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Kyrgyz Report: December 7, 2000


7 December 2000

TRANSFER OF TECHNICAL EQUIPMENT FROM THE US.
A ceremony of transfer of technical equipment from the US government to Kyrgyzstan was held at a military base near Bishkek on 7 December. US Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan John O'Keefe and Deputy Secretary of the Security Council Tologon Mameev, and other officials attended. Kyrgyz servicemen received one-million-dollars worth military equipment - 65 sets of short wave radio stations, 300 waistcoats, 650 field glasses and others. It was a first part of 3-million-dollar technical help from the US government, promised by State Secretary Madeleine Albright when she visited Bishkek in April.

According to the embassy, the rest of the promised help and an additional 2.5-million-dollars in other equipment would be given to the Kyrgyz army next year. The US has given Kyrgyzstan about 500-million dollars in help since 1991, and $40 million of this in 2000. In addition, Kyrgyzstan will receive 60,000 tons of wheat from the US this year.

LOS ANGELES TIMES ON ELECTIONS IN KYRGYZSTAN.
The Los Angeles Times published in its Sunday edition an article by Paula Newberg on the presidential election in Kyrgyzstan. It is said in the article that "Azerbaijan's Heydar A. Aliyev and Kyrgyzstan's Askar A. Akayev turned their presidential polls into national charades simply, it would seem, to retain the office. By treating elections like war and voters like spoils, both presidents are helping to turn Central Asia into a front line of dictators rather than democrats."

"Akayev ... had already apportioned more power to the presidency and more blame to parliament ... he has outmaneuvered all his potential opponents and, sadly, potential allies. February's flawed parliamentary elections were a warm-up for October's presidential polls, which handed Akayev an unprecedented third term after he removed most other serious challengers from the political contest. The primary victim in Kyrgyzstan, as in Azerbaijan, is an open society."

And "The economic reforms on Kyrgyzstan's books are meaningless in practice, not just because its market is small, but also because corruption makes it impossible to bank on the state."

NEW YORK TIMES ON PRESS FREEDOM IN CENTRAL ASIA.
The New York Times carries in its today edition an article on press freedom in Central Asia. It is said in it that "across the former Soviet lands of Central Asia, repression of news media is increasing and indiscriminate ... Many of those watching the governments of the five countries - Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan - detect mounting pressure on any news outlets that veer from the government line, and they say the actions reflect the way Central Asia's authoritarian leaders have consolidated power."

" 'The media have been emasculated completely most places,' Jerzy Wieclaw, head of the Kyrgyzstan office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said in his office in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek. Stuart Auerbach, director of development for the Media Development Loan Fund, an American foundation assisting independent news organizations, described the situation as horrible. 'There is no real independent media in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, once the bright spots, and it's worse in the other countries,' Mr. Auerbach said."

OPPOSITION PARTY CANNOT HOLD A MEETING.
The opposition Ar-Namys (Dignity) Party was not able on 7 December to organize a round table discussion in Bishkek. It planned to discuss cardinal reforms in the juridical system of the country and government officials, deputies of parliament, and other experts were invited. Emil Aliyev of the party told RFE/RL correspondent on 7 December that no single hotel or museum or college in the city did agree to give the party a room to hold the meeting. According to him, the party would organize a discussion in open air on Saturday if cannot find a room.

COUNCIL ON SMALL BUSINESS FORMED.
According to the governmental press service, Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev has signed a special decree forming the Council on Small Business. The prime minister himself, eleven ministers and 40 prominent businessmen have become members of the body which would promote the small and medium size business in the country.

SOME PRIVATIZATION FIGURES.
Sadirdin Jeenbekov, Director of the State Property Fund, announced in Bishkek on 7 December that 6,670 establishments have been privatized in the country since 1991. They include 1,810 entities in Jalal-Abad Province; 1,750 in Osh Province; 1,310 in Bishkek; 1,100 in Chu Province.

AGREEMENT WITH RUSSIA RATIFIED.
First deputy foreign minister Erlan Abdyldaev of Kyrgyzstan and Russian Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Georgy Rudov exchanged the ratified agreements between Russia and Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek on 7 December. The agreement on the legal status of Kyrgyz citizens living permanently in Russia and Russian citizens living permanently in Kyrgyzstan was signed on 13 October 1995. Russian State Duma ratified it on 19 March 1997 and the Kyrgyz parliament did it on 31 July 2000.

MEDICAL INSURANCE COVERS 70 PERCENT OF POPULATION.
Director general of the Medical Insurance Fund Kasymbek Mambetov announced in Bishkek on 7 December that 70 percent of country population have been already insured. According to him, the fund would pay insured people 170 to 2,000 soms (about $3.5 to $40) for each visit to doctor and reimburse up to 90 percent of medicine costs.

REGIONAL CENTER ON CIVIL RIGHTS OPENED.
A regional information center on protecting civil rights was opened in Naryn, center of the Naryn Province, on 7 December. It is formed with help from the Counterpart Consortium and the US Information Service. The USIS has given the center a set of 10,000-som-worth literature (about $210). Nurdin Satarov has become director of the center.

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