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Kazakh Report: December 9, 2000


9 December 2000

KAZAKH PARLIAMENT SENATE DELEGATIONS LEAVES FOR SAINT-PETERSBURG.
A delegation of the Kazakh Parliament's Upper Chamber (Senate) led by speaker Oralbay Abdikarim left for Saint-Petersburg on 8 December to participate in the 16th session of the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly. Human rights, employment and travelling across CIS and the CIS law on military mobilisation are on the agenda. That law will be adopted within the framework of the CIS Collective Security Treaty.

FOURTH SESSION OF KAZAKHSTAN'S FOREIGN INVESTORS' COUNCIL HELD
Kazakhstan's Foreign Investors Council held its fourth session in Almaty on 8 December. President Nursultan Nazarbaev chaired the session, at which a Code for Foreign Investors was to be adopted, according to Dulat Quanyshev, the head of Kazakhstan's Investments Agency. According to the Code, all international companies working in Kazakhstan will have to abide by Kazakhstan's Development Strategy.

Kazakhstan's Foreign Investors Council was established in May, 1998. International companies have reportedly invested more than $2 billion in Kazakhstan's economy.

KAZAKH STATE LAW ACADEMY MARKS INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY.
On December 8, Kazakhstan's State Law Academy held an international scientific conference devoted to International Human Righjts Day, which is marked on 10 December. Professors, students of the Academy, and experts from other Central Asian states took part in the conference. Academy rector and former Supreme Judge Maqsut Narikbaev told RFE/RL that Kazakhstan has been doing its best to adapt itself to international standards when working to establish the rule of law. He added that frequent Western criticism of human rights situation in Kazakhstan is in many cases "groundless," but nonetheless agreed with RFE/RL correspondents that "sometimes human rights abuse cases took place in the country." According to Narikbaev, the main role of any court in any country is to protect human rights, that is why every country must have courts and a legal system.

KAZAKH PREMIER MEETS WITH VISITING IRANBIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER.
Kazakhstan's Premier Qasymzhomart Toqaev held talks in Astana on 7 December with a visiting Iranian delegation led by Iran's Vice Foreign Minister Sadyq Kharrazi. At a briefing held right after those talks, the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister told RFE/RL that the main objective of the Iranian delegation's visit was to discuss the "wide opportunities to develop economic and trade relations between Kazakhstan and Islamic Republic of Iran." Kharrazi also said that the issue of defining the Caspian Sea's status should be discussed by all the Caspian states. He added that Iran's special envoy and specialists on oil and the Caspian Sea will visit Astana in the very near future, having recently visited Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. He said that after Kazakhstan, the Iranian experts will visit Moscow for further discussions on the status of the Caspian Sea. "Kazakhstan and Iran have very large opportunities for establishing and developing economic and political co-operation," Kharrazi told RFE/RL.

IRANIAN AMBASSADOR AND VICE FM HELD PRESS CONFERENCE.
Visiting Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Sadyk Kharrazi and Iranian Ambassador to Kazakhstan Mortaza Saffari held a press conference in Almaty on December 8. Kharrazi said that Iran is going to increase its political and economic cooperation with India, adding that India is one of the most important countries in the region. According to Kharrazi, India's political and economic ties with Russia and Kazakhstan are very wide and strong, which allows Tehran to get closer with that country as well. The Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister criticised U.S. policy in the Caspian region, adding that the Washington-backed Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline is not practical.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF 'SOLDAT' NEWSPAPER SUMMONED TO INTERIOR MINISTRY'S MILITARY DEPARTMENT.
On December 7, Ermurat Bapi, the Editor-in-Chief of the "SolDat" newspaper, was summoned to the Kazakh Interior Affairs Ministry's Military Department in Almaty. Bapi told RFE/RL that police officials acquainted him with the documents of investigations into "SolDat," which have been completed, which, Bapi said, means the trial will start in the very near future. Kazakh officials accuse "SolDat" and its Editor-in-Chief of having printed "materials damaging the dignity and honour of the Kazakh President." An article written by well known Kazakh dissident Karishal Assanov, who criticised Nursultan Nazarbaev for mistakes in his domestic and foreign policy, was printed by "SolDat" last summer. Another article was about a new book on Nazarbaev's role in persecution of young Kazakhs during Almaty events of December 1986 (see "RFE/RL Kazakh Report," 3 November 2000). "SolDat" had to suspend its operations since then, after all the publishing houses in the country refused to print the weekly.

AUTHORS' RIGHTS DISCUSSED AT NATIONAL PRESS CLUB.
Representatives of Kazakhstan's Committee to Protect Authors' Rights held a press conference at the National Press Club in Almaty on 7 December to discuss reports that policemen have been racketeering audio and video shop owners in Almaty. It was also said that the license issuance system should be restructured in order to stop illegal licensing cases and bribery.

