ABU DHABI // The UAE and Kazakhstan yesterday celebrated 20 years of diplomatic relations with the completion of a Dh92 million maternity hospital in the central Asian country.
In a seminar at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, the Kazakhstan ambassador to the UAE, Asker Musinov, said: "The construction of a US$25million maternity hospital by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa in Shymkent city is complete, along with the largest mosque in the southern Kazakhstan province."
The city is the third largest in the country, with a population of over 450,000.
"Since the independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan, our leadership intended to establish relations with countries that are close to us culturally and religiously. Therefore we approached ... the UAE," he said.
Mr Musinov emphasised that the Kazakh president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, viewed the UAE as one of its most important strategic partners in the region.
The deputy director of the Department of Asian Affairs, at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Salem Al Merri, echoed the Kazakh envoy's message of goodwill.
"It would be a blatant injustice to say that our relationship [has] lasted only 20 years," Mr Al Merri said. "The relationship between our nations has been since the dawn of Islam," he added.
Kazakhstan was described as a very important strategic partner for political coordination to the UAE in Asia and as one of the pillars of stability.