgyzstan will play an important role. The main thing is we have to wisely use the money allocated to the country and not to think about own pockets.

Ainura Chekirova, executive director of an analytical center:

 - It is difficult to predict the further development of relations between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, there are always "popping" any circumstances that are difficult to predict. But there are factors which allow supposing how the events will develop further on. Definitely, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are allies. We together are the members of various unions - both regional and international ones. Therefore, there are no reasons to talk about the serious conflict situations. There are jointly used logistics portals and resources. We transit through the border different products, so have to maintain friendly relations. Moreover, there is import of electricity from the Republic of Kazakhstan.

As for the prospects, our governments have to work on it is energy market. We import a substantial amount of electricity from Kazakhstan at a fairly high price so far. It would be possible to talk on the issue. Another problematic area is transit. Kyrgyzstan uses road transport corridors of Kazakhstan for export of its goods. This is our window to Russia and other countries. Entrepreneurs still face administrative barriers. The stated policy not always comes into step with actual practice. Nonetheless, the human factor can not influence the situation at the local level. In this regard, the heads of state need to ensure strict control and monitoring of how the stated policy is consistent with the behavior of structural units.

 Tolonbek Abdyrov, Candidate of economic sciences, Professor:

- Relations between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are normal, but when it comes to the economy, there are problems. The fact is that today there is an economic crisis in the world. Kazakhstan also faced with it that forces it to engage in the competition. Russian and Belarusian companies simply created problems for local businesses of Kazakhstan. And additional difficulties arose when Kyrgyzstan joined EEU. Cheap agricultural products in any case had to get into the market of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan's economy is already in a difficult situation, and here the Kyrgyz businessmen started delivering their goods. As a result, big problems became apparent in the Kazakh economy.

Today, Kazakhstan creates all sorts of barriers to protect its market. Such a situation would continue. And this relates not only Kyrgyzstan, but also the relationships between Kazakhstan and Russia, Belarus. They also have to protect and develop their business. We have to look at the current situation from this point of view. We should not think that Kazakhstan treats us badly. Or we treat it in a bad way. It is just because every country is trying to create an ideal environment for its business.

URL: http://eng.24.kg/perekrestok/180836-news24.html
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«When we ran in the elections, we said that would even get the moon and the sun from the sky ».
MP Kamchybek Joldoshbayev at a meeting of Parliament, February 2, 2017.

«What have you done besides sale of donkeys to China?».
Deputy Ryskeldi Mombekov to the head of State Inspectorate for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Safety Kalysbek Zhumakanov at a meeting of Parliament, February 1, 2017.

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