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Kazakh Report: May 25, 1999


25 May 1999

US OFFICIAL EXPECTED IN ASTANA TONIGHT.
RFE/RL correspondents quote the U.S. Embassy's Consulate in Astana as reporting that U.S. State Department Special Envoy Stephen Sestanovich is expected to arrive in the Kazakh capital in the evening of 25 May. On his arrival a special round table discussion devoted to press freedom in Kazakhstan, specifically the Law on the Press adopted recently by the Kazakh Parliament, will be held. U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan Richard Jones and Chief of USIS in Kazakhstan William Walker are expected to take part. Representatives of all independent newspapers and journals are also reportedly invited to participate in the discussion. On May 26, Mr. Sestanovich is scheduled to meet with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev and other Kazakh officials.

HUMAN RIGHTS BUREAU CRITICIZES KAZAKH GOVERNMENT.
RFE/RL correspondents report from Almaty that Zhemis Turmaghambetova, a representative of the Kazakh Bureau on Human Rights and Rule of Law, harshly criticized the Kazakh authorities for having returned three illegal immigrants (three ethnic Uyghurs) to China. The three Uyghurs attempted to ask for political asylum in Kazakhstan, but were expelled to China and reportedly shot. According to Ms Turmaghambetova, such cases should be discussed and researched by courts very thoroughly and only then should the appropriate decision be adopted. Kazakhstan had returned the three Uyghurs without any trial. Five more ethnic Uyghurs known as illegal immigrants from China are also expecting to be sent back to China. Ms Turmaghambetova said at a press conference on 24 May in Almaty that in the last couple of years, Kazakhstan has lost its reputation as a "democratically oriented nation." As a result, she said, foreign investments into the Kazakh economy have decreased.

KAZAKH AGENCY ON INVESTMENTS HOPES TO GET $1 BILLION THIS YEAR.
RFE/RL correspondents report from Almaty that the Chief of the Kazakh State Agency on Foreign Investments, Anuar Saydenov, and his deputy Dulat Quanyshev said at the TV Bridge called Almaty- Astana on 24 May that the Agency is expecting to receive around $1 billion investments from abroad this year. They noted that the volume of the foreign investments last year was about $272 million, while in the first three months of this year about $252 million has been invested in the Kazakh economy. They also said that statements about the decline of the foreign investments in the Kazakh economy are "far from being the truth".

PRESIDENTIAL COUNCIL ON INVESTMENTS TO HOLD ITS SECOND SESSION NEXT WEEK.
RFE/RL correspondents report from Almaty that the Kazakh Presidential Council on Investments is expected to start its Second Session on June 2. Afterwards, on June 3-4, Almaty Investments Summit will hold an International Forum. EBRD's Chief Ford Keller is expected to take part.

ORLEU MOVEMENT'S LEADER RETURNED FROM TARAZ CITY.
Leaders of the ORLEU political party returned from Taraz city this week. According to them, all the 12 participants in the hunger strike at Phosphorus Producing plant were dismissed by police on May 20 and "punished" by the local authorities. Ten of them were reportedly reprimanded and warned by the local courts. Two of them, namely Rakhman Alghambayev and Nikolay Chernogorov, were fined. Mr. Chernogorov spent five days in jail. The strikers were trying to force the Plant's administration and local governor to pay off the debts of the plant to the workers.

OTAN PARTY TRIES TO MERGE WITH POKOLENIYE MOVEMENT?
OTAN, the pro-Nazarbayev party led by former Kazakh Prime Minister Sergei Tereshchenko, is trying to persuade the leaders of the POKOLENIYE (Generation) Movement to merge with it in order to take part in the Parliamentary elections jointly. RFE/RL correspondents quote Irina Savostina, a leader of POKOLENIYE movement which unites mainly elderly citizens of Kazakhstan, as saying that OTAN leaders had tried several timers to negotiate with her about POKOLENIYE aligning with the OTAN party. Mrs. Savostina reportedly rejected those proposals, saying that her movement would never take part in any elections.

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