ALMATY NATIONAL SECURITY COMMITTEE: TALAPKER IMANBAYEV RECEIVED POLITICAL ASYLUM IN U.S.
According to a statement made on 6 December by the Chief of Kazakh National Security Committee's Department in Almaty Oblast, Rakhat Aliyev (who is also President Nazarbayev's son-in-law), Talapker Imanbaev, the former Chief of Kazakhstan's Medical Insurance Fund obtained political asylum in the United States in July this year. Talapker Imanbaev disappeared two years ago together with $3.5 million from the Medical Insurance Fund. Kazakh officials tried to trace him through Interpol that time. Now Aliyev claims the United States granted Imanbaev political asylum. RFE/RL tried to obtain clarification from the National Security Committee's Press Service in Almaty, but the duty officer said that he had never prepared any sort of press releases on the matter, adding though that he had nothing to add to his "leader's statement."

U.S. DELEGATION VISITS ASTANA.
On December 5, a U.S. delegation led by Steven Sestanovich, the U.S. State Department's Special Envoy for the Newly Independent states, held talks in Astana with Kazakhstan's National Security Council Secretary Marat Tazhin and Foreign Minister Erlan Idrisov. At a press conference after the talks, Idrisov told journalists that regional security in Central Asia, energy and other matters had been discussed. Sestanovich said: "This morning we have had discussions about regional security questions, about energy issues, and other areas of economic co-operation, about democratisation. We have extended our agreement which provides for co-operation in the area of threat reduction. Let me add, that we also looked ahead, because we have another decade of cooperation ahead of us, in which we aim to deepen our cooperation. And we identified a number of areas, where we are likely to be able to do that. In deepening our co-operation obviously we need to find right mechanisms and framework for doing that. In the past decade the bi-national commission has served us very well. And I think new administration is likely to see important advantages in continuing to use this mechanism for advancing U.S.- Kazakhstani relations..."

Idrisov told journalists that the planned Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline as well as U.S. financial support for the Kazakh Oil producing sector were discussed at the meeting.

Sestanovich was forced by bad weather on 6 December to cancel his flight to Almaty, where he was to have held talks with President Nursultan Nazarbaev. Vladimir Zhandauletov, the Chief of the Presidential Press Service in Almaty, told journalists that Sestanovich instead held telephone talks with the Kazakh President.

OFFICE OF UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES HELD PRESS CONFERENCE.
On December 6, Gul-Abdul Karim, who represents the Office of UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Kazakhstan, held a press conference in Almaty devoted to that Office's 50th anniversary. Karim told journalists that the Office was established in December 14, 1950, initially to regulate problems faced by refugees who had left their homes during World War II. Erkin Zhiyenbaev, who heads the Refugees Department at Kazakhstan's Migration Agency, told journalists that there are 871 refugees registered officially at his Department. He added that 144 immigrants to Kazakhstan have been refused refugee status this year.

SUCCESSORS OF PROMINENT KAZAKHS GATHERED AT DOSTYQ-FRIENDSHIP HOUSE.
Successors, grandchildren and other relatives of prominent Kazakh intellectuals, politicians, philosophers and writers gathered in Almaty's Dostyq-Friendship House on December 6. The Assembly of Peoples of Kazakhstan granted special documents to the young relatives of such prominent Kazakhs of the last century as geographer Shoqan Ualikhanov, Alash-Orda government head Alikhan Bokeykhan, writer Saken Seifullin (who like Bokeykhan was a victim of Stalin's purges), former Communist Party of Kazakhstan First Secretary Dinmukhammed Kunaev and others, confirming their relationship to the "prominent Kazakhs of the Century."

COMPETITION OF HOLY KORAN READERS HELD IN ALMATY.
On December 6, dozens of young Kazakhs took part in a special competition among the readers of the Holy Koran in Almaty. Each of the country's 14 oblasts sent 2 -3 persons to the competition, which was organised by Kazakhstan's Religion Department. It was devoted to the Holy month of Ramadan and will be held every year on a regular basis.

CHAIRMAN OF PARLIAMENT'S COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS MEETS WITH CUBAN AMBASSADOR.
On December 5, Sharip Omarov - Chairman of Kazakh Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs held talks with Blas Nabel Perez, the Cuban Ambassador to Kazakhstan. Omarov acquainted the Cuban Ambassador with the activities of the Parliament. The two countries' Laws on mass media, amendments to Tax law, the law on land, the law on regional self-government and other amendments approved by the Kazakh Parliament's Lower Chamber (Mazhilis) were discussed.

CONFERENCE ON ISLAM IN CENTRAL ASIA HELD IN ALMATY.
An international conference on the History of Islam in Central Asia organised by Kazakhstan's Presidential Agency of Strategic Research took place in Almaty on 5 December. Chingiz Aytmatov, a well-known Kyrgyz writer and Kyrgyz Ambassador to Benelux, France, UNESCO, NATO and EU, Marat Shakhanov, the Kazakh Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, and Absattar- Haji Derbisaliev, Leader of Kazakhstan's Muslims were among the participants. Nurakhmet Mutaliev, Director of Arab-Kazakh University, said at the conference that the main problem faced by Muslims in Kazakhstan and other Central Asian states is the lack of truly educated persons among mullahs in the area. The economic hardships faced by the former Soviet republics of Central Asia were named as the main reason for the appearance of radical religious extremists in the region.

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