Speaking with Kazakh news agency 'Today.kz', chairman of the JSC Khabar Agency board Alan Azhibayev has further prompted speculation that Kazakhstan may end up appearing at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest as an official guest country - following a predicted similar trajectory to Australia. Find out what he had to say below...
Kazakhstan successfully debuted at Junior Eurovision 2018 on Sunday, with young performer Daneliya Tuleshova impressing viewers and juries alike and finishing in 6th place with her song 'Òzińe sen'. It appears that the team at the national broadcaster Khabar Agency were hard at work networking and meeting with EBU officials and staff last week in Minsk as Azhibayev's latest statement suggests that there are still discussions as to whether Kazahkstan will be featured as a guest nation at Eurovision next year.
He said, "For many years now, Khabar has been part of the EBU. But our first task is for us to become full members of the union, so that we have the right to vote. When we become them, it will be easier. And work in this direction is almost daily. There were big talks between the Minister of Information and Communications Dauren Abayev and the EBU management team. Negotiations are not ending, we continue to work. Yesterday after Eurovision we had meetings with them. I think they will come here to Kazakhstan, Astana, Almaty Negotiations will continue. Then, probably, there will be some decision later."
In an acknowledgement of Australia's procession to Eurovision, Azhibayev added, "Here, Australia is recalled, which for a very long time, almost 40 years, has been seeking participation in Eurovision, and only last or the year before last they managed to act as a special guest. That is, we should do it step by step. We need to get a special guest to participate in the adult Eurovision, then we will have more chances. But all this in stages, do not reveal to us, unfortunately, all the secrets, but at the same time ask to fill out all the necessary documents for consideration."
With confirmation that an application has been submitted by Eurovision by Khabar Agency, all eyes are now on the EBU and the reference group who will ultimately be making the decision. Last week in a press conference, Jon Ola Sand (Executive Supervisor) clarified that there were currently no plans for Kazahstan to participate at Eurovision 2019 however any future appearance would be up for discussion with the reference group. Notably - despite reports of this definitively meaning Kazakhstan would not be featured at Eurovision 2019 - it was never specified whether Jon Ola Sand included a 2019 appearance being up for discussion so we will have to wait on confirmation and news of how Kazakhstan's application transpires.
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