Erlan Idrissov

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Photo of Minister Idrissov and US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on a 2013 visit to Washington, DC
Idrissov speaking to the National Press Club in 2011

Erlan Abilfayizuly Idrissov (Kazakh: Ерлан Әбілфайызұлы Ыдырысов; born April 28, 1959, in Karkaralinsk, Karaganda oblast, Kazakhstan)[1] is the current Foreign Minister of Republic of Kazakhstan. He previously served as Foreign Minister in the Government of Kazakhstan from 1999−2002.[2]

In June 2002 his Foreign Ministership ended. He became the Kazakh ambassador to the United Kingdom.[1] After serving in London, Idrissov assumed the role of Ambassador to the United States in July 2007. The Ambassador has been quoted in the past as being opposed to the film Borat, but has seemed to take a softer approach to the film more recently.[3]

In September 2012, Idrissov was appointed Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan after serving as the Ambassador to the United States until October 2012.[4]

The appointment is widely viewed by western analysts as a sign of Nazarbayev’s intent to maintain strong relations with the west. As Foreign Minister, Idrissov has sought to improve relations with states in the South and Central Asia region. During a March 2013 visit to Tajikistan, Idrissov met with President Emomali Rahmon and Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi and signed a “Program of Cooperation” that reaffirmed bilateral commitment to cooperation in the areas of energy, migration, political and water issues. Idrissov chaired the February and April meetings in Almaty of the P5+1 talks with Iran over the country’s nuclear program, embodying Kazakhstan’s multi-vector foreign policy and desire to act as a mediator in regional disputes, as it did during the 2010 conflict in Kyrgyzstan and is now attempting to do with respect to the development of hydropower resources in Tajikistan. Idrissov visited the offices of the European Commission in Brussels in January 2013, as well as with NATO Secretary general Anders Fogs Rasmussen at the organization’s headquarters in Brussels to discuss key issues regarding security and the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan. During the first few months of 2013, Idrissov met with leaders in Europe, opening a new Embassy of Kazakhstan in Finland and announcing plans for a diplomatic presence in Sweden in 2013.

US Relations[edit]

On July 8–10, 2013, Minister Idrissov paid an official visit to the United States and held meetings with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Deputy National Security Adviser Anthony Blinken, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, and Deputy Secretary of State William Burns. In his talks with high ranking U.S. officials the two sides highlighted the robust and growing bilateral ties between Kazakhstan and the United States, the Strategic Partnership Dialogue, and reaffirmed their commitment to deepen US-Kazakhstan relations.[5]

Latin America[edit]

On October 1, 2013, Minister Idrissov became the first Kazakhstan Foreign Minister to visit South America. He visited the countries of Ecuador, Argentina and Chile. The purpose of the visit was to speak about the Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy, Expo 2017, and creating bilateral cooperations.[6] During his meeting with Chilean Foreign Minister Alfonso Navarro, the milestone agreement was the abolishment of visas between Chile and Kazakhstan.[7] Chilean and Kazakhstan citizens can visit these countries without the need for a visa. In Ecuador, the same agreement was made for a 30 day trial period to strengthen trade, business, and tourism for both countries.[8] While visiting Argentina, Minister Idrissov discussed areas in travel, tourism, technology, energy, agriculture, beef, nuclear energy, and even space.[9]

United Nations[edit]

Minister Idrissov has led Kazakhstan's candidacy for Kazakhstan's election to be a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2017–18.[10] Mr Idrissov highlights the key elements of the country’s candidature since formally initiating the process in September this year, which is focused on ensuring global nuclear, water, food and energy security.[11]

Small Island Developing States[edit]

Erlan Idrissov visited Samoa for the Third International Conference of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) on September 1-3, 2014.[12] The participants of the Conference discussed the geographical isolation of the Pacific Islands that creates fundamental challenges hindering their growth and prosperity. Idrissov noted that Kazakhstan shares many challenges with SIDS.[12] Just as Kazakhstan is land-locked, the Pacific Islands are, in a way, sea-locked, with their encirclement by the ocean and their remoteness from major growth hubs, aggravating, not helping their lot.[12] This is why Kazakhstan felt it was important to participate in the event and share the story of what they, as an upper middle income country in the early years of its development, have done to overcome the challenges of geography and, more importantly, how that can be applied to support SIDS.[12]

Opinion Editorials by Erlan Idrissov[edit]

  1. A New Step Forward to Greater Regional and Global Security, The Astana Times, May 13, 2014
  2. Kazakhstan leads green initiative, USA Today, June 10, 2014
  3. Kazakhstan looks to ‘Future Energy’ with EXPO 2017, Energy Global, June 10, 2014

References[edit]

Preceded by
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan
1999–2002
Succeeded by
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev