I have today laid before Parliament a Ministry of Defence departmental minute describing a gifting package which the UK intends to make to the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Central Asia is a region of growing importance to the UK’s security and prosperity. The UK and the international community must continue to influence and engage with the Republic of Kazakhstan, and the other central Asian republics, on a range of issues, including counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and border security, if we are effectively to promote wider regional security and stability.
The Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan have played a constructive role supporting ISAF operations in Afghanistan. Kazakhstan will face increased security challenges once ISAF has withdrawn from Afghanistan; the international community has a part to play in preparing its security forces for these challenges. Kazakhstan also aspires to develop and deploy its troops in support of UN peacekeeping tasks. The departmental minute, which I have today laid before Parliament, describes a gifting package to the Republic of Kazakhstan of surplus quad bikes with trailers and handheld night vision equipment that is intended to contribute to this. Both items have been examined and cleared against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria, which includes an assessment of whether the equipment might be used for human rights violations or internal repression, the risk to UK forces and the risk of diversion to an undesirable end user. Subject to completion of the departmental minute process, delivery is expected to be undertaken during the summer of 2014.