(Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr Executive Secretary, colleagues, friends, welcome to the Astana Queen’s Birthday Party.
First let me thank our sponsors without whom we would not have been able to put on this event. Thank you Air Astana, BG Group, Caspian Motors, KPMG, Rio Tinto and Shell. Finally thanks also to the orchestra from the National Arts University.
A year ago my Ambassador (who is, regrettably, unable to join us this evening due to unavoidably being in the UK) spoke at her first Queen’s Birthday Party in Astana. At that time we stood on the brink of the most important visit to Kazakhstan from the UK. In June and July 2013 the Prime Minister, the Rt Honourable David Cameron MP, paid the first ever visit to Kazakhstan by a serving British Prime Minister.
This was a ground-breaking visit. And whilst that may be an over-used phrase it is most apt in this case. It led to a step-change in our relationship and provided a boost across all aspects of our co-operation – be they commercial, defence, education, science and technology and so on. Looking to the future it is our responsibility to continue to build on that visit and develop the relationship even further.
Also looking to the future in September of this year Scotland will hold a referendum on independence. It is my firm conviction that we are stronger, safer and more prosperous together.
I stand in front of you, the product of what makes our country great and strong.
I am wearing a Scottish kilt to honour my mother’s heritage. But it is made from an Irish tartan – to honour my father’s heritage.
I went to University in Wales, where I met my English wife 24 years ago.
Ours is a country that has been built on its diversity and long may that continue!
I give you Her Majesty The Queen!
You can find other images of Queen’s Birthday Reception on Flickr