Welcome, comrades! Kazakh twin town team rekindle Stevenage links
- Credit: Archant
The first delegation to visit Stevenage from Kazakhstan since before the Soviet Union fell arrived in the town on Monday.
The group of five men are all from the southern region of the country whose biggest city, Shymkent, has been twinned with Stevenage since 1990.
The aim of their five-day visit is to improve business links and promote cultural ties.
They are being accompanied by Yerlan Utegenov from the country’s London embassy.
He said: “This is the first visit since 1990 so is a really special occasion for us. Everyone we have met has been really friendly and made us feel very welcome.”
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As well as improving social ties the visit aims to increase business links between the areas – all five delegates are businessmen.
“We want to improve trade for the benefit of both areas,” Yerlan said.
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Sporting links were also on the agenda and on Tuesday the group were given a tour Stevenage FC’s Lamex Stadium. They are also in discussions with the club to hold a friendly match against FC Ordabasy.
The fifth member of the group is Marat Karabayev, representing the mayor of southern Kazakhstan who will visit Stevenage in October.
Marat encouraged people living in the town to visit Kazakhstan and said: “Stevenage has a huge manufacturing sector and there is a lot that Kazakhstan companies can learn from this. The aim of the visit is to build manufacturing ties as well as cultural ones.
“The two areas have a lot to offer each other and there is a lot that we can learn from each other.
“This is a long-term partnership between the two towns based on friendship and co-operation.”
The group met Stevenage Borough Council’s leader Sharon Taylor and other staff yesterday where they presented them with gifts including a traditional Kazakhstan water bottle.
The council’s chief executive Scott Crudgington said,: “We are pleased to welcome all visitors to Stevenage – from near and far. We enjoyed meeting our visitors from Kazakhstan yesterday and hope that they enjoyed their time here.”
The group left for Kazakstan yesterday morning.