To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the political and security situation in Kazakhstan.
I am deeply concerned by, and condemn, the violence and destruction of property in Kazakhstan during the past week, particularly in the city of Almaty. The Government greatly regrets the loss of life and sends its condolences to families of the deceased. The reasons behind the violence in Almaty remain unclear. We are continuing to speak with the Kazakh authorities to gain further insights. President Tokayev stated that peacekeeping forces of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) would remain in Kazakhstan for a short period of time to assist in re-establishing constitutional order, and we understand that CSTO troops have now begun their withdrawal. It is important that any forces deployed have a clear mission, are time-limited and be proportionate in any use of force to defend the legitimate security interests of the state. It is also important that Kazakhstan's sovereignty is respected.
We have been clear in our communications with the Kazakh government that the right to peaceful protest should be protected. The UK's Ambassador to Kazakhstan and her team in Nur-Sultan are in contact with the Kazakh authorities and will continue to engage in the coming days. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon spoke with the Kazakh Ambassador to the UK on 6 January, with Deputy Foreign Minister Alimbayev on 7 January, and with the Kazakh President's Special Representative, H.E. Erzhan Kazykhan, on 14 January. As the situation stabilises, we will continue to engage our Kazakh counterparts to gain insights into the nature of the threat they have faced.