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Kazakh Report: May 28, 1999


28 May 1999

KAZAKH PREMIER HOPES TO MEET WITH UZBEK PRESIDENT.
RFE/RL correspondents report that Kazakh Premier Nurlan Balghymbayev met with his Uzbek counterpart Utkir Sultanov in Tashkent yesterday. The sides discussed Kazakh*Uzbek border issue, problems around Uzbek natural gas delivery to the south Kazakhstan oblasts and other matters. There was no noticeable step forward in all the discussed matters reportedly. Kazakh side asked Uzbek officials to allow to buy the Uzbek natural gas for $30 per one thousand cubic meters. The Uzbek Prime Minister refused to accept the Kazakh proposal. Nurlan Balghymbayev told Uzbek officials that the ways of possible purchase of natural gas from Turkmenistan for cheaper price were discussed with representatives of Ashgabat. Nurlan Balghymbayev is still in Uzbekistan, visiting Bukhara area. His press service reports that the meeting of Nurlan Balghymbayev with Uzbek President Islam Karimov today, May 28 could be possible. Premier Balghymbayev is expected to move to Shymkent, Southern Kazakhstan Oblast tonight. Meanwhile...

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed a Decree yesterday, May 27, according to which the Kazakh*Uzbek Treaty on Eternal Friendship signed by Kazakh and Uzbek Presidents on October 30, 1998, was affirmed.

KAZAKH NATIONAL CURRENCY PLUMMETS AGAIN.
RFE/RL correspondents report from Kazakhstan that the Kazakh National currency - Tenge - faced problems at trading on the Kazakh Stock Exchange markets on 27 May. The Tenge fell by 10 points in a single day. On May 27, food and clothes prices at Almaty markets and shops changed several times. At the end of the day, the official rate of the Kazakh Tenge was 131 Tenges 41 Tiyins for $1.

125 KAZAKH FAMILIES BROUGHT FROM AFGHANISTAN TO BE SETTLED DOWN IN QOSTANAY OBLAST.
RFE/RL correspondents quote the Kazakh State Agency of Migration and Demography as reporting that on May 28, 125 Kazakh families brought to Kazakhstan from Afghanistan will be admitted by several villages of Qostanay Oblast, North Kazakhstan. Since Kazakhstan gained independence in 1991, thousands of ethnic Kazakhs have been flocking to Kazakhstan for permanent residence from China, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Russian Federation and other countries.

TAJIK AUTHORITIES HELD PRESS CONFERENCE AT THE KAZAKH STATE AGENCY OF MIGRATION AND DEMOGRAPHY.
The authorities of Tajikistan reportedly held a press conference at the Kazakh state Agency on Migration and Demography on May 27, where they called on all Tajik refugees scattered over Kazakh territory to return home. During the Civil War in Tajikistan, about 16,000 residents of Tajikstan fled to Kazakhstan. Now the Tajik government is trying to persuade them to return to Tajikistan by promising loans and mortgages for new homes and financial support for repatriants.

KAZAKH PREMIER IN VISITS UZBEKISTAN.
RFE/RL correspondents quote the press service of the Kazakh Cabinet as reporting that Kazakh Premier Nurlan Balghymbaev left Almaty for Tashkent on 27 May. The main issues to be discussed between the Kazakh and Uzbek top officials are natural gas delivery and the demarcation of the border between the two countries. Kazakh Foreign Minister Qasymzhomart Toqayev told RFE/RL correspondents earlier last week, that the issue of the Kazakh-Uzbek border demarcation is one of the most complicated questions in relations between Astana and Tashkent.

RUSSIA TO CUT QUOTAS FOR THE KAZAKH OIL.
RFE/RL correspondents quote Kazakh and Russian sources on 27 May as reporting that Russia is going to cut quotas for Kazakh oil being transported to the West through the Russian pipelines. Last December Yevgenii Primakov, then Russia's Premier, and his Kazakh counterpart Nurlan Balghymbaev signed an agreement according to which the volume of the Kazakh oil transported through the Russian pipelines was to be increased to 7 million tons. But due to the fall in oil prices on the international markets, Russia made a decision to annul that agreement. Balghymbaev is reportedly scheduled to leave for Moscow to start talks on the matter in the nearest future.

