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Kazakh Report: April 28, 2000


28 April 2000

IRANIAN ROUTE FOR KAZAKH OIL DISCUSSED AT EURASIA-2000 ECONOMIC FORUM.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from the former Kazakh capital that on April 28, the Iranian Vice Foreign Minister expressed the idea about the possible transportation of Kazakh oil to the Western part of the world through Iran. The same idea was put forward on Thursday by First Vice-President of Iran Hassan Habibi. "Kazakhstan has its own right to choose the proper corridor for its oil and gas, said the Iranian Vice Foreign Minister, but the Iranian route is the most profitable". Possible Iranian pipeline construction will require $1,200 million, which is much less than it would cost for any other possible route, said Iranian Vice Foreign Minister. President Nursultan Nazarbayev met with members of the delegations and journalists before the ceremony marking the Forum's closure on 28 April.

On April 27, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev took part in the special session on Caucasus and Central Asian states, at which he harshly criticized the United States of America "for its attempt to interfere in the affairs of other using slogans of democratization". "Central Asian countries will never run after the United States towards democracy, mindlessly and tightening their trousers belts", said the Kazakh President. He added that during his last meeting with U.S. State Secretary Madeleine Albright, he reminded her that the United States of America had had wonderful relations with Iranian leader Shakh Mohammed Reza Pekhlevi. "I told Mrs. Albright, you wanted to democratize the Iranian Shakh, and you did democratize him.... You have wonderful relations with Saudi Arabia now,.... why don't you try to influence them in Saudi Arabia?", said President Nazarbayev. He also added: "We will never accept either criticism of our internal political activities or interference in our internal affairs under slogans of democracy". The Kazakh President also said that all the nations of Central Asia should live in peace and concord, adding that all the rumors about problems between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan were groundless.

21 VEK NEWSPAPER AGAIN FACES PROBLEMS.
Bigeldy Gabdullin, Editor-in-Chief of 21 Vek Newspaper, held press conference on April 28, at which he told journalists that the last issue of his newspaper had been impounded by Almaty tax police at the Printhouse Publishing House on April 27. Mr. Gabdullin said that he had sent an open letter to the participants of the Eurasia-2000 economic Forum, which accomplished its work on April 28. 21 Vek newspaper has been encountering similar problems since 1998. Tax police officers told Printhouse workers that they had nothing against Bigeldy Gabdullin personally, but refused to explain the reason of their decision to impound the newspaper's last issue.

THREE YOUNG BOYS ACCUSED OF CRIMES CUT THEIR VEINS AT TRIAL HEARING IN ZHANATAS.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that the situation in Zhanatas City, South Kazakhstan remain unstable, after the an incident that happened at Sarysu District Court on Wednesday this week. Three young boys (two 19 year-old, one 1 year-old) accused of being involved in crimes that took place almost a year ago cut their veins when the judge was announcing the verdict on April 26. Parents and friends of the wounded young men say that all the accusations were groundless, and that the police tried to prove that the boys were guilty in order to hide the facts of their having been beaten by police officers during the investigations. About 20 young Kazakh boys were arrested last year after one citizen of Zhanatas had been knifed by unknown persons. All of arrested young boys were beaten by policemen presumably. Parents of some of the beaten boys told correspondents of RFE/RL that they had been asked by policemen to pay $1,000 each in order to "save their kids".

VICE PREMIER AKHMETOV: NEWLY CONSTRUCTED BUILDINGS IN THE CAPITAL FAR FROM BEING OF HIGH QUALITY.
Correspondent of RFE/RL report that Vice Premier of Kazakhstan Danial Akhmetov chaired a cabinet session on April 27, at which he said that all the buildings erected and being constructed in the new Kazakh capital, Astana and other parts of the country were of very poor quality and did nor correspond international quality standards. Although the buildings, including 63 new official buildings in Astana, are built by international companies, their quality is very low, but the cost of construction work is very high, said Vice-Premier Akhmetov, adding that all the construction works were financially supported by the Kazakh State Treasury. According to Vice-Premier Akhmetov, neither the Kazakh State Construction Committee nor the State Standard Commission know anything about the situation around the construction of new objects. He asked both the Kazakh State Construction Committee and the State Standard Commission to research the situation thoroughly in order to start revising the construction work carried by international companies, some of "which have no international license". The first step to start with, said Danial Akhmetov, is to transform all construction activities to ISO-9000 standards in order to reach the highest international standard - TQM. It was also announced that a British Company called Fitzpatrick would be fined for "having failed to meet its obligations defined in the contract on the construction of the new hospital complex in Astana".

