| 4 March 2024, Monday |

Saudi Arabia, Kyrgyzstan to Sign 30 Cooperation Agreements During President’s Visit to Riyadh

The upcoming visit of Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov to Saudi Arabia will witness the signing of 30 new draft agreements and 23 international treaties and deals to enhance comprehensive cooperation with Saudi Arabia.


The third meeting of the Kyrgyz-Saudi Joint Intergovernmental Committee on high-level cooperation is scheduled to be held during the summer of 2022.


Kyrgyzstan Ambassador to the Kingdom Ulukbek Maripov told Asharq Al-Awsat that coordination is underway with the Saudi Foreign Ministry to prepare for the President’s first official visit to Saudi Arabia between August and September.


“The visit will boost the Kyrgyz-Saudi relations,” said Maripov.


In March, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan visited Kyrgyzstan, where he held talks with Japarov and Prime Minister Akylbek Japarov.


Kyrgyzstan’s Foreign Minister Ruslan Kazakbaev is scheduled to visit the Kingdom in June, announced the ambassador.


Maripov said 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Kyrgyz-Saudi diplomatic relations.


In 2007, his country established its embassy in Riyadh, which paved the way for developing relations, remarked the diplomat, indicating that a general cooperation agreement was signed on January 8, 2014.


He stressed his country’s intention to develop consistent cooperation with the Kingdom in the political, parliamentary, trade, economic, investment, cultural and humanitarian fields.


Political cooperation between the two sides is characterized by agreement on various issues amid mutual readiness to upgrade relations to a strategic partnership.


It also includes multilateral cooperation within the framework of international financial organizations and institutions, such as the UN, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and the Saudi Development Fund (SDF).


Maripov acknowledged that there are significant untapped potentials between their countries in trade, industry, agriculture, investment, joint ventures, energy, green economy, health care, education, and tourism.


He noted that the volume of trade exchange between the two countries is small, but there is an opportunity to increase it.


Trade exchange in 2021 reached more than $500,000, while it was about $4 million before the coronavirus pandemic.


The first Saudi-Kyrgyz business forum was held in Riyadh in February to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the two countries.


The two sides also signed agreements, Maripov said, announcing that another business forum will be held this summer in Kyrgyzstan along with the business council of both countries.


The ambassador indicated that tourism boosts trade relations, noting that Arab tourists regularly visit Kyrgyzstan.


A visa-waiver system has been established, with 8,000 Saudi tourists visiting Kyrgyzstan annually.


Maripov pointed out that direct charter flights between the two countries began in February.


Separately, President Japarov announced earlier this month the signing of an agreement between the Kyrgyz government and Canada’s Centerra Gold to resolve disputes over the management of the gold mining company.


According to the document, the Kyrgyz government wholly owns the Kumtor gold mine.


Maripov stated that Kumtor is valued at $3 billion and can generate revenues amounting to $5 billion in the next decade, based on experts’ estimates.


He concluded that between 160 and 200 tons of gold would be extracted from the mine, benefiting and supporting the country’s budget.


Regarding the impact of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis on his country’s economy, Maripov said Kyrgyzstan is following with concern the developments in Ukraine.


Maripov explained that Moscow is his country’s largest trade and economic partner, which means that Kyrgyzstan has been affected by the sanctions against Russia and many regional countries have already started to suffer.


The diplomat indicated that Kyrgyzstan is concerned about its food and energy security, while fluctuations in food prices have already been observed, noting that it is still unknown how the costs of energy supplies will change.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat