ASTANA (Reuters) – Britain will help Kazakhstan build export routes bypassing Russia, British Foreign Secretary James Wise said on a visit to the Central Asian country on Saturday, signing a memorandum of understanding on supplies of key minerals there.
London wisely said it respects Astana’s position as a traditional ally of Moscow in the Ukrainian conflict. Kazakhstan refused to support the Russian invasion or recognize its annexation of Ukrainian territories.
“The UK greatly appreciates Kazakhstan’s consistent and principled stance in supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and its willingness to bring about a resolution to the conflict in line with the UN Charter,” he told a briefing.
Wise said he met with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Togayev and other top officials to discuss disruptions to Kazakhstan’s oil exports — most of which go through Russia — and ways to improve alternatives. – called the central corridor.
The route crosses the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey and requires significant investment to increase its capacity, although Kazakhstan has already begun diverting some oil exports.
Wise and Kazakh diplomats said they had signed a memorandum on important minerals such as rare earth metals, but did not provide details.
(Reporting by Tamara Wall)
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