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Kazakh Report: May 21, 1999


21 May 1999

PRESIDENT NAZARBAYEV HELD TELEPHONE CONVERSATION WITH NEW RUSSIAN PREMIER.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev held a telephone conversation with Sergei Stepashin on May 20. An RFE/RL correspondent in Astana quotes the Presidential press service as saying that the two officials exchanged views on the further development of Kazakh-Russian cooperation, and on strengthening integration processes in the region.

NEW LOANS FROM INTERNATIONAL BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT.
The Kazakh government and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) signed an agreements on two loans in Astana on May 20. According to an RFE/RL correspondent in Astana, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development will grant a $16.5 million loan for reforms in the juridical system of Kazakhstan and a $42.5 million loan to support governmental reform programs in the healthcare system.

The agreements were signed by Kioshi Kodera, director of the Department on Eastern Europe and Central Asia of IBRD. From the Kazakh side the agreements were signed by Justice minister Baurzhan Mukhamedzhanov and Healthcare, Education and Sport minister Qyrymbek Kosherbayev.

KAZAKH DELEGATION IN BAKU AT THE SESSION OF ORGANIZATION FOR ECONOMIC COOPERATION.
A Kazakh delegation led by Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Qasymzhomart Toqayev is participating in the ninth session of the Organization for Economic Cooperation in Baku, Azerbaijan.

According to an RFE/RL correspondent in Almaty, the member states of Organization for Economic Cooperation, namely Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, are discussing trade and economic relation, as well as cooperation in financial area.

OPPOSITION MOVEMENT AZAMAT WAS REGISTERED AS POLITICAL PARTY.
The opposition movement AZAMAT, which was registered as a political party recently, held a press conference in Almaty on May 20. Leaders of the new party criticized the current government of Kazakhstan for its economic program, and said that they are ready to form a new alternative government even now. AZAMAT party chairman Galym Abilseitov said during the press conference that his party could propose a new economic program, which will improve the Kazakh economy.

DELEGATION OF THE SWISS FOREIGN MINISTRY IN KAZAKHSTAN.
A Swiss delegation led by Franc Von Deneken, head of First Political Department of the Swiss Foreign Ministry, started consultations with Kazakh officials on May 19. An RFE/RL correspondent reports from Astana that bilateral economic relations as well as investment possibilities were discussed. The same day, the Swiss delegation met with Kazakh Foreign Minister Qasymzhomart Toqayev.

Kazakhstan asked the Swiss side to help with Kazakhstan's integration into global economy by means of investment. According to a report from Astana, a Kazakh-Swiss joint trade-economy committee will start its activities in the fall.

SEVERAL OPPOSITION PARTIES AND MOVEMENTS SIGN JOINT MEMORANDUM.
An RFE/RL correspondent in Almaty reported on 20 May that several opposition movements and parties signed a joint memorandum on preparation for the upcoming parliamentary elections. The Azat, Azamat, Orleu, and Communist parties and movements say that they would like to coordinate their activities in order to get more support during the parliamentary elections.

In an interview to RFE/RL on 20 May, the leader of Orleu movement, prominent journalist and politician Seydakhmet Quttyqadam, said that the main goal for opposition is not to fight against President Nazarbayev or Premier Balgymbayev, but to fight against the current system.

KAZAKHSTAN'S TOURISM UNION HELD ITS FIRST CONFERENCE IN ASTANA.
The Tourism Union of Kazakhstan held its first conference in Astana on May 19. An RFE/RL correspondent reports that President Nursultan Nazarbayev took part in the conference. Problems faced by Kazakh tourism were discussed. Serik Burkitbayev, Minister of Transport, Communication and Tourism, read a message sent by the President of the World Tourism Organization.

INTERNATIONAL EXERCISES ON EMERGENCY ACTIVITIES DURING EARTHQUAKES STILL UNDERWAY IN ALMATY.
An RFE/RL correspondent reports from Almaty on 20 May that international exercises on emergency activities during possible earthquakes were held in the Zhetisu and Aqsai districts of Almaty on 19-20 May.

The exercises were organized as part of an international seminar dealing with the reaction of the national civil defense system to earthquakes, and sponsored by the US.

VICE PREMIER AND FM QASYMZHOMART TOQAYEV HELD PRESS CONFERENCE.
Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Qasymzhomart Toqayev held a press conference in Astana on 19 May to review recent foreign policy developments, RFE/RL correspondents reported.

Toqayev evaluated recent negotiations between Kazakhstan and China about the water issue as very productive.China plans to divert some water from the Qara [Black] Ertis river, which flows through the territory of China, Kazakhstan and Russia. According to Toqayev, during the first stage of negotiations the two sides made a deal on water issue.

"China has a plan to divert 1 billion cubic meter of water during the first 20 years of the next century. This is just 10 per cent of the river. It will not affect Kazakhstan's economy," said Toqayev. "But," he added, "we should continue these negotiations." The Kazakh FM said that the next stage of the talks will be held in Kazakhstan, either in Astana, or Almaty.

According to previous reports from RFE/RL correspondents in Astana and Almaty, the talks on water issue could be continued in July and October, when Toqayev and President Nursultan Nazarbayev will visit China.

PARLIAMENTARY NEWS.
The Kazakh Parliament has begun discussing the draft Law On Terrorism proposed by Nurtay Abyqayev, the chairman of Kazakhstan's National Security Committee. Abyqayev said that events in neighboring Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan show that in Kazakhstan a law on terrorism should be introduced as soon as possible.

An international seminar on tax and financial matters in Kazakhstan is being held in the Kazakh Parliament building on May 19. According to an RFE/RL correspondent in Astana, several international organizations are participating the seminar.

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