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Kazakh Report: December 3, 1999


3 December 1999

KAZAKH PRESIDENT MET U.S. AMBASSADOR TO KAZAKHSTAN.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from Almaty, that Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev met with Richard Jones - American Ambassador to Kazakhstan, on December 2. The sides discussed the Kazakh Presidential visit to Washington D.C scheduled for December 17-21. It was reported that due to scheduling, the Kazakh leader would take part in the work of the Kazakh-American Joint Economic Commission. Also President Nazarbayev is expected to meet his American counterpart Bill Clinton. Ambassador Jones told journalists after the meeting with the Kazakh president that the Presidential trip to Washington had been discussed at the talks, adding that Parliamentary elections held in Kazakhstan in October, which had been harshly criticized by the U.S. State Department and the OSCE, had not been touched upon during the talks with President Nazarbayev.

KAZAKH PRESIDENT PARTICIPATED IN SESSION OF COUNCIL OF FOREIGN INVESTORS.
On December 3, the Kazakhstan Presidential Council of Foreign Investors held its session in the former capital of Kazakhstan. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev took part in the work of the session. Representatives of the Kazakh Cabinet said at the session that Kazakhstan was moving forward to a real free market through the economic reforms conducted by the Kazakh government. Meanwhile Tom Thompson, a representative of foreign businessmen working in Kazakhstan, said at the session that Kazakhstan still had a lot of bureaucratic obstacles for foreign investors working in that Central Asian country. According to Dulat Quanyshev - Chairman of the Kazakh National Agency on Foreign Investments - Kazakhstan had managed to attract about $8.5 billion in foreign investments since having gotten independence in 1991. He said $7 billion had been invested by international companies directly to the Kazakh oil and metallurgy sectors.

KAZAKH NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS HELD CONFERENCE.
On December 2, several non-government organizations and movements held a conference in Almaty. Mainly problems in relations between government, mass media and business structures were discussed at the conference. The conference was sponsored by some international organizations working in Kazakhstan, including USAID. Similar conferences are expected to be held in Astana, Atyrau and Pavlodar in the nearest future.

KAZAKH MUSLIMS LEADER DISCUSSES THE FIRE IN HIS OFFICE.
Ratbek-Haji Nysanbay�Uly told journalists on December 2 that the fire that took place in his office and that of Islam Alemi (The World of Islam) journal last week had not been organized intentionally. According to the leader of Kazakhstan's Muslims, the fire had been caused by office computers that had not been switched off in the evening. Ratbek-Haji also officially announced that the holy month of Ramadan (traditional month of fasting in Islam) would start on December 7 this year. He also stressed that this year Ramadan was even more important since it was going to proceed celebrations of the 2000th anniversary of Isa Payghambar (Jesus Christ).

KAZAKH PRESIDENT MEETS FOREIGN DIPLOMATS IN ALMATY.
Correspondents of RFE/RL in Astana quote Kazakh Presidential Office as reporting that Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbayev met foreign Diplomats in the former capital - Almaty on December 2. The meeting had been scheduled to be held in Astana on November 30. But due to the lack of gasoline, the meeting was moved to December 2, and was held in Almaty, not in Astana. Kazakh Premier Qasymzhomart Toqayev participated in the meeting with ambassadors and attaches of foreign countries.

FROM MAZHILIS SESSION.
The Lower Chamber of Kazakh Parliament - Mazhilis - held its session on December 2. New Committees and Commissions of the Mazhilis , as well as Chairmen were elected. Uzaqpay Qaramanov was elected as Chairman of the National Concord Commission. Member of Kazakh parliament - Amangeldy Aytaly - called upon his colleagues to pay more attention to such issues as the arrest of Russian ultra-nationalists in Oskemen and illegal immigration of Chechen refugees to Kazakhstan.

LEADER OF COMMUNISTS, MEMBER OF THE KAZAKH PARLIAMENT COMPLAINS.
Serikbolsyn Abdildin - leader of the Kazakh Communists and member of Kazakh Parliament's Lower Chamber - told correspondents of RFE/RL on December 2 that elections for Chairman of the Mazhilis had been held according to script. On December 1, Zharmakhan Tuyaqbayev was elected as new speaker of the Mazhilis. His main rival , Communist Party leader Serikbolsyn Abdildin lost the vote. But Mr. Abdildin says that members of the pro-Nazarbayev Otan party in Parliament had been instructed by President Nazarbayev prior to the polls, and that Mr. Tuyaqbayev had been elected as Mazhilis speaker according to Nazarbayev's script. The Communist leader was due to express his opinion at a press conference on December 3.

