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Kyrgyz Report: April 16, 1999


16 April 1999

KYRGYZ TRAINS CANNOT GO THROUGH KAZAKHSTAN.
Departure of the regular train Bishkek-Novokuznetsk (Russian Federation), was canceled on 16 April. According to Bakyt Niyazaliev, department head in the Railway Board of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakh authorities will not allow the train to pass through Kazakh territory because Kyrgyzstan owes Kazakhstan about 3 million Swiss Francs for transit by train freightage.

Argynbek Malabayev, deputy head of the Board, told RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau today the situation will be considered in the Government on 19 April. Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, as well as Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, have signed agreements on eternal friendship. However, Kazakhstan increased customs duties on Kyrgyz goods by 200 percent two months ago. Uzbekistan has cut off natural gas deliveries to Kyrgyzstan three times in 1999. Some Kyrgyz regions have been cut from gas deliveries since last week. Kyrgyzstan owes Uzbekistan several million dollars for gas.

KYRGYZ-RUSSIAN COMMISSION CONVENES NEXT MONDAY.
According to the Russian embassy in Bishkek, the first meeting of the Kyrgyz-Russian joint commission will be held in Bishkek on 19 April. Programs of cooperation in trade and economical cooperation in 1999-2008, in hydro-energetics, in finance and banking will be discussed. A group of Russian experts are currently in Bishkek preparing documents for the meeting. Co-chairmen of the commission are Russian Minister of Railway Transport Nikolai Aksenenko and Kyrgyz Vice Prime Minister Esengul Omuraliev.

CENTRAL ASIAN MEETINGS ON ARAL.
An international seminar on problems of the Aral sea was held in Tashkent on 8-15 April. According to Professor Valerii Lelevkin, head of the Kyrgyz delegation, representatives of all five Central Asian states took part in it and strategy to revive the Aral sea by 2030 was discussed. The ext seminar will begin in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on 18 April. The final seminar will be held in Bishkek early in June.

GOVERNMENTAL MEETING ON FREE ECONOMIC ZONE.
First Vice Prime Minister Boris Silaev received in Bishkek the leadership of the Bishkek free economic zone (FEZ) on 16 April. Acting Chairman of the National Bank Ulan Sarbanov took part in the meeting. According to the governmental press service, it was announced at the meeting that the enterprises in the Bishkek FEZ produced goods worth $8 million in the first two months of 1999. Sarbanov has demanded an increase in exports. According to him, almost all production of the FEZ is aimed at the domestic market.

PRODUCED COMMODITIES ARE NOT SOLD.
According to government sources, about 1,700-million-som worth commodities are stored now in warehouses because they could not be sold. Their prices are too high due to very high taxes and other duties. A special governmental commission has been formed recently to consider price cuts. Deputy Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Esen Sagynbayev is chairman of that commission..

STATE ALCOHOL COMPANY IS INSPECTED.
A general meeting of share holders of the Kyrgyzalco state joint-stock company in Bishkek on 16 April termed the company's activities in 1998 unsatisfactory. The Control Board of the Finance Ministry is currently inspecting the company.

Kyrgyzalco 's Director General Temirbek Kulov and the company's chief accountant, Almagul Chalbaeva, as well as Shamil Osmonov, director of the liqueur-vodka distillery in Bishkek, were arrested in Bishkek on 12 January on charges of corruption and embezzlement. On 22 January, Igor Zabara was appointed acting Director General of the company. The chairman of the State Property Fund, Sultan Mederov, was recently been appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kyrgyzalco.

NO GAS SUPPLY FROM UZBEKISTAN YET.
The energetics department of the Kyrgyz Government announced in Bishkek on 15 April that President Askar Akayev has signed a special decree dismissing Sagyn Ainakulov from the post of Director General of the Kyrgyzgas state joint-stock company. According to the department, the decision must be approved by the general meeting of the company. The company is responsible for gas supplies to the country. The government department says the difficult negotiations with Uzbek authorities are under way, but that gas deliveries from Uzbekistan will not resume in the next few days.

According to the same decree, Vladimir Likhachev has been appointed acting Director General of the Kyrgyzgas. He had worked for the company before.

Gas deliveries to Kyrgyzstan from Uzbekistan were stopped a week ago, but the capital city of Bishkek had received some natural gas from the Kazakh Intergas company for a week, until the evening of 12 April. Kyrgyzstan owes Uzbekistan several million dollars for gas and has not paid the debt fully.

The government newspaper "Slovo Kyrgyzstana" writes on 15 April that nobody in the government knows when gas deliveries could be resumed. The "Zaman-Kyrgyzstan" independent paper writes in its 16 April edition that First Vice Prime Minister Boris Silaev promised early this year that Kyrgyzstan�s debt to Uzbekistan would be paid fully by April 1999. He has not kept that promise.

