NEW YORK – Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazarbayev said on Thursday that his meeting earlier this week with US President Donald Trump left him optimistic about a strengthening of bilateral ties.
The two men established a good rapport during their talks at the White House on Tuesday, the Kazakh president told a press conference in New York after chairing a UN Security Council session.
“He is a businessman, a very concrete person, and I like that. We found common ground from the start and we had a complete understanding,” Nazarbayev said of his US counterpart.
The Kazakh head of state said that he and Trump discussed a wide range of issues, including pressing international matters such as the situation on the Korean peninsula.
While Trump is “very worried” about North Korea, he agreed that the crisis is amenable to solution, Nazarbayev said.
Addressing the Security Council hours earlier, Nazarbayev offered his country as a venue for talks on the North Korean crisis and urged the established nuclear powers to give Pyongyang security guarantees as a way to get negotiations off the ground.
Nazarbayev said that the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran also came up in his talks with Trump, who has threatened to withdraw the United States from the multilateral pact.
A supporter of the treaty, Nazarbayev said that he reminded the US leader of the time it took to negotiate the deal and warned him that Iran would likely seek to develop nuclear weapons if the accord collapsed.
Another topic of conversation with Trump was China’s One Belt, One Road initiative, the Kazakh president said, though adding that discussion did not get into the details of Beijing’s push to create a land-based transportation network spanning Eurasia.
Acknowledging that the US has little enthusiasm for the project, Nazarbayev said that his country expects to gain from what some call the “new silk road.”
“It’s very beneficial for us. Kazakhstan is an interior country, we don’t have access to the ocean, so transportation hubs are very important to us,” he said.
Nazarbayev said that while in the US, he has signed more than a score of deals that will boost American companies’ investment in his country by up to $7.5 billion.