13 October 2000
SPEAKER OF UPPER HOUSE OF KAZAKH PARLIAMENT MEETS UN REPRESENTATIVE.
Oralbay Abdikarimov, the speaker of the Kazakh Parliament's Upper Chamber, the Senate, met with Hikmet Akcura, the UN representative in Kazakhstan, on 12 October. The UN was instrumental in implementing a special program to provide Internet access and e-mail for Kazakh parliament deputies. In all, the UN has provided some $225,000 in fudning for Kazakh parliament programs in recent years.
KAZAKHSTAN'S PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE ON ECONOMY, FINANCE AND BUDGET MEETS.
The Committe on Economy, Finance and Budget of the Lower Chamber of the Kazakh Parliament held a session on 12 October to discuss draft laws on amendments to the Customs Law and the introduction of a Construction Savings Bank system. National Bank Vice Chairman Konstantin Kolpakov said that the Construction Savings Bank system might bring a big profit to Kazakhstan, adding that "Germany had rich experience in that area since 1945." Kolpakov added that other post-Communist countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Poland managed to reach noticeable results after introducing a Construction Savings Bank system 10 years ago. The system entails investments in construction firms by ordinary citizens who later receive dividends.
MORE AIDS PATIENTS REGISTERED IN PAVLODAR, NORTH KAZAKHSTAN.
Khabar News Agency reported on 12 October that six more AIDS patients were registered in Pavlodar, North Kazakhstan this week, one of whom is under 18 years of age. In all, about 1,300 AIDS patients are officially registered in Kazakhstan, of whom the majority, about 500 persons, live in the town of Temirtau in Qaraghandy Oblast.
ALMATY INTELLECTUALS 'CLUB FOR LAND' HELD PRESS CONFERENCE.
Leaders and activists of the Almaty Intellectuals "Club for Land" held a press conference in the former Kazakh capital on October 12 at which they demanded that the draft law on land be published in the press for public discussions before hearings in parliament. The Draft Law on Land is expected to be discussed in parliament on October 19. The leader of the Association of Mothers with Many Children, Bighaisha Serikbaeva, told RFE/RL correspondents that her organisation will start a hunger strike if the draft law is not published prior to the parliament discussion.
FORMER CHIEF OF SHYMKENT REFINERY BLAMES CANADIAN COMPANY.
The Former Director of the Shymkent Oil Refinery, Nurlan Bizaqov, held a press conference in Almaty on October 11 at which he accused the Canadian Company Hurricane Hydrocarbons, which owns the refinery, of conducting unspecified "illegal activities on the Kazakh territory." Bizaqov said he was sacked from the position of refinery director by HH officials without preliminary consultations with the Directors' Board. He also said that he will sue the Canadian HH Company officially, adding that he is ready to "reveal more illegal operations of the company in Kazakhstan." He also said that HH is pumping large amounts of cash out of Kazakhstan to the West instead of reinvesting in the Kazakh economy.
STATE STRATEGIC PLANNING AGENCY HELD SESSION.
The Kazakh State Agency on Strategic Planning held a session in Astana on 11 October to discuss implementation of the Presidential program "Kazakhstan-2030." Kazakh Vice Premier Erzhan Otembaev said that Kazakhstan has managed to achieve noticeable results in economic and democratic reforms, adding though that geopolitical interests of some countries and the economic crisis hitting all over the world made the progress tempo slower than ihad been expected. Otembayev also mentioned the complicated situation in Afghanistan and recent the intrusion of religious extremists into neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan as other obstacles to improving the economic situation in the region.
KAZAKH NATIONAL BANK CHIEF MISQUOTED.
A number of members of Mazhilis (Kazakh Parliament's Lower Chamber) demanded explanations from Grigoriy Marchenko - Chief of Kazakh National Bank on 11 October in connection with statements that were apparently attributed to him in error. The State Khabar TV Agency on 8 October quoted Marchemko as alleging that some officials of the Kazakh Parliament receive money from financial groups and businessmen for "protecting their interests in the Parliament." Mazhilis deputies demanded on 11 October that Marchenko name the deputies in question, whereupon Marchenko denied having made the statement attributed to him by Khabar TV.
ALL-UNION BOLSHEVIK PARTY'S LEADERS IN ALMATY HELD PRESS CONFERENCE.
