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Kazakh Report: November 19, 1999


19 November 1999

KAZAKH PRESIDENT ATTENDED CEREMONY OF CASPIAN PIPELINE AGREEMENT SIGNED BY LEADERS OF AZERBAIJAN, GEORGIA AND TURKEY IN ISTANBUL.
A special correspondent of RFE/RL in Istanbul reports that on November 18 leaders of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey signed preliminary governmental and commercial agreements authorizing a pipeline to send Caspian oil to the Western market bypassing Russia. The event was held in the framework of the OSCE summit that started in Istanbul on 18 November. Presidents of the United States and Kazakhstan were present at the ceremony in which the signing took place.

The Kazakh President in his speech after the document's signing said that the main thing for all of the Caspian states was independence. He added that the document signed by the leaders of the three countries was one of the guarantees that the independence of the new independent states of Central Asia and Caucasus would keep being strengthened in future. The OSCE summit finished its work on November 19.

KAZAKH-RUSSIAN NEGOTIATIONS ON PROTON ROCKET BLAST OVER KAZAKH TERRITORY HELD IN ASTANA.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from Astana - the capital, that on November 18, a Russian State Delegation led by Vice Premier Iliya Klebanov met with the Kazakh State Commission on the consequences of the proton rocket explosion over Central Kazakhstan at the end of last month (October 27). During the negotiations held in Astana, Russian Vice Premier Iliya Klebanov said that proton-K rockets were the most reliable and the most useful space rockets of the world. He added that Kazakhstan was the most important partner of the Russian Federation in space research activities, also saying that Kazakhstan and Russia were leading space research in the world nowadays. Leader of the Kazakh State Commission on the consequences of the proton explosion, Vice Premier Alexander Pavlov said at the meeting that 4 deputies of the Kazakh parliament known to be the most competent on the issue of the lease of the Baikonur Space complex and the ecological situation in the area close to Baikonur were among the Kazakh state Commission members. He added that such important issues as debts of the Russian side to Kazakhstan for the lease of the Baikonur space center, Kazakhstan's shares in the incomes received by Russia for commercial satellites launches from Baikonur and ecological security should be thoroughly discussed by the sides. Iliya Klebanov agreed with the proposal reportedly. The second round of the negotiations will be held next month in Baikonur, Central Kazakhstan.

FIRST SESSION OF "EUROPEAN UNION - KAZAKHSTAN COMMITTEE" EXPECTED TO BE HELD NEXT MONDAY.
Correspondents of RFE/RL quote the press service of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry as reporting that the first session of "European Union - Kazakhstan" Committee will be held in Astana on November 22. This is going to be the first such gathering held by the European Union in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Mainly such issues as further economic, trade and business relations between the 15 countries comprising the European Union and Kazakhstan are expected to be taken under discussion at the gathering.

LEADERS OF THE KAZAKH CIVIC PARTY.
Leaders of the Kazakh Civic Party held a press conference at the National Press Club in Almaty on November 18 at which they briefed journalists on their recent 7-day visit to the People's Republic of China. According to the party's leader Azat Peruashev, the Kazakh Civic party will continue to develop its ties with foreign political parties. He told journalists that the Kazakh Civic Party delegation met with officials of the Communist Party of China last week, adding that China was one of the main neighbors of Kazakhstan and that political relations with the leading party of that country was crucial for Kazakhstan. Deputy Chairman of the Civic Party, Duysenbay Duysenov, said that the Civic Party was going to create a strong political block in the new Kazakh Parliament. December 1has been officially announced as the day of the new Kazakh Parliament's first gathering. The Kazakh Civic party is known as a pro-Nazarbayev political organization. Together with Otan - other main political party also loyal to the current President Nursultan Nazarbayev - the Civic Party had managed to receive the major portion of seats in Kazakh parliament last month.

LEADERS OF "URPAQ TAGHDYRY-BILIM" MOVEMENT BLAME KAZAKH EDUCATION MINISTRY.
According to correspondents of RFE/RL, Ersain Nurqozha and Anuar Aqchurin - leaders of the movement called "Urpaq Taghdyry-Bilim" (Destiny of the Future Generation is Education) held a press conference in Almaty on November 18, at which they announced that "90 per cent of employees in Kazakhstani educational sector were criminals and bribe-takers". They blamed the current and former Ministers of Education - Qyrymbek Kosherbayev and Imanghali Tasmaghambetov � for "having brought the educational system in the country to a crisis". Kazakh secondary schools and universities started facing huge problems after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. A number of reforms have been introduced into the educational structure of the country since then. But the social level of teachers is reportedly worsening.

