Last month, Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman made his third official visit to Kazakhstan, where he met with public and private officials over the course of two days.
Last month, Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman made his third official visit to Kazakhstan, where he met with public and private officials over the course of two days. The Deputy Secretary recalled President Nazarbayev's historic decision to voluntarily give up Kazakhstan's nuclear weapons, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The wisdom of that decision is evident in the two decades of growth and prosperity that Kazakhstan has subsequently enjoyed. In large measure that also reflects the successful development of Kazakhstan's oil resources, in partnership with major US-based international operators. Recent years have also witnessed Kazakhstan's emergence as a leading international supplier of uranium for the peaceful uses of atomic energy.
In Astana, the Deputy Secretary discussed energy issues with Prime Minister Karim Massimov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and New Technologies Asset Issekeshev, Minister of Foreign Affairs Erlan Idrissov, Minister of Oil and Gas Uzakbay Karabalin, then-Advisor to the President Erzhan Kazykhanov, Chairman of KazMunayGas Sauat Mynbayev, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Committee Mazhit Sharipov, Chairman of the Board of Kazatomprom Sergey Yashin, and others.
Later, the Deputy Secretary toured the recently-opened International Science and Technology Center at Nazarbayev University. During the tour, he had the opportunity to speak with a conference of visiting energy scientists from three DOE national laboratories -- Lawrence Berkley, Lawrence Livermore, and Argonne -- about their work on fusion energy and the value of their cooperation with colleagues in Kazakhstan. The Deputy Secretary affirmed the support of the Energy Department for this form of technical and scientific partnership.
Today Kazakhstan is continuing its nonproliferation efforts by minimizing its use of highly-enriched uranium, as President Nazarbayev pledged at the Nuclear Security Summit. The United States has been, and continues to be, a partner in this process, and the two nations have seen the relationship strengthen across a broad range of mutual interests. The United States and Kazakhstan also continue to strengthen their cooperation in international border security and law enforcement measures to deter, detect, and interdict illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive material.
The Energy Department looks forward to continuing its multi-faceted energy cooperation with Kazakhstan in the years to come.