On October 11 Otegen Qabaziev and Lev Balaian, the leaders of the so-called All-Union Party of Bolsheviks in Almaty, held a press conference in the former capital of Kazakhstan devoted to the situation in Yugoslavia and celebrations of the 83rd anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution. Qabaziev said that the Bolsheviks never supported the disintegrtaion of the USSR, and spoke in favor of continuing to commemorate the October Revolution. Lev Balaian harshly criticized Vladimir Putin for his, as he said, "betrayal of Slobodan Milosevic - President of Yugoslavia." Balaian denied that Slobodan Milosevic is a war criminal.
ALMATY CITY DELEGATION ARRIVED IN TURKISTAN.
A delegation from Almaty City led by city Mayor Victor Khrapunov arrived in the town of Turkistan in southern Kazakhstan on October 11. Turkistan is planning to start marking its 1500th anniversary next week. The Almaty delegation is expected to finance repairs in one of Turkistan's streets, which will be re-named after Almaty.
EURASIAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY SUPERCEDES CUSTOMS UNION.
On October 10, the Presidents of Belarus (Alyakandr Lukashenka), Kazakhstan (Nursultan Nazarbaev), Kyrgyzstan (Askar Akaev), the Russian Federation (Vladimir Putin) and Tajikistan (Emomali Rakhmonov) held talks in Astana and signed an agreement on transforming the CIS Customs Union comprising the five countries into a Eurasian Economic Community. Kazakh President Nazarbaev, hosting the summit, said at press conference held after the talks: "Three and a half years ago in Minsk I expressed the hope of creation of Eurasian Economic Union. Today that hope came true. All the documents were signed, goals were defined and all the organs were established. The Eurasian Economic Community is established. And I think this is a most important event." Nazarbaev was elected as Chairman of Eurasian Economic Community's Council. The next gathering of the EEC is expected to be held in Minsk in September next year.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who arrived in Astana on 9 October, met with leaders of ethnic Russians living in Kazakhstan on October 10. No journalists were allowed to attend the meeting. Putin said to journalists afterwards: "I have met with compatriots today. They spoke about the problems they were facing... And there are many problems still. One of the compatriots expressed a very important and worrisome idea. He said that the problem was not about economy or some military alliances, the problem was about a feeling [that it is time] to leave for somewhere else.... I told him, and he agreed with me, that such a feeling appears only when a person sees neither perspectives nor hopes for the future."
President Putin also visited the Lev Gumilev Eurasian University in Astana on 10 October, where he was told by Victor Sadovnichiy, rector of Moscow State University (MGU), that the majority of Kazakhstan's leaders graduated from MGU. Taking that information into account President Putin said: "... Kazakhstan to a significant extent is led by persons, who think as we, Russians, do, who have studied with the same professors as we used to learn from... And that means, we have all chances to think, if not in the same way, then at least productively, so that the future of our peoples will be harmonious and will develop in accordance with the interests and expectations of people living in Kazakhstan and Russia."
MINOR CLASHES REPORTED ALONG KAZAKH-UZBEK BORDER.
"Kazakhstan Today" News Agency reported on 10 October that on October 8 minor clashes were reported near the village of Tonkeris in the Sary-Aghash region of South Kazakhstan Oblast. Customs officers of neighboring Uzbekistan tried to stop petroleum smugglers, who tried to export cheaper petroleum from Uzbekistan to Kazakhstan. The smugglers were citizens of Kazakhstan, who refused to stop, after which the Uzbek guards pursued them on to Kazakh territory, where they managed to stop the smugglers near Tonkeris village and made an attempt to arrest them, opening fire. Local residents then gathered at the spot, disarmed the Uzbek officers and passed them over to Kazakh officials. Investigations are underway.
PUTIN HELD PRESS CONFERENCE IN ASTANA.
Vladimir Putin, who is on his first official visit to Kazakhstan as Russian President, held a press conference after meeting with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbaev in Astana on 9 October
After the two presidents met earlier for talks lasting almost two hours, Kazakhstan and Russian representatives signed several documents on mutual cooperation, including a memorandum on cooperation in the fields of fuel and energy (signed by Kazakhstan's First Deputy Premier Aleksandr Pavlov and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko), an agreement on the opening of a Consulate of the Russian Federation in Oral City, West Kazakhstan and a Consulate of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Astrakhan (signed by Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrisov and Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov), an agreement on the status of Russian media correspondents in Kazakhstan and Kazakh journalists in Russia (signed by the Kazakh Minister of Mass Media and Public Concord Altynbek Sarsenbayev and Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Trubnikov), and a protocol on the establishment of a branch of Moscow State University (MGU) in Kazakhstan, signed by the Kazakh Education Minister Qyrymbek Kosherbayev and Rector of MGU Sadovnichiy.
