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Kazakh Report: November 16, 1999


16 November 1999

KAZAKH FOREIGN MINISTRY MAKES STATEMENT ON CAPACITY TO PRODUCE NUCLEAR WEAPONS.
Correspondents of RFE/RL quote the press service of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry as reporting that Kazakhstan's Foreign Affairs Ministry issued an official statement about its nuclear potential on November 15. The statement was made after some international news agencies started quoting former Premier of Kazakhstan Akezhan Kazhegeldin as having said when meeting with U.S politicians recently that Kazakhstan was still capable of pruducing nuclear weapons, driving at the point that some foreign investments might have been used for that purpose by the Kazakh government. In its statement issued yesterday, the Kazakh Foreign ministry said that Kazakhstan had destroyed all its nuclear weapons and stopped developing any sort of nuclear production facilities and infrastructures due to the documents signed by the Kazakh and American officials in 1993. That same year Kazakhstan announced itself to be a non-nuclear state.

KAZAKH LABOUR AND SOCIAL PROTECTION MINISTER ON PENSION FUNDS.
Nikolay Radostovets - Kazakh Labour and Social Protection Minister - told journalists on 15 November that by January 1 of this year about 4.5 million working citizens of Kazakhstan had invested about 58.4 billion Tenges ($1 equals 140 Tenges currently) to 15 different state and private pension funds of the country. He added that 3.5 million more citizens had been expected to invest in the funds but they had not. Minister Radostovets called upon all Kazakh citizens to start investing in the pension funds in order to provide for their future pensions.

KAZAKH NATIONAL BANK ISSUES 5,000 TENGE BANK NOTES.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that the Kazakh National Bank issued a new bank note on 15 November, the 6th anniversarday of the Kazakh National Currency.s Kazakhs introduced their national currency, the Tenge, on November 15, 1993. The new bank note is a 5,000 Tenge note. Representative of the Kazakh National bank, Mr. Mazhitov told journalists on 15 November that the issuance of the new bank not had not been caused by consequences of the financial crisis faced by all the former Soviet states last year. According to Mr. Mazhitov, the new bank note was issued because of the necessity to support domestic goods producers and for simplifying financial operations in the country. Chairman of the Kazakh National Bank Grigoriy Marchenko told journalists the same day that the national currency, the Tenge, had become more stable in recent weeks. The current rate is 140 Tenges to the dollar.

OSCE AND UN BEGIN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON HUMAN RIGHTS.
According to information provided by correspondents of RFE/RL, representative boards of the OSCE and UN in Almaty organized an international conference on human rights in Rahat- Palace Hotel of the former Kazakh capital on November 15. Human rights activists and leaders of human rights organizations and movements from 25 countries are reported to be taking part in the work of the conference. Sholpan Sarmurzina, who calls herself a Kazakh human rights activist, organized an protest action in front of the building of the Rahat-Palace, accusing the conference's coordinators of "forgetting to invite her to the conference".

AMOUNT OF RUSSIA'S FINANCIAL COMPENSATION FOR THE PROTON ROCKET BLAST OVER KAZAKH TERRITORY ANNOUNCED.
Chief of the Kazakh Air and Space Research Agency - Meyirbek Moldabekov - told journalists on November 15 that Kazakh and Russian experts had come to conclusion that financial compensation for results of the Russian Proton Rocket explosion over Central Kazakhstan on October 27 would anount to 19 million Tenges, which is about $36,000. Kazakh and Russian officials are expected to fix the amount of compensation officially on November 17 during negotiations which will take place in Baikonur, Central Kazakhstan. Russian Vice Premier Iliya Klebanov and his Kazakh counterpart Alexander Pavlov will sign the documents on the accident.

FORMER CAPITAL OF KAZAKHSTAN TO FACE NATURAL GAS SHORTAGE.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that Almaty is going to face problems with natural gas supplies in the next couple of weeks. The natural gas supply was switched off in Shymkent - the administrative center of South Kazakhstan Oblast on November 15. Cold weather forced the southern regions of Kazakhstan and neighboring Kyrgyzstan to overuse natural gas transported through Uzbekistan. This will soon affect the former capital of Kazakhstan.

WORLD WAR II VETERAN DIED IN STUDENTS DORMITORY IN ALMATY.
74 year-old World War II veteran David Sharno died in a tiny room of a students dormitory in Almaty on November 15. Correspondents of RFE/RL report that Mr. Sharno had been waiting for an apartment to be granted to him by District officials for about 10 years. Auezov District governor, Mr. Ustyugov, is reported to have kept promising Mr. Sharno a single-room apartment. Mr. Sharno's last humble request sent to Almaty's Mayor Victor Khrapunov after surgery recently was to take care of his burial. But correspondents of RFE/RL report that inhabitants of the dormitory, where Mr. Sharno died organized the burial themselves with their own money. This is only one example of the current situation affecting the elderly, war veterans and pensioners in Kazakhstan.

UKRAINIAN AMBASSADOR TO KAZAKHSTAN HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE IN ALMATY ON RESULTS OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN UKRAINE.
Ukrainian Ambassador to Kazakhstan Victor Bogatyr held a press conference in Almaty on 15 November He introduced the preliminary results of the second round of residential elections in Ukraine that were held the previous day. He also said that Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev already had a telephone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kuchma, who won the elections. During the press conference the Ukrainian ambassador mentioned that he is not the first Ukrainian envoy to Kazakhstan. "The first Ukrainian envoy to Kazakhstan was Taraz Shevchenko," he said.

MORE ETHNIC CHECHENS ARRIVE IN KAZAKHSTAN SINCE RUSSIA'S MILITARY CAMPAIGN IN CHECHNYA.
Correspondents of RFE/RL in Almaty report that more and more ethnic Chechens are arriving in Kazakhstan since Russia began its military campaign against Chechnya. There are 70,000 ethnic Chechens in Kazakhstan. RFE/RL correspondents quote several analysts as saying that the figure could become 300,000, since there is no in sight to Russia's campaign. Only in Almaty 5,000 Chechens officially registered as a newcomers recently. Chechens have beeb living in Kazakhstan since the Soviet anti-Chechen repressions in the 1940's and have very good feelings about Kazakhs and Kazakhstan.

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