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Kazakh Report: February 22, 2000


22 February 2000

KAZAKH PRESIDENT TO START OFFICIAL TRIP TO AUSTRIA.
On February 23, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev will leave for Vienna, Austria. Correspondents of RFE/RL quote Kazakh Foreign Ministry's Press Service as reporting that President Nazarbayev is scheduled to hold talks with officials of OSCE and Austria's Federal President. Kazakh Foreign Ministry also reported that the Kazakh leadership was aware about the latest political developments connected with Jorg Haider's party in Austria. According to the official viewpoint of Kazakhstan, ultra-right tendencies in politics might be defined as obstacles for real democratic and free development of any society. Delegation of European Union led by Michael Humphrys discussed the Kazakh Presidential visit to Vienna with members of the Kazakh parliament and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Astana on February 22.

KAZAKH PREMIER HELD CABINET SESSION.
Qasymzhomart Toqayev - Kazakh Prime Minister held Cabinet session on February 22. Premier Toqayev asked his Office Chief - Qanat Saudabayev to prepare text of special Decree through which some Vice-Ministers and Vice Chiefs of several State agencies would be reprimanded for their delay with Draft Laws preparations. It was mentioned at the Cabinet's session that of 18 draft laws planned to be outlined in January 13 had never been prepared. As for February, not a single draft law of 6 planned ones, has not been put forward for discussion.

RUSSIAN ENERGY AND FUEL MINISTER IN ASTANA.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that Russian official delegation led by Russian Minister of Energy and Fuel Victor Kalyuzhniy came to the Kazakh capital on February 21 and met with Kazakh Premier Qasymzhomart Toqayev the same day. The sides discussed further development of relations in energy and fuel exchange sector. Such issues as continuation of cooperation in frames of Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC), possible opening of CPC's representative board in Atyrau or Astana, joint activities in developing of Atyrau-Samara pipeline, natural gas supply to Qostanay and Aqtobe, as well as other important matters were reportedly taken under discussion by the Kazakh Premier Toqayev and Russian delegation. Russian Minister of Energy and Fuel - Victor Kalyuzhniy held talks with Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev on February 22. Correspondents of RFE/RL were not allowed to attend the negotiations held by Kazakh President and Russian Minister Kalyuzhniy. Kazakh Minister of Information and Social Concord Altynbek Sarsenbayev told correspondents of RFE/RL that they had not been allowed to attend the talks due to request made by the Russian Minister Kalyuzhniy who asked Kazakh officials to invite Kazakh and Russian mass media only.

INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR ON ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION HELD IN ALMATY.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from the former Kazakh capital that on February 22 an international seminar on ecology and environment was held in Almaty. The seminar was reportedly organized by the Kazakh Ministry of Environment and Ecology Protection. Representatives of several Kazakh and international NGOs on Ecology, UN experts and other specialists shared their ideas about the ecology situation in Kazakhstan. It was concluded that Kazakhstan was one of the world's nations that had to pay attention to the situation of the environment in the 21 century. According to the specialists, about 60 per cent of Kazakh territory is desert or steppe approximating desert. A shortage of drinking water has also become a major problem in some areas of Kazakhstan. Ecological problems concerning the shrinking of the Aral Sea and the former Soviet nuclear test field in Semey (Semipalatinsk) were also mentioned by the participants.

KAZAKH FOREIGN MINISTER MET FOREIGN DIPLOMATS WORKING IN ALMATY.
Erlan Idrisov - Kazakh Foreign Minister - met foreign diplomats working in the former capital of Kazakhstan on February 21. The meeting was held behind closed doors. Press Service of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry has not yet issued any press release with the meeting's agenda yet.

LEADERS OF TURKIC NATIONS TO MEET IN AZERBAIJANI CAPITAL IN APRIL.
Correspondents of RFE/RL quote local media as reporting that leaders of such Turkic nations as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are scheduled to hold a summit in Baku - Azerbaijan's capital on April 8-9 this year. The leaders of Turkic countries have been holding such summits once a year since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Issues concerning economic, political, cultural and educational ties between the 6 nations with common historic, linguistic, religious and cultural roots are usually discussed at such summits. This time President of Georgia Edward Shevardnadze is reportedly invited to take part in the summit. It is more likely that projects involving possible routes for Caspian Oil transportation will be among the issues included to the summit's agenda.

GUNS CONFISCATED FROM MR. KAZHEGELDIN'S FORMER BODY GUARDS ARE NOT CONNECTED WITH THE FORMER PREMIER.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that the Chief of the Kazakh Presidential Body Guarding service, Amangeldy Qazhibayev, told journalists on February 21 that 14 guns (pistols and rifles) allegedly confiscated from three Kazakh officers - formerly body guards of the former Kazakh Premier Akezhan Kazhegeldin � were not connected with Mr. Kazhegeldin. Mr. Qazhibayev said that all the guns had been returned by Mr. Kazhegeldin to the Kazakh presidential Guard after his having been ousted the premiership in 1997. The three former body guards of Mr. Kazhegeldin were arrested by the Kazakh police and National Security service and accused of illegal weapons possession at the end of last year. Akezhan Kazhegeldin is a leader of the Kazakh Republican People Party and runs his part from abroad. His colleagues and aides kept saying that all the allegations put forward against the former body guards of Mr. Kazhegeldin were politically motivated. Today, February 22, Vice Chairman of the Kazakh Republican People Party's Executive Committee Amirzhan Qosanov told correspondents of RFE/RL that Mr. Qazhibayev's statement had proved that all the accusations put forward against Mr. Kazhegeldin's former body guards were "groundless".

