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Kazakh Report: May 11, 2000


11 May 2000

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT FINISHES HIS OFFICIAL TRIP TO KAZAKHSTAN.
Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, who came to Almaty from Astana the morning of May 12, met Almaty City Mayor Victor Khrapunov. Representatives of 48 Lithuanian companies took part in the work of the Kazakh-Lithuanian Business Forum. President Adamkus also met with representatives of ethnic Lithuanians living in Kazakhstan at the Lithuanian Embassy in Almaty. The Lithuanian leader left Almaty for Vilnius the same day.

PROBLEMS OF KAZAKH REPATRIATES DISCUSSED AT SESSION HELD BY ASAR FOUNDATION.
On May 12, the Asar Foundation, that unites Kazakh repatriates, held a special session on problems faced by ethnic Kazakhs who moved to Kazakhstan from abroad for permanent residence. Since Kazakhstan got independence in 1991 thousands of ethnic Kazakhs have been immigrating to Kazakhstan from Afghanistan, China, Iran, Mongolia, Russia, Turkey, Uzbekistan and other countries. Such problems as obstacles on obtaining Kazakh citizenship, unemployment, lack of housing and other issues were discussed at the session. One of the main themes taken under discussion at the session was the situation of about 2 million ethnic Kazakh living in Xin Jiang (Eastern Turkistan), West China. "Kazakh authorities have to challenge Chinese officials in order to make it easy for the ethnic Kazakhs living in Xin Jiang to leave for Kazakhstan", said a Kazakh writer, originally from the West Chinese province of Kerim Elemes.

INDIAN-KAZAKH BUSINESS COUNCIL HELD SESSION.
Indian-Kazakh Business Council held a session in Almaty on May 12. Representatives of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, as well as other official boards, along with Indian businessmen, took part in the work of the session. Chairman of Kazakhstan's Chamber of Trade and Industry, Khamit Raqishev told correspondents of RFE/RL that about 30 Kazakh-Indian joint ventures had been working in Kazakhstan since 1995.

ANOTHER PLANE SCANDAL IN KAZAKHSTAN?
Correspondents of RFE/RL quote KODA News Agency as reporting that seven airplane engines were impounded by Russian customs officers on the Russo-Finish border on May 11. It turned out that the engines belonged to some Kazakh companies and were originally from Kazakhstan. The engines were aboard a train heading to Finland from Russia. It is the third case when Kazakh airplanes are reported as illegally sold to some foreign companies. Investigations are underway.

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT IN ASTANA.
President of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus held talks with his hosting counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev in Astana on 11 May. On his arrival to Astana airport the previous night President Adamkus told journalists that the main issue he intended to discuss with Kazakh top officials would be about crude oil exports from Kazakhstan to the West through Lithuanian territory. But among several documents signed by the two presidents and other officials of the both countries, there was not a single agreement or memorandum about oil transportation The documents were about joint efforts in the struggle against organized crime and drug trafficking, as well as about further development of mutual technical, scientific and cultural cooperation. President Nazarbayev told journalists that in all, about 500,000 tones of crude oil had been brought to the Western part of the world through Lithuania last year, adding that about 219 tones of metal had been exported by Kazakhstan to the West through the Lithuanian Klaipeda port in 1999. According to President Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan is able to send about 60,000 tones of crude oil to Lithuania each month. But to do that, added the Kazakh leader, it is necessary to reach additional agreements with the Russian Federation. Lithuanian President told journalists that he hoped Russia would realize that Kazakh-Lithuanian cooperation in the sphere of oil transportation could be profitable for the Russian Federation as well. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev also said that Kazakhstan would never comment on Lithuania's intention to join NATO, adding that any independent country has a right to chose itself where to join or what organization to become a member of. President Nazarbayev said that NATO was not posing any threat to Kazakhstan.

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE "SCIENCE IN THE 3RD MILLENNIUM" STARTED IN ASTANA.
Dozens of international scientists, including Nobel Prize laureates, local politicians and specialists are taking part in the conference called "Science in the Third Millennium" which started working on 11 May in the Kazakh capital. The conference will move to Almaty on May 13. It will finish its work on May 14 reportedly.

KAZAKH PRESIDENT NURSULTAN NAZARBAYEV MET UZBEK AMBASSADOR TO KAZAKHSTAN.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev met Uzbek Ambassador to Kazakhstan Butoyarov on May 10. Ambassador Butoyarov handed a letter of Uzbek President Islam Karimov addressed to the Kazakh leader. Uzbek President expressed his opinions on further development of Kazakh-Uzbek economic and political cooperation reportedly.

GENERAL ERTAYEV: KAZAKHSTAN IS ABLE TO DEFEND ITSELF FROM TALIBAN THREAT.
General Bakhytzhan Ertayev - Commander-in-Chief of the Kazakh Army's General Staff - told correspondents of RFE/RL on 10 May that the Taliban threat to Central Asian countries, including Kazakhstan, was real, and added that Kazakhstan would be able to defend itself in case the threat turned into a real problem. General Ertayev also said that reforms in the Kazakh Army were underway. Several military exercises held in the country, from Oskemen, North East of Kazakhstan, to Shymkent area, South Kazakhstan, earlier this year, helped to improve the potential of our Army, said the Commander of the Kazakh Army's General staff.

VICE PREMIER DANIYAL AKHMETOV: KAZAKHSTAN'S FOOD SECURITY UNDER THREAT.
Vice Premier of Kazakhstan, Daniyal Akhmetov visited several farms of Aqmola Oblast this week. According to Vice Premier Akhmetov, the Kazakh Agriculture Ministry currently has anti-locust chemicals for just 4 million hectares of wheat fields. Meanwhile the locusts have already started destroying more than 7 million hectares of wheat fields in the country. Moreover, it turned out that the main part of the anti-locust chemicals bought by Kazakh Agriculture Ministry from abroad did not conform to the special chemical-spreading devices currently used in Kazakhstan. Kazakh National Security Committee has started investigations around the chemical purchase deals reportedly. Locusts turned into a real problem in Kazakhstan in the last couple of years. Last year the locusts invasion heavily affected the wheat harvest. According to Vice Premier Daniyal Akhmetov, Kazakhstan might face a food security threat due to the locust problem this year.

DELEGATION OF CZECH COMMUNICATIONS AND TRANSPORT MINISTRY IN ASTANA.
A delegation of Czech Communications and Transport Ministry arrived to the Kazakh capital on May 9. At the talks held by the Czech delegation with top officials of the Kazakh Communications and Transport Ministry a possible creation of the joint Czech-Kazakh Joint Stock Company that produces railway cars was discussed . Also such issues as Czech investments in the construction of a new railway line connecting Qyzyl-Orda and Zhezqazghan cities, as well as Kazakhstan's possible purchase of Yak-40 planes from the Czech Republic were taken under discussion reportedly.

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