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Kazakh Report: April 16, 2002


16 April 2002

KAZAKH LEADER HOLDS PHONE TALKS WITH HIS RUSSIAN COUNTERPART
Correspondents of RFE/RL quote Kazakhstan's Presidential Press Service as reporting that President Nursultan Nazarbaev held phone talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin last night. The men reportedly discussed Kazakh-Russian cooperation in energy production and oil transport as well as electricity exports to Kazakhstan from the Russian Federation. The two Presidents exchanged opinions on an agenda for a summit scheduled for 22-25 April in Ashgabat. Leaders of the five Caspian littoral states (Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan) are expected to discuss control of Caspian Sea resources at the summit.

KAZAKH PRESIDENT SACKS MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS AND TRANSPORTATION
President Nazarbaev has signed a decree dismissing Minister of Transportation and Communications Ablay Myrzakhmetov. The Prosecutor-General's Office has announced it is charging him on three counts of corruption and abuse of power while he was head of state railway company Qazaqstan Temir Zholy, Kazakh TV and Interfax reported. Myrzakhmetov, 33, ran the company until November, when President Nazarbaev appointed him minister.

WAR AND PEACE INSTITUTE HOLDS ROUNDTABLE ON POLITICAL SITUATION IN KAZAKHSTAN
The War and Peace Institute in Almaty held a roundtable discussion on Kazakhstan's current political situation on 12 April. Politicians, scholars, opposition leaders and activists, representatives from nongovernmental organizations, and representatives of the country's Cabinet reportedly took part in the discussion. The leader of the Orleu movement, Seydakhmet Quttyqadam, told RFE/RL correspondents that the current situation -- namely the arrests of Democratic Choice for Kazakhstan (DVK) movement leaders Mukhtar Abliyazov and Galymzhan Zhaqiyanov -- might be defined as a real political crisis faced by the country. Meanwhile, the deputy director of the Almaty-based Strategic Analytical Studies Center, Meyirzhan Mashanov, told RFE/RL that it was too early to say that Kazakhstan was undergoing a political or constitutional crisis. According to Mashanov, in order to define the situation as a political crisis, mass demonstrations would have to take place and social tension should be more acute. "The current situation in Kazakhstan is far from that," Mashanov said.

DEMOCRATIC CHOICE FOR KAZAKHSTAN HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE
Democratic Choice for Kazakhstan (DVK) movement members Rozlana Taukina and Tolen Toqtasynov held a press conference in Almaty today at which they told journalists they visited Moscow last week and informed Russian journalists about the arrest of their movement's leaders, Mukhtar Abliyazov and Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov. They said they were surprised that Russian society was unaware of the situation facing their movement. It was also asserted at the press conference that Zhaqiyanov was being kept in Pavlodarsol Company's barracks in conditions similar to jail, not house arrest.

FIRE REPORTEDLY DESTROYS PAVILION AT ATAKENT EXHIBITION IN ALMATY
Fire destroyed over 150 square meters of the seventh pavilion at the Atakent Exhibition Grounds in Almaty last night. No details are available. Investigations are under way.

All news based on reports from RFE/RL correspondents Dosan Baimolda, Gulmira Khamza (Almaty), Kenzhebek Nurqasen-Uly, and Zhuldyz Toleu (Astana).

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