20 KAZAKH FAMILIES FROM MONGOLIA TO SETTLE IN QOSTANAY OBLAST THIS WEEK.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that 20 Kazakh families of repatriated from Mongolia will settle down in the village of Qara Bulaq in the Qostanay Oblast this weekend. Another ten Kazakh families from Mongolia's Bayan Olghiy province were given the opportunity to live in that village earlier last month. Kazakhstan started attracting ethnic Kazakhs from such countries as Afghanistan, China, Iran, Mongolia, Russia and Uzbekistan after having gotten independence in 1991.

SOME FLIGHTS OF AIR-KAZAKHSTAN COMPANY CANCELED DUE TO LACK OF FUEL.
Several domestic flights of Air-Kazakhstan were reported to have been canceled this week due to the lack of fuel. Officials of Air-Kazakhstan say that the problem will be solved by this weekend. But there is no guarantee that the situation will not happen again, said officials of Air-Kazakhstan. According to the officials, Russia decreased gasoline supplie to Kazakhstan because of the war in Chechnya. Oil rich Kazakhstan still receives refined gasoline from the Russian Federation.

KAZAKH PRESIDENT AT OSCE SUMMIT.
The OSCE Summit started working in Istanbul, Turkey on November 18. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev told our special correspondent in Istanbul that Kazakhstan's participation in the OSCE summit was evidence of all the important changes that have taken place in the economic, political and social life of Kazakhstan. He added that Kazakhstan as an "Asian state" was interested in OSCE membership. According to President Nazarbayev, the OSCE should "look at all the Central Asian States not in the same way as Moscow used to, some years ago, but as an equal partner".

In his official speech, President Nursultan Nazarbayev said that "two real democratic elections, Presidential and Parliamentary ones, had been held in Kazakhstan for the first time in the 20th century this year. He said that for a "country which became independent from the totalitarian regime just 8 years ago, the current achievements were already a lot". The Kazakh Leader also expressed his gratitude to the OSCE for "its assistance and consultations concerning the Parliamentary and Presidential elections held in Kazakhstan this year". The OSCE had criticized both the Parliamentary and Presidential elections held this year in Kazakhstan for numerous violations of international standards and laws.

DRAFT LAW ON LABOUR BEING DISCUSSED AT PARLIAMENT.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from Astana that on November 18, Kazakh Parliament started discussing drafts of 8 laws, among which the Draft Law on Labour provoked a number of opinions. Parliament member Akim Iskhaq asked Kazakh Minister of Labour and Social Protection Nikolay Radostovets, after the latter had introduced the deputies to the draft, why cases similar to those when young Kazakh ladies committed suicide after losing their jobs, had not been taken into consideration by the authors of the draft law. Parliament's deputy Akim Iskhaq addressed his question in Kazakh. Minister Radostovets answered that his Kazakh was poor, adding that he would learn it better in the nearest future. But he also said that he had understood the question and answered in Russian that the cases mentioned by Mr. Iskhaq would be taken into account and the draft would be revised. During the last two years, several cases of suicide committed by young Kazakh ladies working for Turkish Construction companies in Astana were registered. Investigations revealed the fact that almost all those ladies had been fired or had had some other problems with their employers.

KAZAKH VICE PREMIER ERZHAN OTEMBAYEV HELD PRESS CONFERENCE.
On November 18, Kazakh Vice Premier Erzhan Otembayev held a press conference in Astana. He told journalists that in the last 6 weeks the Kazakh National Tenge started to become more stable. According to Vice Premier Otembayev, the Kazakh government owes about 10.6 billion Tenges ($1 equals 140 Tenges currently) to the country's pensioners, adding that all the debts to the elderly citizens of Kazakhstan would be paid off in the nearest future. The Kazakh Vice Premier also said that all the rumors about Kazakhstan's foreign debt estimated to be as much as $600 billion were "groundless". He said that all the foreign debts of the country amounted to about $190-$200 billion.

INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR ON HUMAN RIGHTS ENDS.
On November 17, an international seminar on human rights held by the OSCE and UN offices in Almaty completed its work. Correspondents of RFE/RL report that Kazakh Presidential Advisor on Human Rights Igor Rogov and the Chief of the UN office in Kazakhstan reported to representatives of 24 countries about the the human rights situation in Kazakhstan. Igor Rogov also said that Kazakhstan was not able to appoint its representative on Human Rights to the UN due to the lack of such a law in its Constitution.

BLIND CITIZENS OF QASKELEN CITY PROTEST.
Members of the Blind Union in Qaskelen City in the Qarasay Region of Almaty Oblast started a protest action ony November 17. They demand that the jobs they lost be restored to them. Many of the blind citizens of Qaskelen City lost their jobs after the special industrial facilitie they worked for had been closed in the city this year. Now they live only on their delayed social allowances. The leaders of Qaskelen's blind citizens warned the local administration that they would begin a protest march to Almatymin case their demands were not satisfied.