A BANKER WITH A HUGE AMOUNT OF CASH ARRESTED AT ALMATY AIRPORT.
Asqar Nasenov, who is Chairman of one of Almaty's Banks, was arrested at Almaty airport on the morning of 26 May with $60,000 in cash in his bag. He is accused of trying to smuggle hard currency to Russia. Mr. Nasenov denies those accusations, saying that the dollars was place in his bag by unknown persons after he passed the customs control. One of the Customs officers confirmed that some unknown persons put something into Mr. Nasenov's luggage. Investigations are underway.

NEW KAZAKH AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE APPOINTED.
RFE/RL correspondents report from Astana on 27 May that Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has issued a decree appointing the former Governor of Atyrau Oblast, Ravil Shyrdabayev as Kazakhstan's new Ambassador to Ukraine.

U.S STATE DEPARTMENT'S SPECIAL ENVOY IN ASTANA.
U.S. State Department Special Envoy Stephen Sestanovich. arrived to Astana late on 25 May and held talks the following day with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, Foreign Minister Qasymzhomart Toqaev, Defense Minister Mukhtar Altynbaev and other officials. Mr. Sestanovic told RFE/RL correspondents that many issues were discussed during his talks with the Kazakh President. He added that the United States is very concerned about independence, sovereignty and democratic reforms in Kazakhstan, as well as other Central Asian states.

According to one of the documents signed by the U.S. and Kazakh officials, American technology and equipment will be brought to the Kazakh borders in order to strengthen border guarding. In addition, Kazakh and American citizens will no longer need special invitations to obtain entry visas for each others' country. President Nazarbayev told Mr. Sestanovich that he is committed to amending the Kazakh election laws before the parliamentary elections scheduled for the end of this year.

FORMER PRIME MINISTER AKEZHAN KAZHEGELDIN FACES ACCUSATIONS.
According to information provided by RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty on 26 May, former premier Akezhan Kazhegeldin, who is now Chairman of the Kazakh People's Republican Party, is is summoned before the Almaty City Court on June 1. RFE/RL correspondents report that Kazhegeldin's lawyer Vitaliy Voronov has been given a letter to that effect.

Kazakh National Security Committee chairman Nurtay Abyqayev told "Kazakhstanskaya Pravda" newspaper that two criminal cases have been opened against Akezhan Kazhegeldin: one on alleged tax evasion and the second to determine the origin of Mr. Kazhegeldin's reportedly enormous possessions abroad. The Almaty TV channel "31 KANAL" reported that a special investigating team has been formed by officers of the Kazakh National Security Committee and Interior Ministry, the main task of which to investigate Mr. Kazhegeldin's case.

CHAIRWOMAN OF THE KAZAKH CENTRAL ELECTIONS COMMITTEE MEETS LEADERS OF POLITICAL PARTIES.
Zaghipa Baliyeva, the Chairwoman of the Kazakh Central Election Committee, met with representatives of the Kazakh political parties and movements in Almaty on 25 May. RFE/RL correspondents report that Mrs. Baliyeva briefed the politicians on the specifics of the new Kazakh laws on elections. She said that 43 separate types of punishment for minor offenses or crimes could disqualify potential candidates from participating in elections at any level.

GOVERNOR OF ZHAMBYL OBLAST DISTRIBUTED MONEY AMONG HUNGER STRIKERS.
Serik Umbetov, the Governor of Zhambyl Oblast in southern Kazakhstan, has reportedly distributed about 50,000 Tenges ($450) among the hunger strikers of the Phosphorus Producing Plant in Taraz City. The hunger strikers had been on hunger strike for almost three weeks to demand overdue salaries and social allowances. They agreed to suspend their hunger strike until 10 June after Umbetov promised to resolve the salaries payment by that date. Meanwhile, 42 hunger strikers at a similar industrial facility in Shymkent City demanding their salaries and allowances were dismissed by local police last week.

ALMATY POWER CONSOLIDATED TO RAISE UTILITIES COSTS.
The Kazakh-Belgian Joint Company called Almaty Power Consolidated is going to raise costs for cold and hot water, electricity and heating starting June 1. RFE/RL correspondents quote local mass media as reporting that the management of the Almaty Power Consolidated has already sent a letter to Almaty City's anti-monopoly Committee asking its permission to start raising costs.

Almaty Power Consolidated is known as an affiliate of the Belgian Tractabel Company and controls the heating and electricity supply system of Almaty Oblast.

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