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Kyrgyz Report: November 23, 1999


23 November 1999

KYRGYZSTAN, UZBEKISTAN FAIL TO RESOLVE GAS DISPUTE.
Kyrgyzstan has not received any natural gas from Uzbekistan since 16 November. Latypjan Sagynbaev, Director General of the government Kyrgyzgas company, failed to reach agreement during negotiations with Uzbek authorities in Tashkent last week on a resumption of supplies. A department head at Kyrgyzgas, Abdymajit Mamatisaev, told an RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 23 November that Kyrgyzstan currently owes Uzbekistan $4.1 million for earlier gas supplies, of which $3.4 million could be paid in the form of commodities or technical assistance. The Kyrgyz government says it has transferred to Uzbekistan about $500,000 since 16 November as payment for gas supplies. According to Mamatisaev, the Intergas company of Kazakhstan has also stopped gas deliveries to Kyrgyzstan.

FINANCE MINISTER PREDICTS KEY FIGURES.
Finance Minister Sultan Mederov announced at a cabinet meeting in Bishkek on 23 November that the inflation rate in Kyrgyzstan will reach 36.2 percent this year. The minimal subsistence level is now 1,101 soms per month (about $24) and according to Mederov, it will be 1,275 soms per month next year. The minister said GDP in Kyrgyzstan in 2000 will be 56 billion soms (about $1.24 million), which would be more than in 1999 by 1.4 percent. Mederov also estimated that exports in 2000 will amount $635 million and imports to $718 million, compared with $610 million and $677 million respectively in 1999.

DISMISSALS AND APPOINTMENTS.
According to the presidential press service, President Askar Akaev signed a special decree on 22 November dismissing his press secretary Kanybek Imanaliev. But Akaev recommended ImanAliyev for the post of director general of the Uchkun publishing house. The government must hold a general meeting of shareholders of Uchkun in a month.

The leadership of the Kyrgyzaltyn government company has also been formed. Chairman of the State Property Fund Tashkul Kereksizov has been appointed chairman of the Kyrgyzaltyn council of directors. Several representatives of the presidential administration and the government have become members of the council, including the Governor of the newly formed Batken province, Mamat Aibalaev.

Parliament deputy Kubanychbek Kudaibergenov has been appointed chairman of the board of directors of Kyrgyzaltyn. He served previously as head of the Kumtor Gold Corporation, a Kyrgyz-Canadian gold joint-venture. Earlier this year, the governmental gold company Kyrgyzaltyn was converted into a joint-stock company and its president, parliament deputy Dastan Sarygulov, was dismissed by President Askar Akaev.

MURDER TRIAL BEGINS.
The trial of the presumed murderers of Yusup Kolbaev, former chairman of Lukoil-Kyrgyzstan, began in the Kyrgyz Supreme Court in Bishkek on 23 November. The presiding judge is Dastan Aijigitov, a member of the Supreme Military Court of Kyrgyzstan.

Kolbaev was shot to dead in front of his house in Bishkek on 21 March 1997. Eight people are charged, all of whom are either policemen or officials of the Interior Ministry.

KYRGYZ DELEGATION TO MALAYSIA.
According to the governmental press service, a meeting of the Kyrgyz-Malaysian inter-governmental commission on economics and trade began in Kuala-Lumpur on 23 November. The Kyrgyz delegation is led by deputy minister of industry and foreign trade Sulaimankulov.

KYRGYZ DELEGATION TO WTO MEETING.
According to the government press service, Vice Prime Minister Esengul OmurAliyev will head the Kyrgyz delegation to the third meeting of the trade ministers of the World Trade Organization's member-countries, to be held in Seattle on 30 November - 2 December. Kyrgyzstan became the first CIS state to join the WTO on 14 October 1998.

RATE OF THE SOM.
Exchange offices in Bishkek were selling one US dollar for 46.5 soms on 23 November. Rate of the som, Kyrgyz currency, was about 43 soms to the $1 early in October.

FOREIGN MINISTRY SENDS A NOTE TO TASHKENT.
The Foreign Ministry announced in Bishkek on 22 November that it has sent a note to the Uzbek Foreign Ministry confirming that no rebels transitted Kyrgyz territory en route to attack the Uzbek town of Yangiabad last week. The ministry says it is possible to resolve any problems between the two states on the basis of friendship and bilateral understanding.

Three Uzbek policemen and three civilians were killed during the clashes with rebels in Yangiabad on 15 November. The Uzbek Foreign Ministry sent a protest note to Bishkek on 16 November, saying the rebels had come from Kyrgyzstan.

