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Kazakh Report: July 7, 2000


7 July 2000

KAZAKH PRESIDENT CELEBRATES HIS 60TH BIRTHDAY.
Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev travelled from Astana to Almaty to continue celebrating his 60th birthday. On 6 July, former Russian Premiers Victor Chernomyrdin and Yevgenii Primakov, Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov and Russian film-maker Nikita Mikhalkov took part in birthday celebrations in Astana. Luzhkov told journalists after his tete-a-tete meeting with Nazarbaev that the latter's birthday was an important event for both Russia and Kazakhstan.

The celebrations continue on 7 July in Qarasay area of Almaty Oblast, in Nazarbaev's native village of Shemolghan. Special events were held in Ush-Qongyr area of the region. Local administrators refused to give RFE/RL any comments or details.

In the former capital, Almaty, a biography of Nazarbaev entitled LEADER (in Russian) and its Kazakh translation called "El Basy" (Nation's Head) was presented at a special ceremony by the author, Gennadii Tolmachev, interpreter Sain Muratbekov and Chief of Dauir publishing house Yanvarbek Tleulesov. Publication of the book, which focusses on Nazarbaev's "contributions to Kazakhstan's independence and prosperity," was reportedly financed by Eurasia Bank leader Alexander Mashkevich.

KODA News Agency reported that a special young artists tournament was scheduled to be held at Aygul gallery in Almaty on 7 July, but it was postponed due to Nazarbaev's birthday.

On July 5, an exhibition called "Nursultan Nazarbaev - Academician, Politician and Scientist" was held at Central Library of the Kazakh Academy of Sciences. A similar exhibit and special conference was held the same day at Kazakh State Women's Institute (ZhenPI). In Kokshetau region, special horse races for Nazarbaev's prize were held on 5 July.

KAZAKH AND UZBEK FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET.
The Foreign Ministers of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, Erlan Idrisov and Abdulaziz Kamilov, met in Astana on 7 July to discuss the norms of border crossing between the two countries. Idrisov told journalists that the possibility of introducing a visa requirement was not discussed at the meetinges in border crossing process on the Uzbek-Kazakh border, while Kamilov said no changes in border crossing procedures wil be introduced. The two ministers agreed that a third round of talks on delimiting the border between the two countries will be held later this year. Only documents signed in the 1960s and 1970s will be taken into account in the process of the border delimitation, the two ministers said.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF 'SOLDAT' NEWSPAPER DETAINED TWICE.
Representatives of Almaty City Procuracy visited the offices of the independent newspaper "Soldat" on 3-4 July and told the staff of the paper that a criminal case had been opened against its editor-in-chief,Ermurat Bapi. Bapi was stopped in Semipalatinsk area of Eastern Kazakhstan on 5 July by customs oficers who confiscated the entire printrun of the most recent issue of "Soldat." The deputy chairman of the Republican People's Party's Executive Committee, Amirzhan Qosanov, told RFE/RL that Bapi was released from Semey (Semipalatinsk) Tax Police Department on the morning of 6 July. According to Qosanov, Bapi had been in Rubtsovsk, in the Altay Region of the Russian Federation, where the most recent issue of his newspaper devoted to Nazarbaev's 60th birthday was printed. Russian Federal Investigation Service officers temporarily arrested Bapi and impounded the entire printrun. Bapi was interrogated for about 12 hours then allowed to return to Kazakhstan with the copies of the paper. In Kazakhstan, he was stopped by Kazakh Tax Police Officers at Auyl and again kept in the custody for several hours.

According to the chairman of Republican People's Party Executive Committee, Ghaziz Aldamzharov, "Soldat " encountered new problems after publishing an article called "Participants in the December 1986 events accuse Nazarbaev."

TWO NIGERIAN NATIONALS ARRESTED IN ALMATY THIS WEEK.
Correspondents of RFE/RL quote Bauyrzhan Quatov of the Almaty National Security department as reporting that two Nigerian citizens were arrested in Almaty this week and accused of transporting Pakistani-produced heroin from Kazakhstan to Europe. One of the two men has a Kazakh wife, while the other owns a private shop in the former capital of Kazakhstan. Investigations are continuing.

PRESIDENT NAZARBAEV ATTENDS SHANGHAI FIVE SUMMIT.
According to the Press Service of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry, President Nazarbaev participated in the Shanghai Five summit in Dushanbe on July 5. Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrisov also met separately with his Chinese counterpart and discussed the possible visit of China's Vice President Hu Xin Jiao to Kazakhstan in the end of this month.

PRESIDENT NAZARBAEV TO VISIT SAUDI ARABIA NEXT YEAR.
Kazakhstan's Premier Qasymzhomart Toqayev held talks with visiting Justice Minister of Saudi Arabia Abdallah Ben Mohammed Ben Ibrahim al Sheikh in Astana on 5 July. President Nazarbaev is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia in 2001.

NAZARBAEV GIVES DETAILS OF NEW OIL DEPOSIT.
Visiting Atyrau on 4 July, President Nazarbaev announced that the newly discovered Qashaghan oil-field could contain up to seven billion tons of crude.

The same day, U.S. publications gave details of a new scandal concerning Nazarbaev's bank accounts in Switzerland and elsewhere. According to those publications, the U.S. Justice Department together with Swiss colleagues is investigating a case of illegal financial transactions between U.S. oil giants and top Kazakh officials, including Nazarbaev. They also mentioned former Premiers Akezhan Kazhegeldin and Nurlan Balghymbaev. Balghymbaev, who currently heads Kazakhstan's State oil company KazakhOil, said on 3 July Kazakh TV that the U.S. allegations were politically and economically motivated.

NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL IN ASTANA.
NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson arrived in Astana on 3 July and met for about two hours with President Nazarbaev the following day. Robertson told journalists on 4 July the meeting was very friendly and very productive. He said Kazakhstan's security is very important for NATO, as well as for the whole of Eurasia. Robertson added that Kazakhstan already plays a very important role in the area, but further cooperation between Kazakhstan and NATO should become as special as Kazakhstan's relations with Russia. He said that since Kazakhstan has special relations with Russia, and Russia in its turn has special relations with NATO, all the sides could bring the world much closer. "The Cold War is over," said Mr. Robertson, and "there is no question of partners choosing any more".

Robertson also said that his possible meeting with Uzbek leader Islam Karimov in Tashkent is in doubt due to Karimov's planned participation in the 5 July Shanghai Five summit in Dushanbe, but that he will meet with the Uzbek Defense Minister and other top officials.

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