RESULTS OF PRESIDENT AKAYEV�S VISIT TO INDIA.
A Kyrgyz delegation led by President Askar Akayev was in India on 12-14 April. First Deputy Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldaev held a news conference at the Foreign Ministry on 15 April. According to him, the visit was a successful one. The volume of trade between India and Kyrgyzstan increased from $3.9 million in 1996 to $13.81 million in 1998 and besides the 4 inter-governmental agreements, additional 24 agreements between the Indian and Kyrgyz enterprises were signed during the 3-day visit.

According to our correspondent who accompanied Akayev to India, the agreements cover on cooperation in hydro-energetics, in producing TV sets and bicycles, in processing agricultural products, in building international hotels in Kyrgyzstan and others. Also, during the visit, one of the streets in New Delhi was named after Manas, legendary Kyrgyz hero. President Akayev took part in a ceremony.

The main four documents signed during the visit were: - Agreement on avoiding double taxation. - Agreement on bilateral assistance in combatting criminality. - Memorandum of understanding on cooperation in civil aviation. - Protocol on cooperation in culture, art, literature, education, mass media and tourism in 1999-2000.

FOREIGN MINISTER TO ATTEND NATO SUMMIT.
Department head in the government Jumakadyr Atabekov announced in Bishkek on 15 April that Foreign Minister Muratbek ImanAliyev and Deputy Defense Minister Tabyldy Moldobaev will trave to the U.S. to attend the NATO 50th anniversary summit in Washington, DC, later in April. According to Atabekov, he himself might also join them.

DEMONSTRATION IN BISHKEK.
About 200 people picketed the government building in Bishkek on 15 April. They are depositors of the Mercury commercial bank, which has been declared bankrupt by the National Bank, and are demanding compensation for their savings.

Department head in the government, Kamchybek Shakirov, received the representatives of protestors the same day. One of them told our correspondent after the meeting that US-dollar deposits may be not restored. and they could begin a hunger strike.

CZECH PRIME MINISTER TO KYRGYZSTAN.
Alexander Langer, the Czech Charge D�affaires to Kyrgyzstan, held a news conference in the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry on 15 April. According to him, a Czech delegation led by Prime Minister Milos Zeman will visit Kyrgyzstan on 21-23 April. There are 2 ministers, 4 deputy ministers and about 50 businessmen in the delegation. Several agreements between the Kyrgyz and Czech governments are expected to be signed.

According to Langer, a lot of Kyrgyz citizens come to live in the Czech Republic illegally and its a serious problem now.

Diplomatic relations between the Czech Republic and Kyrgyzstan were established in 1993. Jozef Zieleniec, then Czech Foreign Minister, visited Kyrgyzstan in March 1995. President Askar Akayev visited the Czech Republic last November.

BRITISH DELEGATION IN KYRGYZSTAN.
According to the governmental press service, First Vice Prime Minister Boris Silaev received in Bishkek today a delegation of the British Foreign Office. British Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Douglas McAdam attended. It was announced at the meeting that delegation of the British parliament will visit Kyrgyzstan in May.

MEETING WITH BUSINESSMEN.
First Vice Prime Minister Boris Silaev met in Bishkek on 15 April with a group of Kyrgyz businessmen. According to the governmental press service, businessmen asked for government support for private business and demanded to ease official regulations. It was announced during the meeting that would-be entrepreneurs need to collect 72 separate signatures of governmental officials to open a private business in the country.

Kamila Kenenbaeva, chairwoman of the Fund to Support Small Business, announced in Bishkek on 15 April the Fund cannot find 50 million som (about $1.5 million) for the Fund�s 180 projects. The same time, according to Kenenbaeva, the government does not use the 15-million-dollar loan, given by the World Bank in 1996. The same thing is with the 20-million-dollar loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Developments, given Kyrgyzstan in 1998. The point is that the National Bank wants to give Kyrgyz businessmen money from these loans with very high interests and the businessmen do not want it.

SOCIAL ALLOWANCES ARE PAID IN FLOUR.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs announced in Bishkek on 15 April that the government owes citizens 145 million soms (about $4.2 million) for social allowances, including 103 million som arrears for 1998. The Ministry has paid 61-million-som social allowances in 1999 in flour and oil. According to the Ministry, it has received 20,000 metric tons of grain from the Ministry of Agriculture recently and will use it to pay its debt through flour.

The "Asaba" independent weekly publishes in its 16 April edition a commentary by parliament deputy Adahan Madumarov on the most recent changes in the government. According to Madumarov, newly appointed Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev did nothing in particular during the three years he was governor of Osh oblast, the country's largest.

