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 January 12: “Kazakhstan, Europe’s future?” That is the question journalists of the French magazine L’Essentiel des Relations Internationales ask in their January-February issue dedicated to Kazakhstan’s chairmanship in the OSCE. As one reads through the issue, one might as well conclude that the future is now.

“Europeans in general and the French in particular, have long been incapable of locating Kazakhstan on a world map.

They might just about hazard that the largest country in Central Asia hangs rather like love handles beneath formerly Tsarist - and then Soviet - Russia. But several reciprocal visits by Presidents Nursultan Nazarbayev and Nicolas Sarkozy have shed new light on the biggest country in the Eurasian region. With its 16 million inhabitants, a territory which is almost as large as the European Union, a subsoil brimming with raw materials, a philosophy of interethnic tolerance which is remarkable for the region, cordial relations with all its neighbors and a people who offer a warm and culturally diverse welcome, Kazakhstan has become a major centre of interest for all European countries.

And indeed in 2010 could well be the year of Kazakhstan. The country is going to be heading up the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the first country in Eurasia and the former Soviet Union to have this honour. This model state, a masterwork created by its president, who has been in power for almost twenty years, ought to give Europeans food for thought when it comes to the resolution of certain conflicts.”

This is the lead to 100 pages of report devoted to Kazakhstan, a country that bridges the East and the West.

The reporters visited Kazakhstan on the eve of its OSCE chairmanship and met political figures and experts.

They interviewed President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Prime Minister Karim Masimov, Secretary of State - Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev, Chairman of the Constitutional Council Igor Rogov, Minister of Economy and Budget Planning Bakhyt Sultanov, Minister of Transport and Communications Abelgazi Kusainova, Minister of Labour and Social Protection and Chairwoman of the National Commission on Gender and Family Policies Gulshara Abdykalikova, Chairman of the National Bank Grigory Marchenko, and many others.

The unique experience of inter-ethnic harmony in the country and its contribution to dialogue between civilizations have been explained in an article by Chairman of the Senate Kassym-Zhomart Tokaev and in an interview with Deputy Chairman of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan Eraly Tugzhanov.

Besides Kazakhstan’s politicians and public figures, journalists talked to French Senator Emery de Montesquieu, chairman of the Franco-Kazakhstan Interparliamentary Friendship Committee Thierry Mariani, State Secretary, Ministry of Trade of France Anne-Marie Idrak, and others.

The circulation of the journal is 100,000. Its audience includes political and economic leadership in France and other European countries.


(For full coverage please visit www.essentiel-int.com)

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