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Kazakh President Meets Trump To Discuss Afghanistan, Russia

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev is scheduled to make a three-day visit to the United States starting January 16.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev is scheduled to make a three-day visit to the United States starting January 16.

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump welcomed Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev to the White House on January 16 for talks expected to focus on regional security, economic issues, and bilateral relations.

The White House said the two leaders will discuss "several international challenges," including Afghanistan, that are expected to affect Kazakhstan's term as president of the United Nations Security Council.

Kazakh state news agency Kazinform said Trump and Nazarbaev will also discuss relations with Russia and the war in Syria, along with trade issues, during their talks.

“The U.S. is a major trade and investment partner of Kazakhstan,” said Sanat Kushkumbaev, the deputy director of the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies, which advises the Kazakh president.

“From a political perspective, we cooperate on solutions and promotion of regional and global security. The meeting will focus on the situation in Afghanistan, the Syrian conflict, and relations with Russia,” Kazinform quoted Kushkumbaev as saying.

Afghanistan is likely to be high on the agenda during Kazakhstan’s Security Council presidency.

Kazakh Ambassador Kairat Umarov, who took over the rotating one-month presidency of the council on New Year’s Day, said on January 11 that council members are considering a visit to Afghanistan to get a better understanding of the war-torn country's prospects and needs.

"We think it's important for Security Council members to get the update of the situation from the ground," Umarov said.

He did not give any date for the visit, which he said would be the first to Afghanistan by the full council in seven years.

After a January 9 meeting with U.S. Ambassador George Krol in Astana, the Kazakh president said he was seeking to build on the "amicable relationship" the two countries have established in the past 26 years.

He said he hoped to further cooperate with Washington in the fight against terrorism and in strengthening nuclear nonproliferation and expanding trade and investment, news agencies reported.

"About 500 companies with U.S. participation are working in Kazakhstan, and more than 140 of them are joint ventures. They are manufacturing goods and exporting their products to other countries," he said ahead of his three-day trip to the United States.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, and Interfax