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09.03.2006
Kazakh Historian Turned Deputy Minister After Stay in Israel
Sami Rozen, AIA Israeli section
Russian version

Kairat Abdrakhmanov  
Kairat Abdrakhmanov  
This week the Kazakh ambassador in Tel Aviv, Kairat Abdurakhmanov, will complete his term in Israel. He has held this post since April 2003. After his homecoming the former head of the diplomatic mission will occupy the post of Deputy Foreign Minister. According to diplomatic sources, he will supervise, most likely, one of the regional spheres of the Kazakh foreign policy department. It is yet unknown who will replace Abdurakhmanov in Tel Aviv, or when. Until the replacement arrives the work of the embassy will be overseen by Talgat Urekenov, an adviser, who previously supervised many issues, from inter-parliamentary connections up to cooperation in the sphere of culture and art.

Historian Transformed Into Ambassador

Kairat Abdurakhmanov was born in 1964 in the city of Zharkent located in Eastern Kazakhstan, near the border with China. He is not a diplomat by education, but a historian. In 1987 the future Deputy Foreign Minister graduated the history faculty of Kazakh State University. Then for six years he was engaged in teaching and research activity.
When Kazakhstan became independent, the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs started hiring new, young workers, free from the ideological stereotypes of the Soviet nomenclature, and in 1993 Abdurakhmanov was enlisted in the diplomatic service. During the next eight years he worked in the central offices of the Ministry. During this time, in addition to other posts, he was the deputy chief of the Department of Asian countries (1997), supervising the Department of Asia, Middle East and Africa (1997-98), and he also held the post of vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs (1999-2001).
In February 2001 already being a rather skilled diplomat, Abdurakhmanov was appointed as an adviser to the Kazakh embassy in London. A number of printed mass-media in the Kazakh republic noted that this assignment meant Abdurakhmanov's descent on the scale of ranks. As a rule, chiefs of departments and even more so, Deputy Ministers, received the title of ambassador. At the same time, for the last nine months of his stay in London, Abdurakhmanov was the Charge d'Affaires ad interim, actually operating the embassy. Simultaneously, he represented the interests of Kazakhstan in Northern Ireland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland. In April 2003 Abdurakhmanov was appointed as ambassador to Israel.

The Ambassador on Economic Issues

In his new position Kairat Abdurakhmanov paid prioritized attention to the development of bilateral economic relations. Seven months after his arrival in Israel, he spoke about his plans in an interview to the juhuro.com website: "It is necessary to apply much effort to expand the traditional frameworks of Kazakh-Israeli cooperation, to involve new projects, new spheres, new names from the ranks of well known businessmen. It would be desirable to pull the two states together even more, to develop actively joint business, to organize a stream of tourists in both directions". It is interesting to note that being asked if there are any people around him to whose advice he listens, the new ambassador answered: "I can name Lev Leviev, well known in Israel and elsewhere. Lev Leviev is the honorable consul of Kazakhstan and makes a huge contribution to the strengthening of mutual relations". During his stay in Israel, Abdurakhmanov several times rather closely cooperated with another Jewish businessman of Central Asian origin - Alexander Mashkevich. He enjoys special relations with the Kazakh President, patronizes the Jewish community of the republic and heads the Euro-Asian Jewish congress. By the way, in Kazakhstan, projects financed by Mashkevich and Leviev are competing with each other for influence in the Jewish community.
   
Nursultan Nazarbayev and Alexander Mashkevich  
Nursultan Nazarbayev and 
Alexander Mashkevich
 
Among Israeli state structure, the Kazakh ambassador has developed closest relations with the Ministry of industry and trade, headed by Ehud Olmert - nowadays the most probable candidate to win the post of Prime Minister. By the way it is not the only case of diplomats from the CIS countries finding common language with representatives of this Ministry much quicker, rather than with their Israeli colleagues. As an informed diplomatic source claims, special attention, which up to recent times Olmert was showing towards Central Asia and Eastern Europe, in many respects spoke of his connections with the big Israeli magnate, Beni Shtainitz. A considerable part of his commercial interests is connected with Central Asian and East European regions. Anyway, from the beginning of 2003 when Olmert headed the Ministry, it played a key role in the development of Israel's relations with the CIS countries, in particular in Central Asia.
Due to the support of Olmert's representatives and influential businessmen, and also his own activity, Abdurakhmanov has successfully coped with his task.
   
  The Isareli MFA head Tzipi Livni and Ehud Olmert (photo: Corbis)
  The Isareli MFA head Tzipi Livni and Ehud Olmert
If in the year prior to his assignment commodity circulation between Kazakhstan and Israel reached about $30 million dollars, in 2005 it exceeded a billion dollars ($1014 million). Not just casually, this entire period was marked by rather high activity in the sphere of bilateral economic contacts.
In November 2004 Israel was visited by the Minister of Industry and Trade of Kazakhstan, Adilbek Jaksybekov, who took part in the fourth session of the intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation. In March 2005 Astana was visited by a delegation of the "Israel - Kazakhstan" commercial and industrial, Chamber, led by its chairman, Michael Roe. A month later in the Kazakh capital the bilateral business - forum took place in which a number of influential Israeli businessmen, and also the general director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Israel, Raanan Dinur, participated. In September the cooperation agreement between the commercial and industrial chamber, "Israel - Kazakhstan" and the Western Kazakh technological park "Algorithm" was signed. The same month Israel was visited by a delegation of the Kazakh national Kazkosmos Company (specializing in the space sphere).
Since the end of last year, contacts directed toward the development of connections in the field of tourism became appreciably more vigorous, with the active participation of the Kazakh embassy in Tel Aviv. At the beginning a number of Israeli tour operators visited Kazakhstan where they carried out seminars for their local colleagues. Later Israel was visited by a large delegation of Kazakh travel agencies' representatives. Anna Azari, the head of the department of Eurasia in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs arrived in February 2006 to Astana. The main topic on the agenda of the negotiations that took place was the strengthening of economic cooperation, particularly in the sphere of tourism.
Thus, the new Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan finished his mission in Tel Aviv with quite concrete results. It is expected that his successor will continue along the same line of active promotion of Kazakh-Israeli economic cooperation.

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