A columnist for the weekly, Alym Toktomushev, writes that both MurAliyev and newly appointed Vice Prime Minister Esengul OmurAliyev were chairmen of the State Property Fund in the early 1990s. And they bear responsibility for the fact that state property has been sold for next to nothing.

The governmental "Slovo Kyrgyzstana" and "Kyrgyz Tuusu" papers write that the appointment of Amangeldi MurAliyev as prime minister was the right decision.

NO GAS SUPPLY FROM UZBEKISTAN YET.
According to sources from the government, a Kyrgyz delegation, led by Deputy Director General of the Kyrgyzenergo state energetics company Ilias Davydov, travelled to Tashkent on 14 April, negotiating with Uzbek authorities on resumption of natural gas supply to Kyrgyzstan. The delegation is also taking part in a meeting of representatives of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan on joint use of electric power generated by stations on the rivers of Naryn and Syr-Daria.

Gas deliveries from Uzbekistan to the Kyrgyz Chu and Osh regions as well as to the capital city of Bishkek were stopped a week ago. Bishkek had received natural gas from the Kazakh Intergas company for a week, but these deliveries were also stopped on 12 April. Kyrgyzstan owes Uzbekistan several million dollars for gas deliveries and has not paid it fully.

TALAS REGION GOVERNOR APPOINTED.
A session of the Talas Regional Assembly approved on 14 April the appointment of Ismail Masaitov as governor of the Talas region. The former governor, Temirbek Akmataliev, was appointed governor of the Osh region the previous day. Masaitov had been the head of state administration of the town of Tash-Komur since last January. Before, he had been head of the state administrations of the town of Talas, and before that, he had governed the town of Kyzyl-Kyia.

DEMONSTRATION IN FRONT OF THE CITY ADMINISTRATION.
About 50 people picketted the building of the Bishkek city administration on 14 April. They protested decision by the Sverdlov district administration of Bishkek which prohibits open trade on the streets of the district. Demonstrators say if the administration prohibits private trade, it should give the residents jobs. Vice Mayor Yakupbek Ahmedov has met with the protestors and promised them help. But, according to him, the decision will not be revoked.

MEETING ON THE CUSTOMS SERVICE.
Bolot Januzakov, department head in the presidential administration, held a meeting with leadership of the Customs Inspection of the Finance Ministry on 14 April. According to the presidential press service, only 62 percent of customs duties planned to be collected, were collected in the first quarter of 1999. The Customs Inspection must collect 2,000-million-som (about $60 million) customs duties in 1999.

SOCIAL FUND LACKS MONEY FOR PENSIONS.
Lidia Fomova, leader of the Movement for Social Protection of People, told our correspondent in Bishkek on 14 April that she met with Roza Aknazarova, Chairwoman of the National Social Fund, last week. The Social Fund is short of money now to pay pensions. 26 enterprises of the Bishkek city have not paid 108 million soms (about $3 million) to the Social Fund. In total, the fund could not collect about 416 million soms (about 12 million) from the 185 enterprises of the country.

According to Fomova, Minister Roza Aknazarova asked her to put pressure upon leaders of enterprises, so members of the Movement for Social Protection of People are meeting now with directors of plsants and factories which not pay their contributions to the Social Fund.

LOAN FROM THE ADB IS IN JEOPARDY.
According to information from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, a meeting of the ministry's board was held on 13 April. The receipt of a $9.5-million second tranche of the loan from the Asian Development Bank was discussed. According to the Ministry, the money should be used in the education sphere, but the ADB had set conditions which are in contradiction with some Kyrgyz laws. Agreement on a $37,7-million loan was signed between the ADB and the Kyrgyz Government early in 1998.

HELSINKI FEDERATION OFICIAL TO KYRGYZSTAN.
According to information from the Kyrgyz Commitee for Human Rights (KCHR), Executive Director of the Helsinki Federation Aaron Rhodes will arrive in Bishkek on 24 April at the invitation of the KCHR. He will meet with Kyrgyz officials, human rights advocates, and journalists as well as prisoners of conscience and discuss human rights situation in Kyrgyzstan.

RUSSIAN PAPER ON KYRGYZ BANKS.
The Moscow Based "Finansovyie Izvestiya" paper published in its 13 April edition an interview with Yuri Teplov, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Avtobank, on the banking system and particularly on the Amanbank in Kyrgyzstan, as well as economic relations between Kyrgyzstan and Russia. According to Teplov, Kyrgyzstan's liberal legislation attracts foreign investments to the country. The economic course of the Kyrgyz leadership is barely politicized, and all foreign investors enjoy equal rights in Kyrgyzstan.

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