Israel Signs Defense Agreement With Kazakhstan
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and his counterpart from Kazakhstan, Adilbek Dzhaksbekov, signed a security agreement on Monday, formally sealing the defense ties between the two countries.
The agreement, which was signed in Tel Aviv, gives a framework for defense trade and cooperation between the Jewish state and the Sunni Muslim-majority nation, reports Defense News.
Defense relations between the two countries were complicated in 2004, when corruption charges over the sale of Israeli artillery systems led to the firing of Kazkhstan's then-defense minister and other senior officials.
Israeli defense industry sources note the situation has been cleared since Soltam Systems, the main Israeli contractor at the time, was acquired by Elbit Systems, and those implicated in the corruption scandal were removed.
Ya'alon noted the event by remarking "we appreciate Kazakhstan, a country with a desire and intention to strengthen the cooperation with us. This is the first visit of (Dzhaksbekov) in Israel and I am sure he will discover that we are a small country rich in history and good people."
"Israel is one of the most challenged countries in the world because of the difficult neighborhood we live in, but it knows to defend itself," added Ya'alon. "I believe we will find more fields for cooperation."
The Kazakh defense minister called Israel "a small country known worldwide for its capabilities."
"This is my first visit to Israel, and I hope it will serve as a mile stone for enhancing cooperation between the two countries. Israel is one of the leading countries in trading with Kazakhstan," added the minister. "The economy always strengthens cooperation and I hope that this visit will strengthen the security cooperation between the countries."
It is estimated that the agreement will greatly increase Israeli defense exports. Officials reported that Kazakhstan is interested in unmanned systems, border security, command-and-control capabilities as well as satellite communications.
Israeli cooperation with Kazakhstan was expressed in the launch of an Israeli AMOS-4 satellite in the country last September. In 2011 an AMOS-5 satellite was similarly launched by Kazakhstan, indicating the close ties.