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Kazakh Report: March 12, 2002


12 March 2002

KAZAKH PRESIDENT SPEAKS AT FIRST CONGRESS OF KAZAKHSTAN'S JOURNALISTS
The First Congress of Kazakhstan's Journalists was held in the Kazakh Parliament in Astana on March 12. President Nursultan Nazarbayev made the following statement at the opening ceremony:

" ...We should beware internal and external enemies, we should stay aloof from possible internal disorder and chaos, we should be able to withstand our external foes. If that is not understood by our writers and those who like to write, by our intellectuals, all we have managed to achieve [since independence] will be ruined. Our generation will not be able to fulfill its mission and duty and will be condemned by generations to come. If those who like to write, in regions, in towns and oblasts, do not understand that when they take their pens in their hands, if the voices they raise cause trouble and disorder, we shall be guilty in front of next generation, and past generations who for centuries shed their blood for our land."

"... We were witnesses when after the campaign started by mass media, Soviet Union collapsed, and then Yugoslavia."

"...If some emissaries come from across the ocean, our opposition, our intellectuals sometimes, lose their dignity and shamelessly crawl after them. And then, what happened?... who protected them?... who supported you? They just laugh at you and leave you behind, alone."

KAZAKH, UZBEK PREMIERS DISCUSSE BORDER DEMARCATION IN SOUTH KAZAKHSTAN
Kazakh Prime Minister Imanghaliy Tasmaghambetov met in South Kazkahstan Oblast on 12 March with his Uzbek counterpart Utkir Sultanov. The two prime ministers discussed the possible delimitation of the sector of the Kazakh-Uzbek border near the Kazakh villages of Baghys and Turkestanets. On December 28, 2001, local residents, who are mainly ethnic Kazakhs, declared the territory's independence from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, trying in such a dramatic way to attract the attention of the two countries' governments to the problem of the border demarcation. Tasmaghambetov and Premier Sultanov are meeting at the Zhibek Zholy border check-point.

TWO UZBEK CITIZENS DETAINED ON KAZAKH TERRITORY WITH DRUGS AND RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL
Two citizens of Uzbekistan were detained late on 11 March on the territory of South Kazakhstan Oblast. Local police found in their luggage large quantities of drugs and some radioactive material which the detained men said comes from Tajikistan. Investigations are continuing.

NGOS URGE KAZAKH GOVERNMENT TO IMPLEMENT LANGUAGE LAW MORE STRINGENTLY
NGOs in Almaty, including the Azat movement, "Education decides the Destiny of the Future Generation," the Union of Religious Clerics of Kazakhstan and others, gathered the Press Club in Almaty on 12 March. They called on the government of Kazakhstan to be more strict in implementing the law on Languages and the Mass Media. That law requires that at least 50 per cent of all broadcasting companies' output should be in the state language, which is Kazakh.

According to the leaders of the NGOs, the law's implementation should have been monitored from the day it was adopted several years ago. Several media outlets were forced to suspend their activities earlier this month after they were officially found guilty of violating the law.

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