German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his counterpart from Kazakhstan, Beibut Atamkulov, met in Berlin on 20 August to discuss bilateral relations that including ways to strengthening ties between the two nations.
Maas indicated that Germany was ready to move to a new level of joint strategic cooperation with the new Kazakh government of President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev which would see the existing economic, security, and educational ties greatly enhanced through closer bilateral coordination that would come to fruition following the implementation of a new EU strategy for Central Asia.
Kazakhstan is Germany’s main partner in Central Asia with trade turnover in 2018 amounting to more than 85% (€4.6 billion) of Berlin’s total volume of trade operations with countries in the region.
In their discussions, Maas and Atamkulov covered issues related to security and ongoing operations in Afghanistan as well as a potential road map for economic and industrial cooperation in the fields of energy, engineering, renewables, tourism, transport, and agriculture.
Maas also took time to thank the Kazakh government for helping to support the more than 180,000 ethnic Germans – the overwhelming majority of whom are Volga Germans that were deported from central Russia to the then-Kazakh SSR by Joseph Stalin during World War II – who still reside in Kazakhstan.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Kazakh government has promoted the study of the German language and championed the continued integration of ethnic Volga Germans into society.