FRIENDS UNITED

Kazakhstan 2015 | DIPLOMACY | GUEST SPEAKER

His Majesty Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain, on economic cooperation, the Joint Bahrain-Kazakhstan Business Council, and the development of bilateral ties.

His Majesty Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
BIOGRAPHY
His Majesty Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa studied at the Mons Officer Cadet School at Aldershot in the UK and later studied at the Sandhurst Academy. He then returned to Bahrain and played an active role in outlining the Bahrain Defense Force (BDF). His role with the military continued as Head of the Defense Directorate and also member of the State Council, until he became Minister of Defense in 1971. He later joined the US Army Command and Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and was awarded the Freedom Medal of Kansas City. He went on to graduate with honors from Fort Leavenworth. His Majesty continued his work with the BDF, and was appointed deputy to the Head of the Al Khalifa Family Council. Later graduating as a helicopter pilot, he has also worked relentlessly to establish the Bahrain Amiri Air Force.

Kazakhstan's keenness to build a firm and advanced relationship with the Kingdom of Bahrain deserves our thanks and appreciation, as this is the common goal we aim to achieve. During a recent official visit we signed a number of joint memorandums of understanding (MoUs) in the fields of politics, industry, food security, agriculture, culture, education, finance, investment, and media. These MoUs will solidify our aspired integration to serve the interests of our nations and people.

At the economic level, which has become the core interest of nations worldwide, we have been keen to bring businesspeople from both countries together to encourage the conclusion of financial, trade, and agricultural agreements and MoUs. And moreover, we have been able to optimize the benefits from available investment opportunities in both countries in numerous sectors, such as the Islamic banking sector, a promising and rapidly growing field in which Bahrain possesses great expertise. We also encourage the participation of the public and private sectors in Expo 2017 in Astana, and we push for educational, cultural, and tourism cooperation between our countries.

In the near future, we seek to sign an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation on income and tax evasion. Also, by activating the Joint Bahrain-Kazakhstan Business Council, we can move bilateral trade and economic relations forward to a much broader level. President Nazarbayev's keenness to cement the brotherly ties of cooperation with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states is something highly appreciated by all the Gulf leaders and peoples, and we can build on the genuine ties and strong will that unite us to attain further cooperation and coordination in different fields. In this context, the Kingdom of Bahrain, along with its GCC sister states, seeks to launch free trade negotiations with Kazakhstan to attain the desired integration.

It is a source of admiration and appreciation to have seen all of this development and growth taking place in the friendly state of Kazakhstan across many fields, something to be added to the credits of the country, which has contributed with its distinguished scholars to the enrichment of the Islamic civilization and advancement of humanity, and still does, under President Nazarbayev's wise leadership, with even greater contributions in various domains and creativity fields, in an advanced country that enjoys prevalent security, stability, and optimism. The President has many leading initiatives, notably his call for the First Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building in Asia, which was for the purposes of reinforcing peace, settling conflicts, consolidating regional and global cooperation against terrorism, and promoting tolerance and mutual understanding.

I strongly believe that the shared interests and common goals that unite us in deep-rooted Asia, such as civilized heritage, great potential, and a common fate constitute an opportunity for us to move with Asia from the stage of cooperation to a strong alliance. We fully support Kazakhstan's initiative to transform the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building in Asia into an international organization. Perhaps the most outstanding example of the existing rapprochement between us is our common interest in reinforcing dialogue among civilizations and faiths, a field where our two countries boast leading initiatives.