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US to develop security cooperation with Kazakhstan

WASHINGTON, July 9 (KUNA) -- The U.S. Defense Department desires to continue working with Kazakhstan to further develop the bilateral security relationship, reiterated US Secretary of State Chuck Hagel.
The statement came during Hagel's meeting with the Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrissov, the Pentagon announced here Monday.
At the "2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit" in March 2012, Presidents Barak Obama and Nursultan Nazarbayev reaffirmed bilateral cooperation in the areas of nuclear nonproliferation. Responding to a U.S. appeal, the Kazakhstani legislature approved sending military engineers to assist in coalition operations in Iraq, in addition to the Kazakhstani troops dismantling of four million mines and other explosives as well as providing medical care to several coalition members and civilians during the Iraqi wars.
Kazakhstan has also permitted air and land transit for U.S. and NATO troops and equipment-as part of the Northern Distribution Network-to support stabilization operations in Afghanistan.
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a statement that Hagel "praised Kazakhstan for its support for the coalition in Afghanistan and for hosting the Northern Distribution Network (NDN)." Hagel also reaffirmed his country's "enduring commitment to security in Afghanistan and the region beyond 2014.
The Pentagon chief also affirmed that "our two nations will continue to work closely together to advance our common interests around the world," the statement noted. (end) si.ba KUNA 091017 Jul 13NNNN