LOCUSTS PROBLEM ALSO DISCUSSED AT THE CABINET SESSION.
Vice Premier Danial Akhmetov also paid attention to the problem of possible locusts attacks on Kazakh wheat fields this year. He said that Kazakh Premier Qasymzhomart Toqayev had signed a Decree on additional measures against locusts. According to specialists, the locust invasion may be even more intensive this year. Vice Minister Akhmetov said at the session that pesticides for about 4,200 hectares of land were ready for use, adding though that some additional pesticides were required for successful liquidation of that "ecological problem". Last year Zhanibek Karibzhanov, then Kazakh Minister of Agriculture, left his position due to unprecedented locust attacks on Kazakh farms. Current Minister of Agriculture Sauat Mynbayev may also resign due to the locust problem. Unnamed sources at Kazakh government told correspondents of RFE/RL that the locust problem may bring about the sacking of the current Premier Qasymzhomart Toqayev as well.

KAZAKH DEFENSE MINISTER SAT TOQPAQPAYEV CONTINUES HIS OFFICIAL TRIP TO BEIJING.
Correspondents of RFE/RL quote the Press Service of the Kazakh Defense Ministry as reporting that Kazakh Defense Minister General Sat Toqpaqpayev continues his official visit to Beijing, China, which started on April 24. On Tuesday, April 25, the Kazakh Defense Minister met his Chinese counterpart General Chi Haotian and other top officials of China. The issue of further development of mutual Chinese-Kazakh military cooperation was discussed at the meetings. He also visited several military units and bases around the Chinese capital. Kazakh Defense Minister's trip to China will last until April 28.

ASTANA MAYOR GRANTED FREE APARTMENTS AND CARS TO SOME CITIZENS OF THE CAPITAL.
Astana Mayor Adilbek Zhaqsybekov granted free apartments and personal automobiles to veterans of World War II and Veterans of the Afghan war on April 26. Vice Mayor of Astana Tolegen Mukhamedzhanov told correspondents of RFE/RL that in all, 69 apartments and 19 personal cars were distributed among the veterans living in the Kazakh capital. The action was carried out on the eve of the Victory Day celebrated traditionally on May 9 every year.

EURASIA-2000 ECONOMIC FORUM CONTINUES IN ALMATY.
Presidents of Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, Eduard Shevardnadze and Askar Akayev, first Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the leadership of Deutsche Bank and Chevron, as well as economists and experts of other countries are taking part in the work of the Eurasia - 2000 economic Forum which started in Almaty on April 26. Kazakh Ambassador to Italy Olzhas Suleymenov said at the Forum today on 27 April that among other problems faced by the Central Asian region, the problem of religious fundamentalism was one of the most acute problems. According to Mr. Suleymenov, the problem of fundamentalism is directly connected with the economic situation in the region. The young population of the region very often find religious fundamentalism as the only solution to the economic and social problems faced by the inhabitants of the region, said the Kazakh Ambassador to Italy, Olzhas Suleymenov. The economic Forum will end its work on April 28.

EURASIA-2000 ECONOMIC FORUM STARTED IN ALMATY.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that Economic Summit called Eurasia-2000 started its work in Almaty on April 26. Officials of all the CIS states and other countries are represented at the forum. In all, delegations from more than 20 countries, about 500 international politicians and businessmen, as well as dozens of economic experts are working in the framework of the Forum. President Nursultan Nazarbayev held a meeting with Kazakh premier Qasymzhomart Toqayev, leading Kazakh economists and representatives of the Kazakh National Bank on the eve of the Economic Forum. The meeting took place at Presidential residence in Almaty on April 25. Kazakh Premier Qasymzhomart Toqayev met leaders of international companies working in Kazakhstan , including Richard Matzke of U.S. Chevron - the main foreign oil giant working in West Kazakhstan. Premier Toqayev also held talks with Jan Kalicky - advisor to U.S. Trade Secretary, who is also taking part in Eurasia- 2000 Forum.