GENERAL PROCURACY OF KAZAKHSTAN DECIDED TO EXPEL IRANIAN NATIONAL.
The General Procuracy of Kazakhstan is going to extradite Reza Bakharri � an Iranian citizen - back to the Islamic Republic of Iran. It turned out that Mr. Bakharri had been living illegally in Kazakhstan for about 2 days. He left Iran presumably because of investigations started by Iranian officials around his activities while being a member of Iran's National Court. The Kazakh General Procuracy thoroughly investigated Mr. Bakharri's case and made a decision to expel him to his home land.

TRACTEBEL'S ULTIMATUM TO THE KAZAKH GOVERNMENT EXPIRES TOMORROW.
February 23 is the deadline the Belgian Tractebel Company gave the Kazakh government as the date for revising its attitude towards the agreement signed by the Kazakh government and Tractebel several years ago. Based on the agreement, Tractebel controls the entire electrical and heating supply system in the whole area of Almaty Oblast. The company demanded that the Kazakh government allow them to raise housing utilities fees starting this year. The Kazakh government's answer was negative. Tractebel is going to sue the Kazakh government at the Hague Court in case by February 23 Kazakh Cabinet does not change its decision on Tractebel's request to permit housing utilities fees to be increased.

KAZAKH STATE STATISTICS AGENCY HELD PRESS CONFERENCE.
On February 18, the Chief of the Kazakh State Statistics Agency held press conference in Almaty. Alikhan Smayilov told journalists that the main part of foreign direct investments to the Kazakh economy had been made by U.S. Companies last year. In all, more than 40 per cent of the annual foreign investments to Kazakhstan was made by American companies last year. The basic part of the foreign investments were made in Kazakhstan's oil, energy and non- ferrous metal production industries. Also the volume of investment to Kazakhstan from Great Britain and Italy were very significant last year, Mr. Smayilov said. He also mentioned that the volume of mutual trade between Russian Federation and Kazakhstan decreased drastically last year.

LEADERS OF SLAVS ORGANIZATIONS STILL WANT KAZAKHSTAN TO JOIN RUSSO-BELARUS.
Leaders of Slav organizations of Almaty - Yuriy Bunakov and Fyodor Miroglov - held a press conference in Almaty on February 17. According to them, the Kazakh government should organize an all-Kazakhstani referendum among the citizens of Kazakhstan in order to find out if the population wants to joint the Russo-Belarus Union. Mr. Bunakov told journalists that at least 70 per cent of all Kazakh citizens would support the idea of Kazakhstan joining the Union of Russia and Belarus. He also mentioned that organizations uniting ethnic Russians of Kazakhstan had intended to hold mass gatherings and demonstrations in several large cities of the country in order to urge Kazakh officials to join the Union. But, said Mr. Bunakov, the administrations of Almaty, Taraz, Petropavlovsk and some other cities of Kazakhstan had not permitted the staging of such actions. According to leaders of ethnic Slavs of the former Kazakh capital, they are going to sue Almaty City administration for its having banned their mass actions of protest in Almaty. Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev told journalists at his press conference held the same day that Kazakhstan would not join any Union within the CIS any more. Meanwhile....

... LEADER OF KAZAKH COMMUNISTS SUPPORTED THE IDEA ABOUT THE REFERENDUM.
Serikbolsyn Abdildin , the First Secretary of the Kazakh Communist party, held his press conference also on Thursday, where he said that he personally , as well as his political party, supported the idea of holding the referendum in Kazakhstan in order to clarify the population's attitude about the possible joining of Kazakhstan to the Russo-Belarus Union. He also said that all the regional governors and judges should start being elected by the local population instead of being appointed directly by the Kazakh president himself. According to Mr. Abdildin, about $4-5 billion had been stolen by Kazakh officials since Kazakhstan received independence in 1991. He said that in order to have all that stolen money returned to the Kazakh economy, an Amnesty should be announced and the names of all the thieves to be officially published.

SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE ON THE IMPORTANCE OF PRESIDENT NAZARBAYEV'S BOOK HELD IN ALMATY.
On February 18, a scientific conference "On the Importance of Nursultan Nazarbayev's "On the Wave of the History" Book" was held in Almaty. The book was issued last year by Ata Mura Publishing House of Almaty. Today's conference was organized by Almaty City Administration and Department of Information and National Concord of the former capital.

CHINA SUPPORTS KAZAKHSTAN'S NEW VISA REGIME.
Correspondents of RFE/RL quote Qazaq News Agency as reporting that China supports Kazakhstan's new regulations concerning visa regime. According to the new regulations, starting February 1, any citizen of a country belonging to the so-called Shanghai Five (China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan), with some criminal records arrested in one of those countries will be punished due to the laws and regulations of the country he or she committed crimes in. A spokesman of the Kazakh Embassy in Beijing told correspondents of Qazaq News Agency that Chinese officials had expressed their support to that new regulation of Kazakhstan reportedly.

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