24 January 2002
U.S. STATE SECRETARY'S ENVOY ARRIVES IN ALMATY
On January 24, the U.S. Secretary of State's special envoy for European and Eurasian matters, Elizabeth Jones, arrived in Almaty where she held talks with Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrisov. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ontalap Onarbayev told RFE/RL that they discussed the implementation of the U.S.-Kazakh bilateral agreements signed by Presidents Nursultan Nazarbayev and George Bush at the White House on 21 December during Nazarbayev's visit to Washington. Those documents included agreements on exploitation of mineral resources in Kazakhstan, and supporting small and medium businesses in Kazakhstan. Also discussed were the situation in Afghanistan and Kazakhstan's possible contribution to the process of Afghanistan's recovery.
PRESIDENT'S SON-IN-LAW DISMISSED AGAIN
According to the Presidential Press Service, Rakhat Aliyev, President Nazarbayev's eldest son-in-law, was sacked from the position of deputy commander of the Presidential Guard on 24 January. Just two months ago Nazarbayev dismissed Aliyev from the position of deputy chairman of Kazakhstan's National Security Committee following a stand-off between Aliyev and a group of young Kazakh politicians led by Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov, then Governor of Pavlodar Oblast in northern Kazakhstan. Nazarbayev also dismissed Zhaqiyanov and his associates who had just formed a new political movement called Democratic Choice for Kazakhstan. Last week, Rakhat Aliyev was elected Chairman of Kazakhstan's Olympic Committee. Some sources told RFE/RL that Aliyev may currently be abroad.
CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO KAZAKHSTAN MEETS KAZAKH PARLIAMENT DEPUTIES
On January 24, Chinese Ambassador to Kazakhstan Yao Peishen met with deputies of the Mazhilis (the lower chamber of Kazakhstan's parliament). He told them that there are over 1.2 million ethnic Kazakhs living in the Xin Jiang - Uighur Autonomous region in north-west China. Mazhilis deputy Sherkhan Murtaza asked Ambassador Yao why the Chinese authorities create "obstacles for those ethnic Kazakhs of China who intended to return to their historic motherland - Kazakhstan." The Chinese ambassador denied that any such obstacles exist for any ethnic Kazakhs of People's Republic of China who wish to move to Kazakhstan.
Kazakh Senator Quanysh Sultanov, a former Kazakh Ambassador to China, confirmed Yao's statement, saying that the emigration to Kazakhstan of ethnic Kazakhs living in China has been discussed at the presidential level.
KAZAKHSTAN'S IDENTIFICATION CARDS TO BE CHANGED
The chief of Migration Police Department at the Kazakh Interior Ministry, Omirbay Musayev, told journalists in Astana on 24 January, that the domestic identification cards in use in Kazakhstan will be changed very soon. He said that current IDs will be replaced by new ones with a color photo of the holder and will also show the holder's full permanent address. RFE/RL correspondents consider that innovation as a return to the Soviet-era compulsory registration system (propiska). The current IDs only show the oblast or city where the holder lives.