he President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, paid an official visit to Finland on Wednesday, 17 October 2018. The President of the Republic of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, welcomed President Nazarbayev with an official ceremony held at the Presidential Palace.
Following the welcoming ceremony, President Niinistö and President Nazarbayev gathered for discussions, before conducting a wider working meeting. The discussions focused on bilateral relations between Finland and Kazakhstan and also covered a range of international issues. President Niinistö and President Nazarbayev have previously met on several occasions, most recently in summer 2017 in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.
“I have always placed great value on President Nazarbayev’s geopolitical views and his thoughts on the ways in which Kazakhstan and smaller nations like Finland can promote peace globally. Indeed, Astana has served as the venue for the Syrian peace process. Our discussions in Helsinki today have been an opportunity to exchange views and information. The talks have proved extremely productive, and I would like to extend my thanks to President Nazarbayev for that,” President Niinistö said at the joint press conference held by the presidents following the conclusion of the talks.
President Nazarbayev also met with numerous representatives of Finnish business during his visit. At their joint press conference, both presidents highlighted the importance of promoting closer economic relations between the two countries, alongside close political relations. “Kazakhstan enjoys a central position in central Asia and is Finland’s most important partner in this key region, both politically and economically. Kazakhstan has a rich concentration of natural resources, while Finland has technology and knowledge that could help to bring them together,” President Niinistö said.
Expertise in the field of education
Kazakhstan has also expressed an interest in Finnish expertise in the field of education and training. “Young people from Kazakhstan have visited Finland to study teaching, and we have also hosted visits by healthcare professionals. We are always delighted to share our experiences of how Finnish society has developed over time to become a global leader on stability and freedom,” President Niinistö commented. In his remarks, he also raised the ongoing initiative by the European Union and Central Asian states on strengthening the rule of law, highlighting Finland’s active participation in the programme.
During the visit, the delegations also concluded memoranda of understanding on aviation and on a strategic partnership on energy and the green economy.
Following the conclusion of formalities in the Presidential Palace, President Nazarbayev laid a wreath at Hietaniemi cemetery and paid a visit to Finnish technology corporation Nokia.
President Niinistö and President Nazarbayev last met in June 2017, when President Niinistö visited the Astana World Expo in Kazakhstan. The Presidents have also previously met during President Niinistö’s visits to Kazakhstan in 2015 and 2013. President Nazarbayev’s last visit to Finland took place in 2009, when the state visit was hosted by President Tarja Halonen.