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Kazakh Report: December 14, 2001


14 December 2001

VATICAN AWARDS PRESIDENT NAZARBAYEV
Papal Nuncio Mario Ollis presented Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev with the Vatican's "Order of Pius" on 14 December. Fifteen other world statemen, including Spain's King Carlos, have also received that award. President Nazarbayev expressed his gratitude to Pope John Paul II and said that the Pope's visit to Kazakhstan in September 2001 was a very important event which gave citizens of Kazakhstan the opportunity to learn more about the Roman Catholic Church. He added that the award he received from Pope John Paul was an appreciation of the whole country he led.

It was also announced at the presentation ceremony that Vatican Prime Minister Cardinal Sodano is expected to visit Kazakhstan soon. The press service of Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry announced that on December 16 an office of the Apostolic Nuncio's office of Vatican will be opened in Almaty.

SENATE APPROVES PRESIDENT'S NOMINEE AS CHAIRMAN OF NATIONAL SECURITY COMMITTEE
On December 14, the Senate (the upper chamber of Kazakhstan's parliament) discussed President Nazarbayev's decision to appoint Nartay Dutbayev as the new Chairman of Kazakh National Security Committee. In a letter to the Senate made public at the session, Nazarbayev wrote that he is sure that Dutbayev as a truly professional security officer is a more than appropriate candidate for the position ofchairman of Kazakhstan's National Security Committee. Nazarbayev also said that he wished he could attend the Senate session, but explained his absence by the expected arrival of Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev in Astana on December 15 and Nazarbayev's preparations for his working trip to Washington on December 21.

Nazarbayev transferred Marat Tazhin from the post of Kazakh National Security Committee Chairman to that of Presidential National Security Advisor earlier this week.

NEW MOVEMENT UNITING VETERANS AND VICTIMS OF DECEMBER 1986 UPRISING IN ALMATY ESTABLISHED
Veterans and victims of the December 1986 youth uprising in Almaty have founded a new movement called Zheltoqsan Zhanghyryghy (Echo of December). Veterans of Zheltoqsan from Almaty, Astana, Oskemen, Pavlodar, Oral, Qyzyl-Orda and other cities congregated in Almaty on December 14. They said that their problems have never been solved and that the real truth about the December 1986 events has never been revealed. The fifteenth anniversary of the uprising will be marked on Sunday, 16 December.

VERDICT ON NEWSPAPER 'VREMYA PO' UPHELD
On December 14, the Almaty City Court upheld the verdict handed down on the newspaper "Vremya Po" by Almaty's Almaly District Court, which found the editorial board of "Vremya Po" guilty of "insulting the personal dignity and honor" of Rakhat Aliyev, the former Deputy Chairman of Kazakhstan's National Security Committee who is also President Nazarbayev's son-in-law. Aliyev accused "Vremya Po" of insulting him in the wake of the stand-off between him and Pavlodar Oblast Governor Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov in mid-November.

According to the verdict, "Vremya Po" must pay 3 million Tenges ($20,000) as compensation for moral damage to Rakhat Aliyev. The editors of "Vremya Po" say that the verdict was politically motivated and that their correspondents had merely reported the tensions between the two politicians involved.

NEW TRAIN BETWEEN ALMATY AND ASTANA WILL BE SEVEN HOURS FASTER
On December 14, a new train "Astana-Express" will make its maiden journey from Almaty to Astana. It is expected that the new train will reach Astana in 14 hours. Currently the fastest train takes 21 hours to travel between Astana and Almaty.

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