Colonel General Zhasuzakov, distinguished guests,
I am delighted to be here today at the close of this year’s “Steppe Eagle” exercise. And I am delighted that the armies of Kazakhstan and Great Britain work closely together. The United Kingdom is proud to co-operate with you as you advance towards taking part in a United Nations peacekeeping force. I have heard of the progress that has been made since the exercise “Steppe Eagle” first took place over a decade ago. This year the British contingent has once again been honoured to work alongside you.
Earlier this year, the first ever visit to Kazakhstan by a serving British Prime Minister took place. His purpose was to take the relations between our two countries to a deeper, more developed level in all areas. That includes deepening the cooperation between our two countries in the military sphere. The United Kingdom will continue to support you in whatever way we can in order to help you towards the aim of a role in a United Nations peacekeeping force. Achieving that aim would be another milestone in the development of an independent and influential Kazakhstan – a Kazakhstan which is able to contribute towards peace and security, both in its own region and more widely. For that reason, the British Government highly appreciates the commitment of the officers and soldiers of KAZBRIG to contribute internationally.
I would like to congratulate you warmly on your achievements during this exercise. Let us hope that the ties which we have already established remain strong and continue to grow in the context of the NATO “Partnership for Peace” programme.
See here the photos from the Steppe Eagle-2013 Closing Ceremony