Erlan Idrissov

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Erlan Idrissov
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
28 September 2012 – 28 December 2016
Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov
Karim Massimov
Preceded by Yerzhan Kazykhanov
Succeeded by Kairat Abdrakhmanov
In office
1 October 1999 – 29 January 2002
Prime Minister Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
Imangali Tasmagambetov
Preceded by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
Succeeded by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
Personal details
Born (1959-04-28) 28 April 1959 (age 57)
Karkaraly, Soviet Union
(now Kazakhstan)
Political party Nur Otan
Alma mater Moscow State Institute of International Relations
Russian Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Photo of Minister Idrissov and US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on a 2013 visit to Washington, DC

Erlan Abilfayizuly Idrissov (Kazakh: Ерлан Әбілфайызұлы Ыдырысов; born April 28, 1959, in Karkaraly, Karaganda oblast, Kazakhstan)[1] was the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan 1999 to 2002 and 2012 to 2016. 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]

In February, 2017, Erlan Idrissov was appointed Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.[5] On December 28, he was dismissed as foreign minister.

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.[6]

Erlan Idrissov took part in the meeting of foreign ministers of Central Asia and the United States in the C5+1 format. The meeting took place in Washington, D.C. on August 3, 2016. The six ministers agreed to launch five projects aimed at developing the transport, logistics and energy potential of Central Asia, as well as improving border infrastructure and strengthening regional security.[7] The U.S. plans to support these projects with up to $15 million. [8]

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.[9] During his meeting with Chilean Foreign Minister Alfonso Navarro, the milestone agreement was the abolishment of visas between Chile and Kazakhstan.[10] 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.[11] While visiting Argentina, Minister Idrissov discussed areas in travel, tourism, technology, energy, agriculture, beef, nuclear energy, and even space.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14] Idrissov has led Kazakhstan's advocacy effort at the United Nations to achieve a nuclear weapons-free world.

On May 6, 2016, Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov represented Kazakhstan at the high-level forum titled Religions for Peace at the United Nations General Assembly. He stressed that it was important to break the links between terrorism and religions and noted that on May 31 Astana would host an international conference under the title “Religions Against Terrorism.”[15]

Erlan Idrissov contributed to Kazakhstan's election as a non-permanent member of UN Security Council. It was announced in June 2016 that Kazakhstan would serve on the UNSC in 2017-2018.[16]

In September 2016, Erlan Idrissov participated in the 71st session of the UN General Assembly.[17] Within the session, Erlan Idrissov met with Foreign Ministers of other countries, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. During his visit to New York Erlan Idrissov also participated in the meeting of Central Asian Foreign Ministers. The meeting had a symbolic meaning, since 2016 is the year when all Central Asian countries celebrate the 25th anniversary of their independence.[18]

Non-permanent membership in UNSC 2017-2018[edit]

Kazakhstan set priority questions for its non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council in 2017-2018. One of them is security and development issues in the Central Asian region. In order to represent the interests of the entire region, Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov conducted trips to the capitals of the Central Asian states and Afghanistan in late 2016.[19]

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.[20] 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.[20] 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.[20] 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.[20]

Opinion Editorials by Erlan Idrissov[edit]

  1. Regional integration is the "key" to stabilizing Afghanistan, EurActiv, November 21, 2013
  2. A New Step Forward to Greater Regional and Global Security, The Astana Times, May 13, 2014
  3. Kazakhstan leads green initiative, USA Today, June 10, 2014
  4. Kazakhstan looks to ‘Future Energy’ with EXPO 2017, Energy Global, June 10, 2014
  5. The Great Gain Not the Great Game: How Kazakhstan is Charting its Own Course in the World, The Diplomatic Courier, November 13, 2015
  6. Building a Joint Future for ASEM: View from Kazakhstan, ASEF, December 23, 2015
  7. Kazakhstan: Disarmament is key, EurActiv, January 20, 2016
  8. The Real Cause of the 21st Century, The Diplomat, April 19, 2016
  9. Kazakhstan’s experience can help promote greater understanding at UN Security Council, Financial Times, May 10, 2016
  10. Kazakhstan: An Exercise in Democracy, The Diplomat, May 19, 2016
  11. Kazakhstan Determined to Stay the Course of Sustainable Growth, The Diplomat, June 13, 2016
  12. High time for Central Asia and Kazakhstan to have a voice in UN Security Council, The Hill, June22, 2016


  1. ^ a b Index I RULERS
  2. ^ Kazakhstan, Russia ready for close cooperation with USA in combating extremism Pravda
  3. ^ Print Article
  4. ^ "Ex Kazakhstan's Ambassador to USA appointed Foreign Minister". English. Retrieved 21 May 2012. 
  5. ^ Former Kazakh FM Erlan Idrissov Appointed Ambassador to UK
  6. ^ "Joint Statement of Second Kazakhstan-United States Strategic Partnership Dialogue". US State Department. 
  7. ^ "Washington C5+1 Ministerial Meeting Launches Five Projects Worth $15 Million". 
  8. ^ "Washington C5+1 Ministerial Meeting Launches Five Projects Worth $15 Million". 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^!/news/article/11947
  13. ^ "Kazakhstan enhances participation in the UN". Kazakhstanskaya Pravda. Archived from the original on 2013-12-02. 
  14. ^ "Kazakhstan in the United Nations: for peace and progress". Kazakhstanskaya Pravda. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. 
  15. ^ "UN Hosts Religions for Peace Discussion on Kazakhstan Initiative". 
  16. ^ "High time for Central Asia and Kazakhstan to have a voice in UN Security Council". 
  17. ^ "Kazakh FM had a number of meetings on sidelines of UNGA's 71st session". kazinform. 
  18. ^ "Kazakh FM Addresses 71st Session of UN General Assembly in New York". The Astana Times. 
  19. ^ "FM Idrissov Visits Kabul, Dushanbe, Gathers Concerns to Present on UNSC". 
  20. ^ a b c d Idrissov, Erlan. "Of land- and sea-lockedness, and the pursuit of happiness". 

Political offices
Preceded by
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
Preceded by
Yerzhan Kazykhanov
Minister of Foreign Affairs