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Germany signs €3 bln in deals with Kazakhstan

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Germany signs €3 bln in deals with Kazakhstan
Photo: DPA
20:15 CET+01:00
Germany and Kazakhstan signed agreements Wednesday worth €3 billion ($4 billion) to cooperate on raw materials, industry and technology in Berlin.

The raft of some 50 accords was inked during a visit to the German capital

by long-time Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the German Economy Ministry said without giving details.

"There's a big interest by German companies to invest more in Kazakhstan,"

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after talks with the Kazakh leader, adding that trade ties could be further improved.

Trade between Germany and Kazakhstan jumped 20 percent last year to €6.3 billion, according to figures from the Federation of German Industry, which welcomed the partnership accords.

The Central Asian nation, rich in natural resources, is already an important supplier of oil to Germany and also possesses rare earths vital for everything from iPods to missiles.

However, Merkel denied Berlin was putting human rights concerns behind economic interests.

And Nazarbayev stressed on Wednesday that the Central Asian nation had already

notched up "a lot" in its democratic reforms after heavy criticism of recent

elections.

"I am of the opinion that what we have achieved is already a lot," he told reporters speaking through an interpreter after talks with Merkel.

Foreign monitors led by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe strongly criticised the resource-rich nation's January parliamentary elections.

The poll, in which Nazarbayev's ruling Nur Otan party took nearly 81 percent of the vote, "did not meet fundamental principles of democratic elections", they concluded.

Asking "what do you want from us", Nazarbayev stressed here that three political parties were represented in the Kazakh parliament and 95 percent of the media was privately owned.

AFP/The Local/mry

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