efe-epaAstana

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Wednesday praised his country's relations with Kazakhstan during a two-day visit to the Central Asian nation for Germany's National Day at Expo Astana 2017.

"We are very happy that our diplomatic relations have reached 25 years. During this time, our relations have become not only closer but more diverse," Steinmeier said after meeting with his Kazakh counterpart, Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Nazarbayev, for his part, said that during the meeting, the two leaders discussed politics, the economy, culture and humanitarian cooperation.

Steinmeier praised the political changes that have been taking place in Kazakhstan, especially the democratic changes to the constitution and Nazarbayev's handing over some powers to Parliament, but he said there was room for further reforms.

"We would like to see that the path of opening towards Europe and the expansion of the rule of law, initiated by you, as well as the reforms under implementation here in Kazakhstan, will be continued," the German president said, referring to Nazarbayev.

To further bolster bilateral relations, Nazarbayev said the leaders examined the possibility of having German companies invest in Kazakhstan.

"We have discussed the possibility that German companies would be involved in advancing technologies in Kazakhstan's industrialization process," the Kazakh leader said.

Berlin and Astana plan to sign dozens of agreements as part of the Kazakhstan-Germany Business Council held in the Kazakh capital.

In addition, Nazarbayev announced plans to promote Kazakhstan as a link between Germany and China.

"Given the favorable geographical location, we intend to join efforts to promote the inland delivery of goods from China to Germany through Asia" Nazarbayev said.

The Kazakh president then thanked Steinmeier for Germany's efforts to sign a new partnership agreement between the European Union and Kazakhstan in 2015 in an effort to improve economic and political relations between the regions.

"We express our gratitude to you and your country for ratifying the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Kazakhstan, and we appreciate the role Germany plays in global politics," Nazarbayev said.

Nazarbayev and Steinmeier are scheduled to visit the German Pavilion at Expo Astana 2017 on Future Energy, which runs until Sept. 10.