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Kazakh Report: January 4, 2002


4 January 2002

TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF KAZAKH-CHINESE DIPLOMATIC TIES MARKED
On 3 January senior officials of the Chinese Embassy in Almaty and Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry met in Almaty to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the establishment of Kazakh-Chinese diplomatic ties in January 1992, a fortnight after Kazakhstan declared its independence from the USSR in mid-December 1991. Chinese officials said at the ceremony that Kazakhstan and China have managed to establish full and mutually useful cooperation, as a result of which such issues as the Chinese-Kazakh disputed territories have been solved. It was also mentioned that Chinese-Kazakh cooperation is a real contribution to strengthening regional security.

KAZAKH PARLIAMENT TO DISCUSS RUSSIAN-KAZAKH AGREEMENT ON BAIKONUR LEASE
Correspondents of RFE/RL quote the Press Service of Kazakhstan's Parliament as reporting that parliament will discuss the Russian-Kazakh agreement on the lease of the Baikonur space complex in Central Kazakhstan on January 11. It was reported that the agreement might be revised as a result of changes recommended by parliament deputies.

ORAL SAULEBAY TO BE RETURNED FROM TASHKENT JAIL TO KAZAKHSTAN
On January 4, the leaders of Kazakhstan's United Democratic Party (UDP), which unites Azamat, the People's Congress and the Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan, held a press conference in Almaty where they openly urged the Uzbek government to release Oral Saulebay from jail. A leading member of the Azat movement and Chairman of Committee for the Protection of Kazakh Land, Saulebay was detained on December 30 by Uzbek police in the village of Baghys on the Kazakh-Uzbek border. He is currently being held in the Tashkent Oblast Interior Affairs Department prison (see "RFE/RL Kazakh Report," 2 and 3 January 2002). The Uzbek authorities have officially accused Saulebay of organizing an unsanctioned mass gathering and insulting the dignity and honor of the presidents of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

The UDP leaders told journalists that they demand the immediate release of Saulebay and a meeting in the near future between the presidents of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to negotiate the demarcation of the Kazakh-Uzbek border. They attributed the problems faced by Baghys villagers to the weakness of Kazakh officials and the reluctance of Uzbek officials to demarcate the Kazakh-Uzbek border.

Members of the so-called Committee for the Release of Oral Saulebay, which numbers some 20 people, picketed the Uzbek Embassy in Almaty late on 3 January to demand Saulebay's immediate release and handed a letter of protest to the Chief of the Uzbek Consulate.

Officials of the Kazakh Embassy in Uzbekistan told correspondents of RFE/RL later on 4 January that Saulebay will be transferred from the Tashkent jail to South Kazakhstan Oblast Internal affairs Departments that evening. It is possible that Saulebay will be released from custody on his arrival in Kazakhstan.

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