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Kazakh Report: April 9, 2002


9 April 2002

'MINI DAVOS' FORUM CONTINUES IN ALMATY
The International Economic Forum nicknamed "Mini-Davos" opened in Almaty on 8 April. Some 500 senior politicians from 40 countries are participating, among them Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev and his Tajik counterpart Imomali Rakhmonov. The leaders of the EBRD, the World Bank and other leading international financial institutions are discussing the economic situation in Central Asia and in world.

Kazakhstan's President President Nursultan Nazarbayev addressed the Forum on 9 April, singling out as a key issue requiring attention regional security in Central Asia. Nazarbayev said after the successful U.S.-led international efforts against terrorism in Afghanistan, regional security in Central Asia has been strengthened. "Security in Central Asia creates broad opportunities for economic operations, investments and energy transportation," he said.

He added that the legal status of the Caspian Sea should be defined as soon as possible in order to start more effective joint operations on developing Caspian oilfields and exporting oil to the West.

OPPOSITION PARTY ACTIVISTS DETAINED WHEN TRYING TO MEET WITH FORUM PARTICIPANTS
Amirzhan Qosanov, who is Chairman of the Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan's Executive Committee, told RFE/RL on 9 April that the previous day local police detained a group of the party's activists in front of the Ankara Hotel in Almaty where the "Mini-Davos" forum is taking place. The RNPK members intended to speak to Forum participants and tried to give them some printed materials about the human rights situation, democratic reforms and the problems faced by opposition parties and movements in Kazakhstan. But they were reportedly detained and taken to Almaty's Bostandyq District Police station.

At 10:30 AM (Almaty time) on 9 April the detained persons were supposed to face trial, but the trial was delayed and the RNPK activists had to spend the whole day in the building of Bostandyq District Court. According to Qosanov, the trial was delayed on purpose, in order to prevent the RNPK members returning to the Ankara Hotel.

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL ACTIVITIES IN TRANSITION ECONOMIES OPENS IN ASTANA
An international conference on financial and economic operations in transition economies opened in Astana on April 9. Officials from 17 countries are taking part together with IMF representatives. Kazakhstan's Vice Premier and Finance Minister Aleksandr Pavlov briefed participants on the plans and perspectives of Kazakhstan's state budget this year.

ERA-TV RESUMES BROADCASTING, BUT STOPS AGAIN AFTER TWO HOURS
The Era-TV channel in Astana City resumed broadcasting after a pause of several days but stopped its programs just two hours later. The channel's director, Gulmira Raisova, told RFE/RL that Astana City Radio and TV Broadcasting Center's officials informed Era -TV that broadcasting was halted due to antenna problems. They reportedly declined to repair the antenna on the grounds that all technicians were otherwise occupied. Representatives of the Astana City Radio and TV Broadcasting Center refused to comment the situation, saying that the only person who could explain the case was on a business trip.

Era-TV was the only TV channel which re-broadcast the programs of TAN-TV. TAN-TV in turn had to suspend broadcasting last month due to a decision by the Almaty City Court. After it started to re-broadcast TAN-TV programs, Era-TV's operations were also suspended about a fortnight ago. TAN-TV was financially supported by Kazakh businessman and former Minister of Trade, Energy and Industry Mukhtar Abliyazov. Abliyazov was arrested late last month on charges of abuse of power and financial malpractice.

Some Kazakh observers, however, believe that Abliyazov's arrest was politically motivated. Abliyazov is one of the co-founders of the opposition movement Democratic Choice for Kazakhstan Movement in mid-November last year.

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