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Kazakh Report: July 13, 1999


13 July 1999

KAZAKH-RUSSIAN STANDOFF ON BAIKONUR CONTINUES.
Negotiations between Kazakh and Russian top officials on the consequences of the 5 July expolsion of a Russian PROTON rocket launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome gave no noticeable results yesterday. The Chief of Russia's Space Research Center, Yurii Koptev, met with Kazakh officials, including chairman of the Kazakh State Commission on Investigations of the PROTON rocket's explosion on July 5, Vice Premier Alexander Pavlov. Kazakh officials again stressed that Kazakhstan will remain firm on its position to suspend all the operations at the Baikonur Space Complex until all the consequences of the explosion last week are over. The Russian side accuses Kazakhstan of exaggerating the consequences. Meanwhile the Kazakh commission says that at least 42 tons of hepthil - liquid fuel used by PROTON rocket have been spilled over the Qaraghandy Oblast of Kazakhstan. Leader of TABIGHAT (Nature) party of Kazakhstan Mels Eleusizov told RFE/RL correspondents on 13 July that just 1 gram of hepthil is able to destroy ecological background of 1 cubic kilometer space. The Kazakh State Commission to investigate the accident's consequences is reportedly split into two groups, one of which thinks that Russia should pay off all its debts to Kazakhstan for Baikonur lease and allocate finance for the liquidation 5 July accident. The Second group demands to let Russia continue rocket launches from Baikonur, taking into consideration "friendly relations between the two countries". Meanwhile...

RUSSIAN PREMIER SERGEI STEPASHIN IS SURE THAT THE ROCKET EXPLOSION IS A MINOR PROBLEM COMPARED WITH THE LOCUST INVASION TO THE RUSSIAN OBLASTS FROM THE KAZAKH TERRITORY.
Clouds of locusts from Eastern, Western and South Kazakhstan reached Astana � the capital. RFE/RL correspondents report from Astana that even some buildings in the Kazakh capital, including the National Press Club are densely covered by locusts on 13 July. Local administration is trying to get rid of the insects using chemicals. Astana's parks and kindergartens are affected by the invaders.

Meanwhile one more type of insect started bothering inhabitants of the former capital and the outskirts of Almaty. RFE/RL correspondents report from the area that local farmers started complaining of an invasion of SHPANKA � red-headed beetle. The insect is very dangerous for sugar-beet and potato fields.

KAZAKH PREMIER HELD SESSION ON SITUATION AT EKIBASTUZ POWER STATION.
On July 12, Kazakh Prime Minister Nurlan Balghymbayev held a special session on economic and social situation in Ekibastuz City, Pavlodar Oblast, North Kazakhstan. Kazakh Minister of Energy, Trade and Industry Mukhtar Abliyazov and local administration of Ekibastuz area took part in the session. 42 workers of Ekibastuz Power Station have been being on hunger strike for more than a fortnight. They demand payment of their overdue salaries for the last two years. Abliyazov was instructed by the Kazakh Premier to pay off all the overdue debts to the power station's workers in one week.

HOMELESS FAMILIES IN ALMATY DEMAND BUILDINGS OF THE CLOSED KINDERGARTENS TO BE PRIVATIZED BY THEMSELVES FOR FREE.
Eighteen homeless families of Almaty's PORSHEN factory entered building of a closed kindergarten #82 of the former Kazakh capital on 12 July. They demand the premises be given to them for free. The same day, dozens teachers and medical specialists in Almaty occupied a dormitory building situated at the intercession of Seyfullin and Vinogradov Streets. They also demand the dormitory to be given to them for residence.

LEFTIST MOVEMENTS AND PARTIES OF KAZAKHSTAN HELD SESSION.
Leaders of leftist political unions and parties, namely leader of the Workers Movement Madel Ismailov, Chief of Kazakhstan�s Slavic organizations and Cossacks Union Victor Mikhailov, Member of the Kazakh Communist Party's Central Committee Kenes Bayghabylov, held session in Astana's Democracy House on July 12, RFE/RL correspondents in the capital reported. They said that all the leftist organizations were united by one block, which would take part in the Parliamentary elections scheduled for September 17 and October 10 this year.

ALMATY AIRPORT BURNS.
Kazakhstan's largest airport in Almaty City was completely destroyed by fire during the night of 9-10 July, RFE/RL corresondents reported..The fire occurred at 11:30 PM on 9 July and was extinguished by 7:00 AM the morning of 10 July. It is not clear yet what caused the fire. Only the small building used for international flights and Almaty City's Air�Station (Aerovokzal) are operating currently. An airport security officer, who asked not to be mentioned by name, told RFE/RL correspondents on 10 July that all flights had resumed that morning and passengers were being registered at the Air�Station and were being brought to the airport runways by buses. Investigations are underway. According to RFE/RL correspondents, the building of the airport was burned to ashes, and has to be fully renovated. The building is surrounded by police, and nobody is allowed to enter the premises.

BRIEFING ON RUSSIAN ROCKET INCIDENT
Kazakh Vice Premier Alexander Pavlov held a short press briefing on the Russian Proton rocket explosion in Astana on July 12. Mr. Pavlov said that Kazakhstan would stay firm on its position, which is to ban any sort of operation at the Baykonur Space Complex for the time being. A couple of hours earlier Vice Premier Pavlov and some other officials and experts of Kazakhstan together with a special commission, which arrived from Moscow, left Astana, the Kazakh capital for Qaraghandy Oblast, where debris from the rocket landed. Inhabitants of the local villages and towns may start being evacuated soon.

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