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Kazakh Report: May 18, 1999


18 May 1999

INVESTMENT SUMMIT UNDER AUSPICES OF EBRD TO BE HELD IN KAZAKHSTAN.
The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and ten leading global companies will hold an Investment Summit in Almaty on June 3-4, RFE/RL correspondents reported on 18 May. Investment opportunities in Kazakhstan will be discussed. Last year more that 4,000 investors from all over the world took part in such a gathering in Kazakhstan.

KAZAKH SECURITY SERVICE FOUND A SECRET RADIO RECEIVER ON THE ROOF OF THE BUILDING, WHERE GERMAN, FRENCH AND BRITISH EMBASSIES SITUATED.
Quoting "31st Channel" TV, RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty reported on 18 May that the Kazakh National Security Committee (KNG) has found a secret radio receiver on the roof of the building, where German, French and British Embassies to Kazakhstan are situated. According to the KNB officials, this receiver could be used to hear conversations inside the KNB building, as well as secret information coming to the KNB. The KNB officials said that the receiver belongs to one of the embassies, but did not elaborate.

OPPOSITION PARTIES HELD CONFERENCE ON CURRENT SITUATION IN KAZAKHSTAN.
Several opposition parties and movements, as well as cultural centers of national minorities held conference called "Kazakhstan is our Motherland" in Almaty on May 17. The People�s Republican party, the Communist party, and the Azat and Azamat movements discussed the current situation in the country and the upcoming parliamentary elections.

FIRST REACTION FROM KAZAKH OFFICIAL TO U.S. CONGRESSIONAL HEARING ON DEMOCRATIZATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN KAZAKHSTAN.
In an interview to Khabar television (which is headed by President Nazarbayev's daughter Dariga) broadcast last weekend, Kazakh Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Qasymzhomart Toqayev mentioned the U.S. congressional hearing on democratization and human rights in Kazakhstan. He was the first Kazakh official to express any reaction to this hearing in Washington. During the hearing the U.S. Congress members criticized the January 10 Kazakh presidential election and vowed to watch upcoming parliamentary elections. In the interview with Khabar, the Kazakh Foreign Minister criticized opposition leaders, namely former Prime Minister and leader of People's Republican Party of Kazakhstan Akezhan Kazhegeldin and one of the leaders of Azamat opposition movement Petr Svoik. The U.S. congressional hearing on democratization and human rights in Kazakhstan was held on May 6 in Washington. During the hearing, deputy special adviser to the Secretary of State for the New Independent States Ross Wilson said that there are four "realistic, achievable" steps the Kazakh government can take to build a better democratic foundation. Wilson said Kazakhstan should promptly bring its legislation on elections, non-governmental organizations and the media into accordance with international standards; schedule elections far enough in advance to give candidates time to prepare; promptly register new parties in order to ensure broad participation in elections; and widen the central and local elections commissions to include non-governmental representatives.

DELEGATION OF PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OF EUROPEAN COUNCIL IN KAZAKHSTAN.
A delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council led by British parliamentary David Atkinson met with Omirnek Baigeldi, chairman of the Upper House of the Kazakh Parliament, in Astana on May 17. RFE/RL correspondents report that during a meeting with members of the Kazakh parliament, the delegation of European Council promised to send observers to the Kazakh parliamentary elections to be held this fall.

ECONOMIC COOPERATION ORGANIZATION TO HOLD SESSION ON MAY 20-21.
According to information provided by the Kazakh Foreign Ministry, the ninth session of Organization of Economic Cooperation is to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, on May 20-21. Kazakhstan currently holds the chair of this organization, which includes Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Trade and economic relations and financial cooperation between member states will be discussed during the session.

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