Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday that he had requested Israel’s assistance in training its special forces to fight terror, a field in which the Jewish state is an expert.
The request follows several terror attacks in Kazakhstan which highlighted the country’s need for a more sophisticated approach to security threats. Israel, as the world leader in counter-terrorism measures and training, was a natural choice for help.
On a state visit to the Muslim-majority country, Netanyahu emphasized Israel’s desire to work and cooperate with Kazakhstan. He asked Nuzarabh for help in getting Israel accepted as a member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) in 2019, a position Israel has never held.
“My hope is, and I say this to all our friends, that the great partnership that we are building here will also be reflected in international forums like the UN. That’s beginning to happen. The ship doesn’t move overnight; we understand that, it’s a big ship. But it’s going to change, it’s changing already,” he said, noting that Israel had supported Kazakhstan’s successful bid for UNSC membership, which will begin in January 2017.
“Now, if you want a real change in the world, image the State of Israel on the Security Council of the United Nations,” Netanyahu said. “I think it’s possible and with your help it will be realized.”
The conversation, which took place at the presidential palace in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, represented a strengthening of ties between the Jewish state and the majority Sunni Muslim country. It followed a Tuesday visit by Netanyahu to neighboring Azerbaijan, where President Ilham Aliyev announced that he had signed contracts worth nearly $5 billion to buy defense and security equipment from Israel.
Kazakhstan and Israel also enjoy strong economic ties. Kazakhstan provides Israel with about 20 percent of its oil at a cost of about $700 million per year. Netanyahu wants to open up cooperation even more, he told a group of Kazakh business leaders, inviting them to discover Israel’s business potential.
The meeting marked 25 years of diplomatic ties between Kazakhstan and Israel. “The fact that Muslims and Jews are working together for the betterment of both our societies and our peoples is something that is important to us, but I think today for the world it’s important, for our region,” Netanyahu declared.