President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE on Wednesday lauded the post-Soviet recovery of Kazakhstan, calling it a "miracle" during a phone call with President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
“U.S. president-elect brought congratulations to the Head of State on the 25th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s Independence,” the Kazakh presidential press office said in a statement, as reported by Politico.
“D. Trump stressed that under the leadership of Nursultan Nazarbayev our country over the years of Independence had achieved fantastic success that can be called a ‘miracle.’”
Trump's transition team said that the two leaders "addressed the importance of strengthening regional partnerships” but did not mention Trump's use of the word "miracle."
The international community and civil rights groups have been highly critical of Nazarbayev's policies.
Despite an economic recovery following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early '90s, Kazakhstan still has large levels of corruption and voter intimidation during its elections.
The geopolitical region, however, remains a crucial strategic zone for U.S. foreign policy.
A year ago, President Obama met with Nazarbayev to discuss regional matters, including Kazakhstan's economic progress.
"President Obama met today with President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan. The two leaders discussed bilateral relations, nuclear nonproliferation, and regional stability and economic development," the White House readout said at the time.
"The President also congratulated President Nazarbayev on the launch of the [International Atomic Energy Agency’s] low enriched uranium fuel bank in Kazakhstan and on Kazakhstan’s accession to the World Trade Organization."