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Kazakh Report: May 14, 2002


14 May 2002

RUSSIAN, KAZAKH PRESIDENTS SIGN PROTOCOL ON DIVIDING THREE MAJOR CASPIAN NATURAL GAS FIELDS
The presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan, Vladimir Putin and Nursultan Nazarbayev, signed a protocol in Moscow on 13 May on dividing three North Caspian gas fields. According to the protocol, the Qurmanghazy gas field will remain part of Kazakh territory, while the Khvalynskoe and Tsentralnoe gas fields will be part of Russian territory. The fields contain vast quantities of natural gas and have been disputed between Astana and Moscow for a long time.

President Putin said after the signing ceremony that the protocol is a very important step towards further deepening cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan. He added that the document could serve as a good example in solving problems between other Caspian littoral states.

KAZAKH RAILWAYS HEAD HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE.
Erlan Atamqulov, the president of Qazaqstan - Temir Zholy, Kazakhstan's major rail company, held a press conference late on 13 May where he said the rail sector faces drastic changes and reforms in the nearest future. According to Atamqulov, all railway workers will have to pass special exams in order to establish their professional expertise. Atamqulov was appointed president of Qazaqstan - Temir Zholy last month after President Nazarbayev dismissed Ablay Myrzakhmetov, then President of the company, for alleged abuse of his official position and financial mismanagement.

KAZAKH PARLIAMENT'S UPPER CHAMBER PROLONGS U.S.-KAZAKH AGREEMENT ON NONPROLIFERATION
The Senate (the upper chamber of Kazakhstan's Parliament) has decided to prolong until 13 December 2007 the U.S.-Kazakh agreement on nonproliferation signed on December 13, 1993. The U.S. provided Kazakhstan with $50 million as assistance in the implementation of special programs to liquidate the consequences of Soviet-era nuclear tests on Kazakh territory.

TRANSPARENCY-KAZAKHSTAN ORGANIZATION HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE
Vitaliy Voronov, the Chairman of the organization Transparency-Kazakhstan, held a press conference on 14 May at which he acquainted journalists with results of recent polls the organization conducted. According to the data cited by Voronov, companies based in Russia, South Korea, China and Taiwan, are the world leaders in giving bribes. Transparency International conducted polls in over 90 countries.

KAZAKHSTAN'S DEMOCRATIC CHOICE DEMAND IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF MOVEMENT'S LEADERS
Members of the opposition movement Kazakhstan's Democratic Choice held a press conference in Almaty on 14 May where they demanded that their leaders, former Pavlodar Oblast governor Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov and former Minister of Trade and Industry Mukhtar Abliyazov, should be released from custody immediately. Zhaqiyanov is kept under house arrest in one of the barracks belonging to the PavlodarSol Company in North Kazakhstan. Abliyazov is being held in Astana's central jail. Both are accused of financial abuses.

Leaders of Kazakhstan's Democratic Choice also harshly criticized President Nazarbayev's statement on the need to privatize agricultural land in Kazakhstan. They argued that it is too early to introduce such a law in Kazakhstan.

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