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Kyrgyz Report: July 9, 1999


9 July 1999

AUTHORITIES PREVENT OPPOSITION PARTY MEETING SUPPORTERS.
Members of the Kyrgyzstan People's Party told correspondents that the party leaders' tour of Yssyk-Koel oblast has been postponed until further notice. Also, one of them, legislator Daniar Usenov, refuted the information that he had been arrested the day before (see below).

According to Usenov, on 8 July he and another member of the party, deputy Alevtina Pronenko were prevented from meeting local supporters in Tup rajon. He said that local prosecutors warned him against making statements against the law. People's Party leader Melis Eshimkanov was given a reprimand for holding non-sanctioned meeting, he added.

PARTIES PLAN ELECTION BLOC.
In preparation for the parliamentary election in 2000, the Erkin (Free) Kyrgyzstan party of 12,000 members is working to unite with the nationalist Asaba Party and some other societies into one block. As deputy-chairman Turgunbek Akkuchukov said, the Party is also holding union talks with Birimdik (Unity) and Ar-Namys (Dignity) parties.

NEW OPPOSITION PARTY BEING FORMED.
On 9 July the Ar-Namys (Dignity) Party held its founding congress in Bishkek. 742 delegates participated. In an opening statement, the party leader Feliks Kulov said that 2,800 people have applied for membership. The party still has to register with the Justice Ministry. The drafts of the Party Charter and Program were presented. The first Congress is planned for October. Feliks Kulov was elected the chairman of the party and Political Council of five members was elected.

ONE MILLION KYRGYZ CITIZENS ENGAGED IN BAZAAR TRADE.
According to the Bishkek Small Entrepreneurs Association, one million Kyrgyzstani citizens (of a total population of 4.5 million) are engaged in bazaar trade around the country and bring 25 million soms to the budget. The head of the association, Kubanychbek Tezekbaev, said on 9 July that his organization has worked out mechanisms for bazaar traders' tax, social fund, trade-spots and other payments.

KYRGYZ DELEGATION TO UZBEKISTAN.
On 9 July a delegation led by Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev left for Tashkent. According to the press service of the Foreign Ministry, the delegation includes cabinet members, parliament deputies and governers, and is expected to sign agreements on the fight against criminality and smuggling of narcotics and psycho-tropic substances, and social protection. Economic issues, including gas deliveries, will also be discussed. Uzbekistan is supplying Kyrgyz Thermal Power Stations, but due to hard currency debts, gas for the population is not being delivered.

During the visit, a session of the Kyrgyz-Uzbek trade and economic commission will take place. MurAliyev is expected to meet his Uzbek counterpart Otkur Sultanov and with President Islam Karimov to discuss the main issues in bilateral relations.

DEVELOPMENT SEMINAR ENDED.
On 8 July, an international seminar called "Integrated Basis for Development of Kyrgyzstan during 2000 and 2010" continued its work. A World Bank representative made a report on eliminating poverty, social protection and human development. Regional cooperation, trade and development were topics of the Asian Development Bank official's speech. Deputy Foreign Minister Alikbek Jekshenkulov, Industry and Foreign Trade Deputy Minister Nina Girichenko talked about a number of difficulties. The seminar will end the same day and the issues discussed will be included in the 10-year Development Program for Kyrgyzstan.

PARLIAMENT DEPUTY ARRESTED.
On 8 July, the deputy of the lower Lawmaking House of the parliament, member of People's party Daniar Usenov was arrested in Issyk-Kul oblast by Tup rajon police during a 52-day tour around the country organized by his party. As another party member, deputy of the Upper house Bakyt Beshimov informed, on 7 July Usenov was given a notice by the Interior Ministry not to leave Bishkek. According to Beshimov, Usenov was summoned to the Ministry in connection with allegations stemming from Turnak firm issues dating back to 1993.

'RESPUBLICA' APPEAL CASE POSTPONED.
On 8 July the High Court did not consider the appeal of "Respublica" newspaper to overturn the Bishkek city court decision. The court session was postponed after the defendant, Kyrgyz TV-Radio Company President Amanbek Karypkulov, failed to appear. But as Zamira Sydykova, the editor-in-chief told RL's correspondent, one of the reasons of the postponement well might have been anticipation that "Respublica" would win the case.

DEVELOPMENT SEMINAR OPENS.
On 7 July an international seminar called "Integrated Basis for Development of Kyrgyzstan during 2000 and 2010" opened in Bishkek. Donor countries and representatives of international financial institutions led by the World Bank, government and parliament members, local business persons, NGOs and religious leaders are participating. According to Prime Minister Amangeldi Muraliev, the development plan for ten years which is being discussed should be ready before March 2000.

President Akaev addressed the seminar. He expressed his hope that while implementing the development plan until 2010 Kyrgyzstan will be able to cut the poverty rate by half. According to the State Statistic Committee, 52% of the population now lives in poverty.

POLITICAL PARTIES ACCUSE CENTRAL ELECTION COMMISSION OF NON-TRANSPARANT POLICIES.
Kyrgyz Communists, Agrarian, Labor, Socialist Fatherland, My Country and People's Parties released a statement in which they maintain that due to the lack of transparency, their candidates were not included in Oblast Election Commissions.

BORDER GUARDS ARE NOT READY FOR WINTER.
Shatemirov, head of the Defence Ministry's Border Guards Main Directorate, says that the preparation of Kyrgyz border guards for winter is poor. They still don't have coal, gasoline and lubricants which were due in March. 90 million soms envisisioned in the budget were not provided. The working group decided to continue discussions next week.

