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German Chancellor Schroeder visits Kazakhstan

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder arrived in Kazakhstan on 4 December for a two-day visit, accompanied by 150 businessmen, officials, parliamentarians, and journalists. The main emphasis of Schroeder's visit is on expanding economic ties between the two countries: Schroeder told a news conference in Astana after his talk with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev that the two sides intend to double the volume of trade between them in the next two years, RIA-Novosti, khabar.kz, and other Kazakh, Russian, and German media reported on 4-5 December.

Schroeder said that Germany is particularly interested in Kazakhstan's natural resources, adding that the telecommunications sphere could also be attractive for German businesses; Nazarbaev asked for German participation in developing the hydrocarbon reserves of the Caspian.

"Nezavisimaya gazeta" noted on 5 December that the level of German investment in Kazakhstan has been considerably lower than that of other countries including the United States, Great Britain, and Italy, though Nazarbaev characterized Germany as one of Kazakhstan's main trading partners in Europe.

Six statements of intent were signed on 4 December between the Kazakh and German sides on training of business managers, financing of technical imports, and establishment of a Kazakh-German University in Almaty.

(RFE/RL 05.xii.03)

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