ASTANA – Seventeen heads of state and government from around the world, including Spain’s King Felipe VI, plan to attend the opening of EXPO 2017 Astana later this week in Kazakhstan’s capital, Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said on Tuesday.
“We are expecting 17 heads of state and government at the EXPO’s opening ceremony, as well as representatives of legislative bodies and many foreign ministries, Abdrakhmanov said without naming the leaders who will attend the event.
The leaders of the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and India – are expected to attend Friday’s opening ceremony.
The SCO is holding its annual summit on Friday in Astana.
King Felipe, who was invited to attend the ceremony by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, plans to take advantage of his visit to the Central Asian nation to meet with some of the foreign leaders attending the EXPO’s opening.
The Spanish monarch will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis and Spanish cultural affairs agency officials.
During a meeting on Tuesday, Nazarbayev ordered a “tightening of security measures both in Astana and other regions” of Kazakhstan, Abdrakhmanov said.
EXPO 2017 Astana, in which 115 countries and 22 international organizations will be participating, has the theme “Future Energy” and runs from June 10 to Sept. 10.