RESULTS OF THE KAZAKH PREMIER'S VISIT TO KIEV, UKRAINE.
Correspondents of RFE/RL quote the Kazakh cabinet's press office as reporting that Kazakh Premier Qasymzhomart Toqayev returned from his working trip to Kiev, Ukraine on December 1. PM Toqayev took part in the inauguration ceremonies of the Ukrainian President. He also held separate meetings with his Ukrainian counterpart Valeri Pustovoytenko, Georgian Premier Vaja Lordkipanidze and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Bilateral economic cooperation between the countries mentioned and Kazakhstan was reportedly discussed.

KAZAKHSTAN'S DEMOCRATIC FORUM HELD SESSION.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from Almaty that Kazakhstan's Democratic Forum, which unites several opposition movements and parties, held a session in Almaty on December 1. The main issue discussed at the session was the appeal of former Kazakh premier Akezhan Kazhegeldin to the Kazakh President made in November. Mr. Kazhegeldin had called upon President Nursultan Nazarbayev to begin talks with opposition leaders of the country in order to improve the political and economic situation in Kazakhstan. The President of Kazakhstan had never responded to that appeal. The Democratic Forum again discussed the possibility of holding new Parliamentary and Presidential elections next year. It was decided at the session of the main opposition movements and political parties of Kazakhstan that in case President Nursultan Nazarbayev and the government did not respond to the demands of Kazakhstan's Democratic Forum, a one-day protest action would be organized in all the towns and cities of Kazakhstan on January 30, next year. Also problems faced by such independent newspapers as 21 Vek (21th Century) and Nachniom s Ponedelnika (We Shall Start After Monday) were discussed at the session. 21 Vek newspaper has been refused publication by all the publishing houses of the former capital. Nachniom s Ponedelnika newspaper had to stop functioning after the Almaty City Court had found its editors guilty of tax evasion and consequently fined them. The fine was about 300 million Tenges ($1 equls 140 tenges), which meant closure for the newspaper.

KAZAKH INTELLECTUALS ADDRESS PRESIDENT NAZARBAYEV ASKING HIM TO PROTECT 21 VEK NEWSPAPER.
A number of the well-known Kazakh intellectuals addressed Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev asking him to pay attention to the situation faced by the 21 Vek newspaper. The intellectuals demanded the Kazakh leader to use his status as the main guarantor of the Kazakh Constitution and to protect 21 Vek, which has been refused publicationby all the publishing houses of Almaty since mid-November. They expressed their opinion that all the attacks against 21 Vek might be defined as a violation of free speech guaranteed by Kazakh law. Such well known Kazakh intellectuals as Bibigul Tolegenova, Asanali Ashimov, Tursunkhan Abdrakhmanova, Toregeldy Shormanov, Murat Auezov, Gabbas Qabyshev, Serikbolsyn Abdildin, Ghaziz Aldamzharov, Erbolat Tolepbergenov, Kamal Smailov, Iliya Zhakhanov, Baltash Tursymbayev and many others signed the open letter addressed to the Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

U.S.- KAZAKH MILITARY COOPERATION PROGRAM SIGNED IN ALMATY.
Visiting U.S. top military official, General Anthony Zinni and Kazakh Defense Minister General Sat Toqpaqpayev signed a program of Kazakh-American military cooperation in the former capital of Kazakhstan on December 1. According to the document, the next annual military maneuvers coded "Centrazbat-2000" will be held on Kazakh territory in September of next year. The exercises are held every year in the framework of NATO's "Partnership for Peace" program. Military units of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, United States and some other CIS and European countries will participate in the maneuvers.

INHABITANTS OF TASTAQ DISTRICT IN ALMATY PROTEST.
Thousands of inhabitants of Almaty's Tastaq District started a protest action this week. They are not allowing construction workers to enter the district, demanding that the decision of local authorities to build a new gasoline station in the area to be changed. It turned out that the local administration had issued permission to a private businessman Vitaliy Kim to build a gasoline station in the area. But the local citizens say that the new gasoline station will be situated just 30 meters away from apartment blocks. Also special gas pipes are supposed to be put underground in the area. According to the local inhabitants, the construction of the gasoline station in such a place will be not safe for the district. The stand-off is continuing.