KYRGYZSTAN ENHANCING TIES WITH EU.
A ten-year Cooperation and Partnership Pact between Kyrgyzstan an EU entered into force on 1 July. In this connection the standing representative of the EU, pleni-potentiary Michael Humphries, and Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Muratbek ImanAliyev held a press conference. ImanAliyev characterized the agreement as a pact between equal parties. Humphries called it "a tool of economic and political cooperation" and expressed hope that the EU will become Kyrgyzstan's main trade partner. The same day, the EU representative met the speaker of lower house of parliament, Usub Mukambaev.

KAZAKHSTAN AGREES TO LOWER TARIFFS.
Kazakhstan accepted several economic suggestions by the Kyrgyz side during the weekend meeting between Kyrgyz and Kazakh government delegations in Almaty. According to the deputy director of Kyrgyz Energo, Iljas Davydov, the Kazakh side agreed to allow uninterrupted transit of Uzbek gas to Kyrgyzstan and not to block Kyrgyz lorries. It was also agreed to eliminate the 200% customs tariffs for some Kyrgyz imports to Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan also agreed to reconsider railway tariffs.

BAKAI TO PAY FINES.
The Bishkek arbitration court considering the suit between Bakai Shareholders Company and Tax Inspection decided in favor of the latter. According to the decision, Bakai is obliged to pay 300,160,000 soms for a two year export of alcoholic beverages to Kazakhstan and Uzbekstan. The delay in tax payment was caused by the refusal of Kazakhstan to ratify the inter-governmental treaty on import and export taxes. On 30 June the lower house of parliament gave its conclusion that Bakai was not to blame. But the arbitration court did not take this into consideration. Bakai is now planning to appeal to the Republican Arbitration court.

WORLD BANK DELEGATION IN BISHKEK.
On 6 June a World Bank delegation headed by executive director for Kyrgyzstan Matthias Mayer arrived in Bishkek. They will participate in a government organized international seminar called "Integrated Basis of Country Development" planned for 6-7 July. WB representatives also will hold talks with Kyrgyz authorities.

MUNAJ LOSES LICENSING RIGHTS.
By presidential decree, the oil importing company Munaj has been deprived of the right to issues licenses to other companies to import oil and control the inner market. As the press secretary of the president, Kanybek Imanaliev, said on 5 July, these rights will be transferred to State Inspection for Standardization, Meteorology and Certification. Bakirdin Subanbekov, the director of Munai said the same day that his company will further work on the same conditions as commercial firms.

GOLD PRODUCTION RISES.
In the first half of 1999, the Kyrgyz State Company Kyrgyzaltyn exeeded the gold production plan by 2%. According to the press service of Kyrgyzaltyn, despite the fall in gold prices on the global market, gold producers are trying to stay at last year's level.

IMAMS MEETING IN OSH.
The Directorate of Kyrgyzstani Muslims is organizing a series of conferences for imam-hatibs this week starting from the Osh oblast. Muslim Muftij's first deputy Abdylda Asrankulov says that the conferences will discuss the religious situation and the work of local imam-hatibs.

KYRGYZ DELEGATION BACK FROM ANKARA TRIP.
On 3 July, a delegation headed by President Askar Akaev returned from a two-day visit to Turkey. Agreements on avoiding double-taxation and inter-state cooperation were signed. RL correspondents reported that a statement named "To the 21st Century Together with Turkey" was also approved. Additionally, it was decided that the Ak Keme hotel in Bishkek will be transferred to the Turkey side.

GROUP PROMOTING KYRGYZSTAN VISITED 18 COUNTRIES.
The first stage of the Great Silk Route expedition is over, as its organizer Osmon Satykeev said on 2 July. He is the president of the Jibek Jolu Shareholders company. According to him, the main goal of the expedition was to promote Kyrgyzstan to the world. A group of 50 people left Kyrgyzstan at the end of last December. But in Turkey financial difficulties forced half of the participants to return home. The rest continued and within six month they visited around 50 cities in 18 countries in Eurasia.

INQUIRY INTO THE KILLING OF BUSINESSMAN COMPLETED.
The widow of Jusup Koelbaev, former president of the Lukoil-Kyrgyzstan firm, says that the investigation into his case is finished. According to Chynara Koelbaeva, six suspects are now reading the results of the investigation. The trial is due in August. Koelbaev was shot dead on 21 March 1996 at the entrance of his house.

SEISMOLOGISTS UNDER THREAT OF BEING LEFT WITHOUT ELECTRICITY.
Ernis Mamyrov, the deputy director of the Institute of Seismology at the National Academy of Sciences, told RL correspondents in Bishkek that due to insufficient funding from the state, there is a danger that the Institute will be left without electricity. If Kyrgyz Energo Shareholders Company stops providing electricity, the Institute will not be able to receive information from seismological stations around the country on a daily basis, he added.

PRIME MINISTER MEETS ELDERLY.
On 2 July Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev and several cabinet members met representatives of pensioners in response to demands put forward at a protest meeting one month ago. MurAliyev gave an extensive explanation of the grave economic situation in the country. He said that the main demand of pensioners to raise the minimum wage is not achievable this year due to the austerity measures being implemented to save the national currency from inflation. He said the proper conditions were created for supplying with flour and flour-products, electricity and pensions and social payments in a timely manner. MurAliyev promissed to meet the elderly once a month to discuss their problems.

GOVERNMENT CLOSE TO DEFERRING FOREIGN DEBT PAYMENT.
To prevent the country from deep recession, the government is undertaking measures to renegotiate payment dates of foreign debts. According to Prime Minister Amangeldi Muraliev, talks on deferring payment of debts to Russia ($18 ml), Pakistan and Turkey are in the final stage.

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