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Astana, December 20: In the 19 years of its independence, Kazakhstan has accomplished many tasks, including the organisation of the OSCE summit and achieving stable economic growth. At the December 15 commemorative gathering and concert dedicated to the Independence Day, President Nursultan Nazarbayev congratulated the people of Kazakhstan on these achievements.

In his address, Nazarbayev said that every year of independence can be viewed as a whole epoch in the history of a new Kazakhstan. The 19th year of independence has truly turned into such year as the country hosted the OSCE summit, the first in the twenty-first century, which has brought together all the OSCE countries.

“We have realised our action plan under the OSCE chairmanship. For the first time, the Eurasian vector of the OSCE was designated, which makes the security across Eurasia more robust,” Nazarbayev said at the December 15 event.

“Independence is about economic viability, first and foremost… Kazakhstan today is gaining confident growth,” the Kazakh leader continued.

Over the first nine months of 2010, the GDP grew by 7.5 percent and the industrial production rose by 10.5 percent. About a hundred new businesses began operating. Since 2000, GDP per capita grew more than seven times and has exceeded US $ 8 000. Moreover, since 2000, Kazakhstan’s economy attracted about US $ 110 billion in foreign direct investments, according to the President.

“In this decade, pension benefits increased by more than six times. The housing fund in Kazakhstan increased by 30 million square metres. A total of 330,000 families in Kazakhstan acquired new apartments. The average monthly salary increased 5.5 times.”

Last year, Kazakhstan ranked 50th in the global rating in terms of the level of population’s welfare, according to Nazarbayev: “In ten years, education and health care spending has increased more than eightfold. More than 700 schools and about 450 health facilities were built.” Over the period, the birth rate in Kazakhstan grew 1.5 times, while the speed of the population growth increased threefold.

The creation of a developed state requires 40-50 years, the President said. Kazakhstan has passed the difficult half of its way to prosperity. All the vital decisions, including the decision to switch to a market economy and a nuclear free status, transfer the capital to Astana, adopt the long term development strategy Kazakhstan-2030, establish the National Fund and the Customs Union, as well as host the OSCE summit, were not easy to make.

“Now the verdict of history is obvious—they were the right decisions to make for the benefit of Kazakhstan. They have united the nation. They have taught us to boldly tackle the most difficult tasks, notwithstanding the difficulties and obstacles.”

In conclusion, Nazarbayev said Kazakhstan has passed “the critical decade of the twenty-first century.”

“We have found our path that turned us into a united and strong modern nation. This is the main result of the 19 years of our Independence,” President underscored.

On their Independence Day, the people of Kazakhstan received congratulations from foreign leaders.

In his message, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev said: “Kazakhstan leadership’s consistent guidance on effective use of national resources for the benefit of citizens, responsible and proactive policy on the international scene has earned the country the high prestige worldwide. A clear evidence of this was the OSCE summit held in Astana…”

“I congratulate you and the people of Kazakhstan on the occasion of your Independence Day,” said the letter from U.S. President Barak Obama to President Nazarbayev. “The United States highly values its bilateral relationship with Kazakhstan. Our countries’ strong relations demonstrate our shared and enduring commitment to expand and deepen our cooperation across a wide range of activities starting from international peace and security to non-proliferation.”

Chairman of the People’s Republic of China, Hu Jintao, wrote: “Over the past 19 years, under your leadership, the Government and the people of Kazakhstan have made great strides in proteting the country’s independence and sovereignty, promoting socio-economic development, improving people’s lives, and expanding foreign relations.”

In his message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “With your support, we can respond to the modern day threats and build a more prosperous, equitable, and sustainable world for all.”

Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Japan©2010