FORMER BODYGUARDS OF THE FORMER KAZAKH PREMIER WILL SPEND THREE AND A HALF YEARS IN LABOUR CAMP OF COMMON REGIME.
On April 25, Piotr Afanasenko and Satzhan Ibrayev - former bodyguards of the former Kazakh Premier Akezhan Kazhegeldin - were handed the verdict of Judge Bakhytzhan Elshibayev, according to which they were found guilty of possessing and keeping illegal weapons. The verdict says that the two officers will serve their three and half year long punishment terms in one of the labour camps of the so-called common regime. Piotr Afanasenko and Satzhan Ibrayev are known as active members of Republican People's Party led by Akezhan Kazhegeldin from exile. Chairman of Republican People's Party's Executive Committee Ghaziz Aldamzharov told RFE/RL's Kazakh Broadcasting Service by phone that all the accusations put forward against the two officers were groundless and politically motivated. On April 26, leaders and activists of Republican People's Party held a special press conference at their office in Almaty, at which they protested the Court's verdict against Piotr Afanasenko and Satzhan Ibrayev.

KAZAKH NGO ACCUSES KAZAKH EDUCATION MINISTRY.
Ersain Erqozha - Chairman of movement called "Urpaq Taghdyry Bilim" (Successors' Destiny - Education) held a press conference on April 26, at which he accused Kazakh Education Minister Qyrymbek Kosherbayev of having no real experts in his office, adding that the situation of education in the country was getting worse and worse. According to Mr. Erqozha, the new text-books for Kazakh schools should be revised, and the distribution of the books should be taken under control.

THREAT OF LOCUST ATTACK REPORTED.
Kazakh Agriculture Minister Sauat Mynbayev said at a press conference held in Astana on 26 April that about 13 hectares of wheat fields in Kazakhstan were under threat of possible locust attacks this year. Last year locusts destroyed dozens of hectares of wheat fields in the country causing problems even for neighboring Russian Federation and Uzbekistan. According to Minister Mynbayev, the locust eggs had survived the severe winter in the northern part of Kazakhstan. This week thousands of locust larvae were found in the fields of South Kazakhstan reportedly.

KAZAKH-UZBEK BORDER ISSUE TO BE DISCUSSED BY JOINT COMMISSION NEXT WEEK.
Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrisov told journalists on on April 24 that a joint Kazakh-Uzbek Commission would discuss the issue of the delimitation of the 2,150 kilometer long Kazakh-Uzbek border in Almaty next week. According to the Kazakh Foreign Minister, the border delimitation should be prepared and carried out without any hurry. Kazakh-Uzbek border demarcation turned into a real problem recently. Earlier this year the Uzbek side started the demarcation of the border in South Kazakhstani part of the border without any preliminary consultations with the Kazakh side, causing protest by local citizens.

PROSECUTOR GENERAL OF KAZAKHSTAN HELD PRESS CONFERENCE.
At press conference held on April 24, in Almaty, Kazakh Prosecutor General Yuriy Khitrin told journalists that special control work and checks of some mass media in Kazakhstan would take place soon. Last week, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev openly attacked the independent mass media of the country, saying that some Kazakh journalists "sometimes forgot about their being Kazakhstani citizens". He also warned that all the independent mass media in Kazakhstan would be thoroughly checked, adding that some of the mass media in Kazakhstan were financially supported by "enemies of Kazakhstan abroad". On Monday, April 24, Kazakh President reiterated his warning addressed to the independent mass media in Kazakhstan, saying that "those who try to stir up inter-ethnic hatred or work against Kazakhstan's statehood will be silenced". Confirming that President Nursultan Nazarbayev's order to check the independent mass media in Kazakhstan would be carried out in the nearest future, Kazakh Prosecutor General Yuriy Khitrin also said that the former Premier of Kazakhstan Akezhan Kazhegeldin should face trial in Kazakhstan for his "having been involved in bribery taking,, illegal weapons possessing, tax evasion and other crimes".

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