Britain to Help Kazakhstan Reduce Dependence on Russia for Exports

Britain is intending to help Kazakhstan bypass export routes through Russia, British Foreign Minister Cleverly said during his visit to the Central Asian country on Saturday, where he also signed a memorandum of understanding on critical mineral supplies. Cleverly said Astana’s stance on the Ukraine War has been valuable. Kazakhstan, which has been traditionally close to Moscow, has refused to support the Russian invasion or recognize its annexation of Ukrainian territories.

“The UK greatly appreciates Kazakhstan’s consistent and principled position in supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and your desire to bring about resolution to the war in line with the UN charter,” he told a briefing.

Cleverly, who met Kazakh President Tokayev and a number of other senior officials, discussed the disruptions in Kazakh oil exports – most of which go through Russia – and discussed ways to support the development of alternative routes such as the so-called Middle Corridor.

That route uses the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan and Georgia, but requires significant investment to boost its capacity. Kazakhstan has already started diverting some oil shipments towards the route.

Cleverly and Kazakh diplomats also announced that they have signed a memorandum on critical minerals such as rare earth metals.

The Central Asian nation is home to almost half of the world’s uranium output, and has large deposits of rare earth minerals, which has long been sourced from China or Russia.

Kazakhstan called in Russian troops to help put down demonstrations weeks before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. But since the invasion Tokayev has been careful to keep his distance from Moscow and keep relations open with the West.

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