At the end of the signing ceremony, the presidents of Kazakhstan and Russia signed a declaration on cooperation in the Caspian Sea, a memorandum on cooperation in the humanitarian sphere and a communique on the results of Putin's visit to Kazakhstan.
After the ceremony, the two presidents made statements. Nazarbaev recalled that this was Putin's first visit to Astana as Russian President and said the two countries need to improve their bilateral ties. "After independence, Kazakhstan has been eager for integration, especially with Russia," Nazarbaev said. Vladimir Putin evaluated the talks as successful, noting that the agreement on the Eurasian Economic Community, to be signed the following day in Astana by CIS Custom Union leaders, was Nazarbaev's idea.
BELARUSSIAN PREMIER ARRIVED IN ASTANA.
Belarussian Premier Vladimir Yermoshin arrived in Astana on 5 October and held talks with his Kazakh counterpart Qasymzhomart Toqaev on expanding bilateral cooperation. It was mentioned at a press conference after those talks that in all, 43 agreements and treaties have been signed between Kazakhstan and Belarus since 1992. Currently the annual trade volume between Astana and Minsk is about $60 million. Yermoshin said that Belarus considered its cooperation with Kazakhstan strategic, adding that he hopes that mutual ties between the two states will have a long term basis. According to Yermoshin, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus "have managed to establish a real potential for the further development of the region." He also expressed his gratitude to Kazakhstan for its help with wheat in 1998 and 1999, the years of big drought in Belarus. Kazakh Premier Toqaev said in turn that one of the main problems in expansion of Kazakh-Belarussian ties was high rail road tariffs in Russia. Toqayev added that the tariffs might be decreased through the bilateral negotiations with Russia or within the framework of the CIS Customs Union.
CUSTOMS UNION'S PREMIERS OUTLINED SUMMIT'S AGENDA.
The Premiers of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation and Tajikistan held talks in Astana on October 6, at which they outlined the agenda of the five countries' presidential summit scheduled for October 10. Kazakh Premier Qasymzhomart Toqaev said at press conference held by the five premiers after their talks that the main issue of the Customs Union's summit was to define the further development of the Union following its upgrading into the Eurasian Economic Community.
At the press conference, Interfax correspondents asked Russian Premier Mikhail Kasyanov and Belarusian Premier Vladimir Yermoshin if Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic had ever asked for political asylum in their countries. Both premiers answered that no such requests from the Yugoslav leader had ever been made.
Kazakh Premier Qasymzhomart Toqaev told RFE/RL correspondents later: "...I do not know if such a request has ever been made. The same question was put to the Russian and Belarussian Premiers today. I do not know anything about such requests. In any case, I am sure that any President of any country should be in his homeland."
RUSSIAN COSSACKS IN ALMATY HELD EXHIBITION ON THE EVE OF RUSSIAN PRESIDENT'S VISIT TO KAZAKHSTAN.
An exhibition called "What a Wonderful Country is Kazakhstan" organized by the leaders of Semirechiye Cossacks opened in Almaty on 6 October. The exhibition is devoted to the history, customs, rites and costumes of Russian Cossacks living in Kazakhstan. The leader of the Semirechiye Cossacks, Yurii Bunakov, told RFE/RL correspondents that the exhibition was opened on the eve of President Putin's visit to Kazakhstan, scheduled for October 9. President Putin is expected to visit Almaty after official meetings in Astana. The Russian president will reportedly hold meetings with Russian Cossacks living in the area.
EDITOR OF SOLDAT NEWSPAPER FACES NEW CHARGES.
Ermurat Bapi, the Editor-in-Chief of the independent newspaper "Soldat," told correspondents of RFE/RL on 6 October that he was summoned to Almaty's Interior Affairs Department the previous day where he was informed that he has been charged with igniting racial and ethnic hatred through his publications. Bapi rejects those charges, which he said are politically motivated. Recently Ermurat Bapi tried to import 10,000 copies of newly printed copies of his newspaper from Kyrgyzstan where the copies had been printed. Kazakhstan's publishing houses currently refuse to print his newspaper. The customs officers on the Kazakh-Kyrgyz border did not allow Bapi to bring the newspaper into the country. "Soldat" is known for its materials criticizing Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev and his policy.
