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Kazakhstan: Unemployment Up In Several Regions

Prague, 3 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - Kazakhstan's Labor Ministry says unemployment was up in several of the country's regions in November. The largest increase came in Semipalatinsk in northeastern Kazakhstan, which experienced an increase of eight percent.

Our correspondent reports that the worst unemployment problems are in the country's northern and central regions, where large industrial plants operated during the Soviet era. Unemployment is generally lower in southern parts of Kazakhstan.

Caspian Summit Scheduled For This Week

The Kazakh Foreign Ministry says that a summit on the definition of the Caspian Sea's status is scheduled for Friday in Moscow. Our correspondent reports that the Foreign Ministers of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan and Russia are expected. Representatives from international oil and gas consortiums will also reportedly take part.

Russia has said the Caspian Sea should be defined as a lake, which would mean its vast oil and gas reserves would be shared by bordering states. But Azerbaijan has pushed for the body of water to be considered a sea, which would allow each state to develop the resources within its territorial waters independently.