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Kazakh Report: March 26, 2002


26 March 2002

KAZAKH GOVERNMENT WILL NOT REVISE CONTRACTS SIGNED WITH FOREIGN COMPANIES DURING FIRST YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE
Kazakh Foreign Minister and State Secretary Qasymzhomart Toqayev met with U.S. businessmen in Astana on 26 March and assured them that despite all speculations to the contrary the Kazakh government does not plan to revise contracts with foreign companies signed during the first years of independence. In Toqayev's words, doing so "would spoil the investment environment in Kazakhstan." On the contrary, the Kazakh government should look for new ways to attract more foreign investments into the country, Toqayev said.

He also stressed that foreign companies operating on Kazakh soil should give more orders to local enterprises. Last year, foreign companies gave orders totalling $600 million Kazakh firms. Since the early 1990s U.S. companies have invested $6 billion in Kazakhstan.

KAZAKH FOREIGN MINISTER TO VISIT RUSSIA
Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister and State Secretary Qasymzhomart Toqayev will travel to Russia during the second half of this week to meet with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov. The two officials will discuss current situation in Central Asia. Toqayev will also meet Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov.

On March 26 Toqayev told journalists in Astana that Russia's role and position in Central Asia are not declining. Noting that Central Asia has become the site of a new Great Game, Toqayev stressed that Kazakhstan should be real player in this new game.

UKRAINIAN CONSUL GENERAL IN ALMATY HELD PRESS CONFERENCE
Ukraine's General Consul in Almaty, Oleh Bai Murza, held a press conference at the Kazakh National Press Club in Almaty on 26 March to mark the tenth anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

He stressed that bilateral economic relations, cooperation in science and technology, as well as cultural relations have been improving. He also mentioned the issue of ethnic Ukrainians living in Kazakhstan.

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