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Kazakh Report: February 14, 2002


14 February 2002

U.S. ALLOCATES ADDITIONAL MONEY FOR IMPLEMENTING U.S.-KAZAKH AGREEMENT ON JOINT EFFORTS AGAINST NUCLEAR THREAT
On February 14, U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan Larry Napper met with members of the Kazakh Parliament's Lower Chamber (the Mazhilis). He informed them of the U.S. government's decision to allocate an additional $6 million to Kazakhstan for destroying Soviet-era underground facilities for launching inter-continental ballistic missiles. That will be done within the framework of the U.S.-Kazakh agreement signed in 1992 on joint efforts against nuclear proliferation. Napper said Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev and his U.S. counterpart George Bush discussed the issue at their White House meeting on December 21, and it was decided that the program on joint efforts against the nuclear threat will be prolonged till 2007. Washington has spent over $182 million on the program since 1992. RFE/RL correspondents predict that the Kazakh parliament debate on ratification of that agreement may last for some time.

CONFEDERATION OF NGOS URGES KAZAKH AUTHORITIES TO ADOPT NEW LAW ON THEIR SUPPORT
Leaders of the Confederation of Kazakhstani NGOs held a press conference in Astana on 14 February at which they announced that the Confederation has prepared a letter to the Kazakh government urging the Kazakh authorities to adopt a new law on support for nongovernmental organizations in Kazakhstan.

NEW FOUNDATION WILL PROTECT RIGHTS OF KAZAKHSTAN'S ORDINARY CITIZENS
A number of well known politicians held a press conference in Almaty on 14 February at which they announced the formation in Almaty of a new NGO called the Foundation for Social Protection. Its founders include Murat Auezov, who is President of the Soros Central Asia Foundation and a former Kazakh Ambassador to China; Bolat Abilov, a cofounder of the movement Democratic Choice for Kazakhstan (DVK) and former Mazhilis deputy; Berik Imashev, a member of the new Aq Zhol Party and a cofounder of DVK; Darigha Nazarbayeva, chair of the Directors Council of Khabar News Agency, and President Nazarbayev's eldest daughter; and others. Aliya Matayeva was named as chairwoman of the newly established foundation. Matayeva has just spent about 18 months in jail and was reportedly released due to a campaign by Khabar News Agency's journalists.

Auezov said at the press conference that the fact that representatives of DVK, which openly opposes Nazarbayev's regime, and President Nazarbayev's own daughter have aligned in one and the same organization should not surprise anyone. "We should unite in order to protect the rights of ordinary Kazakh citizens," Auezov said.

The organizers of the press conference failed to answer a question whether the new foundation will be able to protect the rights of former Pavlodar Oblast governor Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov and his associates, and those of former Kazakh Minister of Industry, Energy and Trade Mukhtar Abliyazov. Zhaqiyanov Two former associates of Zhaqiyanov were arrested after he was dismissed in November 2001, and two newspapers controlled by Abliyazov recently had to suspend publication under pressure from the Kazakh authorities.

PAVLODAR OIL REFINERY HAS TO SUSPEND WORK OF AT LEAST TWO FACILITIES
At least two shops of the Pavlodar Oil Refinery had to cease operations due to the over-import of Russian gasoline to Kazakhstan in the last couple of weeks. Gasoline prices in Kazakhstan have fallen sharply. Russia has reportedly cut the volume of its oil exports to the West, which caused a significant rise in the volume of gasoline imported to Kazakhstan from Russia. Officials at the Pavlodar Refinery told RFE/RL that the facility's reservoirs are full of gasoline which is not easy to sell at present. The Kazakh market is flooded by Russian gasoline.

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