AN ALL-ARMY MEETING IN BISHKEK.
At a special military ceremony in Bishkek on 22 November, Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev presented awards to servicemen who distinguished themselves during the actions against military insurgents in southern Kyrgyzstan in August-September. More than 300 Kyrgyz citizens have been decorated: 32 people have been awarded with the Third Class Manas Order, 142 people - with the Glory Medal, and six people - with the Medal for Courage.

Defense Minister Esen Topoev reported to the meeting on the results of that operation. President Akaev told the meeting that the rebel crisis has shown that the Kyrgyz army should be reformed thoroughly.

Several hundred rebels invaded Kyrgyzstan from neighboring Tajikistan late in August and took hostage about 25 people, including four Japanese geologists. The hostages were released later group by group. 27 Kyrgyz citizens were killed during the crisis. The rebels left Kyrgyz territory in mid-October.

Security Council secretary Bolot Januzakov announced in Bishkek on 22 November that no ransom was paid to the rebels for the release of the hostages. According to media reports both in Kyrgyzstan and Russia as well as in Japan, a ransom from $2-6 million was paid. The Japanese government has likewise denied those reports.

KYRGYZ-JAPANESE COOPERATION CONTINUES.
According to the government press service, a Kyrgyz delegation led by Sharshenaly Murzagaziev, director of the State Agency on Geology and Mineral Resources, departed for Japan on 21 November. Murzagaziev will meet with Japanese ministry of industry and trade officials and the Japanese agency for international cooperation and discuss further cooperation.

Four Japanese geologists employed at the Altyn-Jylga gold mine in southern Kyrgyzstan were taken hostage by rebels on 22 August and released only on 25 October. The Japanese agency for international cooperation subsequently announced it would continue cooperation with Kyrgyz geologists only in the northern regions of Kyrgyzstan.

FORTHCOMING PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS.
The Central Election Commission announced at a meeting in Bishkek on 22 November that the registration of candidates for the parliamentary elections to be held on 20 February will begin on 25 November. Also, according to the CEC, there are 2,485,540 citizens in Kyrgyzstan who have the right to vote, and about 45 million soms (about $1 million) from state budget will be spent on organizing the poll.

There are two houses in the Kyrgyz parliament: the People's Assembly (upper house) currently has 70 seats and the Legislative Assembly (lower house) 35 seats. In the new parliament, 45 deputies will be elected to the People's Assembly and 60 to the Legislative Assembly, of whom15 will be elected on party lists.

NEW CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO KYRGYZSTAN.
According to information from the Foreign Ministry, a new Chinese ambassador to Kyrgyzstan has been appointed. Chan Chi Min will hand his credentials to President Askar Akaev on 25 November. Chan Chi Min is the fourth Chinese ambassador since diplomatic relation between Kyrgyzstan and China were established early in the 1990s.

PRESIDENT AKAEV RETURNS HOME.
The presidential press service announced in Bishkek on 20 November that the Kyrgyz delegation led by President Askar Akayev returned to Bishkek on 19 November. From 14 till 19 November, Akayev visited Denmark and Turkey. On 18-19 November in Istanbul, he attended the summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe where he delivered a speech.

According to the press service, Akaev held talks in Istanbul with Turkish President Suleiman Demirel, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadse, Finnish President and current chairman of the EU Martti Ahtisaari, Austrian President Thomas Klestil, OSCE officials Jan Kubis and Freimut Douwe, British Foreign Minister Robin Cook and the head of the Organization of the Islamic Conference Mr. Laraki. On the eve of the summit, Akaev took part in a meeting between OSCE Chairman Knut Vollebaek and leaders of the Central Asian states.

KYRGYZ DELEGATION TO TURKIC SUMMIT.
According to the government press service, a Kyrgyz delegation is taking part in a meeting of the culture ministers of the Turkic states, which began in Ankara, Turkey, on 20 November. Kyrgyzstan is represented by Tynychbek Tabaldiev, deputy minister of Education, Science and Culture.

RUSSIAN PAPER ON THE REBEL-CRISIS IN KYRGYZSTAN.
The Moscow-based daily "Krasnaya Zvezda" reported on the last rebel crisis in Kyrgyzstan in its19 November edition. According to the paper, there are about 1,500 rebels in the band headed by Jumabai Namangany, who has been wanted in Uzbekistan since the early 1990s. The main base of the band is in the Tajik village of Khoit. About 700 rebels invaded Kyrgyzstan late in August. Two elderly Kygyz who abetted the rebels, Elubai Kulbaev,72, and Orozbai Tolobaev, 68, have been arrested and accused of treason.

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