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    MOSCOW APPRECIATES RUSSO-KAZAKH RELATIONS

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    MOSCOW, April 14 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian-Kazakh relations develop dynamically in all areas, said spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry Alexander Yakovenko, when he assessed bilateral relations in an interview with the Russian media in connection with the Year of Russia being held in Kazakhstan.

    "Active political contacts, above all at the highest level, and a large-scale economic co-operation in the key spheres - fuel and energy, transport, investments, development of mineral resources of the northern Caspian region - are being maintained. The two countries closely interact within the framework of the CIS, the Organisation of the Collective Security Treaty, the Eurasian Economic Community, the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation, in the creation of a Common Economic Environment," Mr. Yakovenko pointed out.

    Special attention in the Russo-Kazakh relations is being paid to the humanitarian sphere. According to him, more than four million Russian-speaking people live in Kazakhstan. "And it is important that they should not feel isolated from Russia, their historical homeland," Mr. Yakovenko stressed.

    The Year of Russia in Kazakhstan was solemnly opened by the presidents of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan in January 2004, during the official visit of Vladimir Putin to Astana. "Speaking at the opening ceremony, Vladimir Putin stressed that Russia values good-neighbourly relations with Kazakhstan, that Kazakhstan is a close friend, a key ally and a reliable business partner," the diplomat said.

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