KAZAKHSTAN MARKED INTERNATIONAL DAY THE FIGHT AGAINST AIDS.
There are 964 registered Aids patients in Kazakhstan today. 28 of them are reported to be grave condition. About 70 Kazakhstanis died of Aids in recent years. 43 Aids patients are living in Almaty, while 170 AIDS victims of the Aids virus are residents of Temirtau City, Central Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan officially marked the international anti-AIDS day yesterday, December 1.

KAZAKHSTAN STRENGTHENS ITS WESTERN BORDERS.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that Kazakhstan started strengthening its Western Borders in the wake of predictions that Chechen rebels might start fleeing to Kazakh territory through Dagestan, Azerbaijan and the Caspian sea. Additional border guard troops were moved to Ozen town, West Kazakhstan. Manghystau Oblast officials temporarily stopped all flights connecting the area with Azerbaijan and Dagestan. Alexander Sarsenbekov - an official of the Kazakh National Security's Border guard service - told Interfax-Kazakhstan Agency on November 30 that there were some operative data about a possible move of Chechen rebels to Kazakhstan across the Caspian Sea.

FORMER SOVIET ARMY COLONEL MADE STATEMENTS ON KAZAKH LEGIONARIES AMONG CHECHEN REBELS.
A former Soviet Colonel and ethnic Chechen, Salman Shatoyev told journalists on November 30 that there were many volunteers from Kazakhstan fighting against Russian federal troops on the Chechens side in the Republic of Ichkeria. According to Colonel Shatoyev, special bases for the Kazakhstani and other volunteers from all the former Soviet Republics are operating in the Russian Federation's republic of Kalmykia. Colonel Shatoyev did not give exact data on the number of Kazakh legionaries fighting in the North Caucasus.

PLANE IMPOUNDED AT ALMATY AIRPORT.
Officials of Almaty airport and Kazakh National Security officers impounded an IL-18 plane arriving from Istanbul, Turkey on November 30. It turned out that about 14 tons of goods had been loaded aboard the plane, while the declaration said that the weght of imported goods was just 2 tons. The imported goods had never been registered either in Istanbul, or in Almaty. Investigations are underway. It is not clear now who was the owner of the the smuggled goods.

ONE PERSON DIED, ANOTHER ONE WOUNDED IN CROSS FIRE IN ALMATY.
On November 30, two persons were shot, one of them to death, close to the Almaty Energy College's Sports stadium. The person who died was 29-year-old Meirman Qosmambetov, son of Tolepbek Qosmambetov - a newly elected member of Kazakh parliament. Meirman's friend - Oleg (surname is not available) - who was wounded, is alive but has been hospitalized in very grave condition. Investigations are underway. Some preliminary investigations revealed the fact that the victims of the shooting used to be in close relations with Nesipbay Nasenov, known as Sary Almas (Red Almas). Sary Almas was known as one of the most influential criminals of Almaty. He was killed in the Barcelona area, Spain last year, but his friends in the former capital continue to call their criminal organization the Sary Almas' group.

ENGLISH VERSION OF ILIAS ESENBERLIN'S "NOMADS" BOOK ISSUED.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that the English version of "Koshpendiler" (Nomads"), a book written by the well-known Kazakh writer Ilias Esenberlin was published this week in Almaty. The publishing of the 5,000 copies of the book's translation was sponsored by some international oil companies and the Ilias Esenberlin's Foundation.

FORMER CAPITAL OF KAZAKHSTAN FACES VIRUS INVASION PROBLEM.
According to information provided by Abay Rysbay-Uly, Director of the Kazakh veterinarian Research Institute, Almaty City might face a virus invasion. It turned out that on November 28, somebody had stolen 50 meters of cable connecting the Research Institute refrigerators with the power outlets. Refrigerators with millions of different viruses in them stopped working. The research Institute keeps the viruses of such dangerous diseases as mad cow foot-and-mouth disease, bubonic plague, cholera and many others for research purposes. The extraordinary situation is being controlled by experts. Investigations are underway.

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