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Kazakhstan is latest Central Asian state to sign defense accord with Israel

Special to WorldTribune.com

TEL AVIV — Israel has signed a defense cooperation agreement with a key state in Central Asia.

On Jan. 20, the defense ministers of Israel and Khazakhstan signed a cooperation accord in Tel Aviv.

Kazakh Defense Minister Adilbek Dzhaksbekov and Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon sign an agreement promoting defense trade and cooperation on Jan. 20.  /Israel Ministry of Defense

Kazakh Defense Minister Adilbek Dzhaksbekov and Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon sign an agreement promoting defense trade and cooperation on Jan. 20. /Israel Ministry of Defense

Officials said the agreement stipulated a framework for defense exports and military cooperation between the two Asian states.

“Israel is known worldwide for its capabilities,” Kazakh Defense Minister Adilbek Dzhaksbekov said. “I hope this visit will mark a milestone for strengthened defense cooperation between our countries.”

The signing marked the latest Israeli defense accord with a Central Asian country. In 2012, Israel signed a $1.6 billion arms export deal with Azerbaijan, which included unmanned aerial vehicles as well as air defense and surveillance systems.

Officials said Khazakhstan sought similar Israeli platforms as Azerbaijan. They cited Kazakh interest in Israeli UAVs, artillery, satellite communications and border security systems.

“We appreciate Khazakhstan, a country with a desire to strengthen cooperation with us,” Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who did not elaborate, said.

Israel and Khazakhstan have engaged in defense trade since 2000. In
2009, the Astana government was rocked by a corruption scandal that included
Israel’s Soltam Systems and which led to the dismissal of Khazakhstan’s
defense minister and other senior officials.

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