19 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS FROM SRI LANKA ARRESTED IN AQTOBE.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that 19 citizens of Sri Lanka were detained in Aqtobe City, Western Kazakhstan on November 17. It turned out that the illegal immigrants had gotten entry visas at the Kyrgyz Embassy and tried to enter the territory of the Russian Federation through Kazakhstan. Their main destination was reported to have been several European countries.

EDITOR OF 21st CENTURY NEWSPAPER COMPLAINS.
Editor-in-chief of the 21st Century newspaper, Bigeldy Gabdullin, told correspondents of RFE/RL on November 18 that his paper was still facing problems. He said that at 8:00 AM on November 17, an officer of the Kazakh National Security Committee, formerly the KGB, had come to the Chief of the Kazakh Agriculture Ministry's Publishing House and told him again that the 21st Century newspaper should not be published. The Publishing house had been printing 21st Century outputs for the last several months. The Chief of the Publishing House told editors of the 21st Century that "further cooperation was not possible". Mr. Gabdullin also said that his newspaper was searching for some other opportunities to be printed abroad or within Kazakhstan.

DEMOCRATIC FORUM OF KAZAKHSTAN HELD PRESS CONFERENCE.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that leaders of the Democratic Forum of Kazakhstan held a press conference at Almaty's National Press Club on November 16. The organization was established last month just after the second stage of Parliamentary elections was over. It unites the main opposition parties and movements of Kazakhstan. The leaders of the Forum criticized the Kazakh president and the government for the "groundless attack by the OSCE on the eve of the OSCE summit in Istanbul, Turkey". Last week, President Nursultan Nazarbayev told corespondents of RFE/RL in Astana that the question of the "need for the OSCE for such Asian states as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan (Afghanistan is not a member of OSCE) and the Caucasus" had arisen, saying also openly that no international organization had a right to "intervene into the internal affairs of sovereign Kazakhstan". President Nazarbayev's criticism of OSCE was expressed on November 10 just after the OSCE announced its preliminary statements on the Kazakh Parliamentary elections and noted that numerous violations of international standards and the Kazakh laws had been detected by observers during the elections. The Democratic Forum of Kazakhstan expressed its opinion about the importance and need for Kazakhstan to continue cooperating with thecontinue the OSCE. The OSCE summit begins working in Istanbul on November 18.

PRESIDENT NAZARBAYEV SPENT A DAY IN THE FORMER CAPITAL BEFORE LEAVING FOR ISTANBUL.
According to correspondents of RFE/RL, President Nursultan Nazarbayev spent a day in Almaty before his departure to Istanbul. On November 16, President Nazarbayev visited the Almaty Agricultural University and took part in the ceremony marking the University's centennial anniversary. The Kazakh leader was officially announced as an Honorable Professor of the Agricultural University. President Nazarbayev also visited the margarine producing plant and was introduced to the new foreign technology installed in the facility. Later the same day, the Kazakh President met with leading businessmen of Almaty at the Tropicana Restaurant.

ROBBERS KILLED TWO EMPLOYEES OF VALYUT-TRANZIT BANK.
Corespondents of RFE/RL report that unknown persons robbed the Currency Exchange Department of the Valyut-Tranzit Bank in Temirtau, Central Kazakhstan, during the night between November 14 and November 15. The burglars killed a security officer and the bank's cashier. They took away $4,000, DM 1,500, and the rifle of the security officer who was killed. Investigations are underway.

WORKERS OF PHOSPHORUS PRODUCING PLANT IN SHYMKENT STILL PROTESTING.
On November 16, former employee of the Shymkent Phosphorus Producing Plant, Baltabay Suleymenov, attempted to burn himself to death in case the local administration and that of the closed plant did not pay off their debt, namely 140,000 Tenges ($1 equals 140 Tenges) to him. Mr. Suleymenov poured several liters of gasoline on himself and tried to ignite himself. The Governor of South Kazakhstan Berdibek Saparbayev personally asked Mr. Suleymenov not to burn himself, promising to solve his problem in the nearest future. Baltabay Suleymenov is a father of 5 children. The Phosphorus Producing plant was announced as bankrupt last year. Thousands of its workers demand their overdue salaries for the last 3 years .

UYGHUR WOMEN STAGED ACTION OF PROTEST IN FRONT OF CHINESE EMBASSY.
Dozens of Uyghur women living in Almaty staged a demonstration of protest in front of the Chinese Embassy on November 16. They demanded that Uyghur lady, Rabia Qadir, be released from Chinese prison. Rabia Qadir was arrested and placed in jail this year. She is officially accused of having been "involved in the activities of Uyghur separatists". Nobody was reported to have come out of the Chinese Embassy to speak to the Uyghur women. The Chinese Ambassador and his assistants were at that moment at a ceremony during which an honorary plaque was attached fixing in one of the former capital's streets recently named after the Chinese composer Xin Xihay. Three of the Uyghur women were reportedly warned by Almaty police.

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