ATTACKERS OF ERSAIYN ERQOZHA ARRESTED.
RFE/RL correspondents reported on 6 October report that new details of the acid attack against leader of "Education - Hope for the Next Generations" Movement Ersaiyn Erqozha have been made public. Erqozha was attacked earlier this year by two unknown persons, who splashed acid in his face. Erqozha was hospitalized the same day and his vision has been permanently damaged. A bookkeeper at the Education Academy, Maya Sharipova, reportedly hired two young persons to commit the attack. The attackers agreed to throw acid in Erqozha's face for $500. All of the suspected persons were detained on 5 October. Investigations are underway.
CONFERENCE ON KAZAKHSTAN'S OIL OPENS IN ALMATY.
An international conference on Kazakhstan's oil production and transportation was held in Almaty on October 4-5. The conference was held under the auspices of the 8th International Oil and gas Exhibition that started on October 3. More than 300 experts from 35 countries took part in the conference. Kazakh Vice Premier Danial Akhmetov told participants that in 10 years Kazakhstan will be able to produce up to 88,000 tons of crude oil annually. He said Kazakhstan will participate in construction of new pipelines connecting Kazakh oil fields with the outer world as well. The President of the state-owned KazakhOil Company, Nurlan Balghymbaev, acquainted participants with Kazakhstan's latest achievements in oil production, noting that Kazakhstan's oil producing sector is developing gradually. Kazakh Energy Minister Vladimir Shkolnik said that one of Kazakhstan's main priorities is construction of the U.S. supported Baku-Ceyhan oil export pipeline.
FRENCH DELEGATION IN ALMATY.
On 4-5 October a French state delegation held talks with Kazakh officials in Almaty on cooperation in energy, oil, gas, communication, financial transactions and other spheres. KazakhOil President Nurlan Balghymbaev (a former Kazakh Premier) and the President of KazakhTransOil Timur Kulibaev (President Nazarbaev's son-in-law) held separate talks with the visiting French officials.
COTTON HARVEST IN SOUTH KAZAKHSTAN LARGER THAN EXPECTED.
RFE/RL Correspondents quoted the Agriculture Department of South Kazakhstan Oblast as reporting that the cotton harvest this year is very promising in spite of the shortage of irrigation water. As of 5 October, over 230,000 tons of crude cotton have been picked, and an average of 8,000-9,000 tons is harvested daily. About 30,000 workers from neighboring Uzbekistan were hired by officials in South Kazakhstan in order to pick as much cotton as possible in a short period of time. Experts were afraid that the general volume of cotton harvested in South Kazakhstan this year would be no more than 213,000 tons.
US PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER ON CASPIAN POLICY MATTERS HELD PRESS CONFERENCE IN ALMATY.
John Wolf, who is an adviser to the U.S. President and State Secretary on Caspian policy matters, held a press conference in Almaty on 4 October. Wolf arrived in Kazakhstan in order to take part at the Eighth International Oil and Natural Gas Exhibition, in which more than 400 companies from 35 countries are participating. Government delegations from Russia, Great Britain, Iran, China, Turkey, France and the United States are attending the exhibition.
MEMBERS OF UYGHUR SEPARATIST GROUP KILLED IN ALMATY DURING FIGHTING WITH POLICE.
Four members of a Uighur separatist organization named Azattlyq Tashlaqty were killed during a one-hour gun-battle with police in Almaty on 27 September, Prime Minister Qasymzhomart Toqaev said in Parliament the following day. Toqaev referred to the organization as a terrorist one and accused it of murdering two Kazakh policemen the previous week. He also connected the organization with criminal activities and crimes in neighboring Kyrgyzstan, where two Chinese businessmen and a leader of the local Uighur community were killed earlier this year.
Interior Minister Qayirbek Suleymenov told a press conference in Astana later on 28 September that several days earlier other members of the UIghur organization were detained. The place where the leader and active members of the organization were hiding was established and security forces launched a special operation. According to Suleymenov, the group was heavily armed and refused to surrender, after which they were killed. Three Kalashnikov machineguns, a satellite connection device, as well as $10,000 in cash were found after the gun battle.
PRESIDENT NAZARBAEV IN TURKEY.
President Nursultan Nazarbaev, who has been spending his vacation in Turkey, met there with the country's former and current presidents Suleyman Demirel and Ahmed Necdet Sezer, RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty reported on 28 September.