15 June 1999
KAZAKH STATE COMMITTEE ON MONOPOLY AND COMPETITION SAYS THAT HOUSING UTILITIES COSTS WILL NOT BE INCREASED.
The Kazakh State Committee on Monopoly and Competition issued a statement on June 14, saying that prices for housing utilities in Almaty Oblast will not be increased, RFE/RL correspondents in the former capital reported. The Kazakh-Belgian joint venture called Almaty Power Consolidated (APC), an affiliate of Belgian Tractabel Company which controls energy and heating supply systems in Almaty oblast, had earlier sent a letter to the Kazakh State Committee on Monopoly and Competition asking permission to increase housing utilities prices starting June 1. According to Almaty Power Consolidated, the prices for electricity use, for instance, were to be increased by 70 per cent. Leaders of the APC also asked the Kazakh Committee at least to free it from taxes, in order to assist the company. But the Committee's leadership says that APC has to reduce the number of mobile phones and cars, as well as to cut the number of its staff.
CHIEF OF KAZAKH CUSTOMS COMMITTEE HELD PRESS CONFERENCE.
Maratqaliy Nukenov, Chairman of the Kazakh State Customs Committee, formerly Chief of the Kazakh National Security Committee, held his first press conference in the former capital on June 14. Mr. Nukenov criticized the former leadership of the Customs Committee for "shortcomings and poor management." The whereabouts of the former Chairman of the Customs Committee, General Ghaniy Qasymov, who unsuccessfully contended the January 1999 presidential elections, are unknown. Some sources told RFE/RL correspondents that Ghaniy Qasymov is now in Israel, where his daughter is undergoing hospital treatment. Maratqaliy Nukenov also said that he is not going to be involved into politics and his main job will be his top priority.
US EMBASSY ON KAZAKH URANIUM SELLING.
U.S. Embassy spokesman Michael Lully held a press conference on June 14 in Almaty, where he said that the American Trade Department is examining the issue of Kazakh uranium sold abroad at dumping prices. He said that the results of the investigations, in other words, the answer to the question whether Kazakhstan's sales of its uranium below world market prices affect the US uranium market or not, will be officially announced by July 18. Meanwhile, Murat Zhakishev, a representative of the Kazakh National Atomic Company denied reports that Kazakhstan has cut its uranium prices.
NO REPORTS ABOUT THE JOINT KAZAKH-UZBEK BORDER COMMISSION'S WORK.
No official data have been released on the results of the joint Kazakh-Uzbek Commission on the delimitation of the border between the two countries. June 15 had been set as the date for the release of such a report. Kazakh Premier Nurlan Balghymbayev recently visited Tashkent, trying to resolve the problems of natural gas transportation and the Uzbek-Kazakh border delimitation. The visit did not yield noticeable results. The joint Kazakh-Uzbek commission was created then in order to examine the issue.
ETHNIC KURDS OF KAZAKHSTAN HELD PRESS CONFERENCE.
Leaders of ethnic Kurds living in Kazakhstan held a press conference at the National Press Club in Almaty on 11 June. One prominent Kurdish representative, Academician Nadir Nadirov, said at the press conference that all the reports about Abdullah Ocalan's "regrets about his activities against the Turkish assimilation policy" carried by Turkish official mass media were "far from the truth." According to Mr. Nadirov, international journalists were not allowed to attend Ocalan's trial, and all of his statements during the trial "were intentionally misinterpreted by the Turkish officials." Mr. Nadirov added that Abdullah Ocalan had managed to send a message to his relatives, saying that they should not trust the official reports about his regrets and confessions. Mr. Nadirov also said that ethnic Turks and Kurds living in Kazakhstan had no problems and enjoyed their lives together "on the Kazakh soil." He also added that the ethnic Kurds living in Kazakhstan had never been and are not oppressed in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is the only former Soviet Republic in Central Asia where ethnic Kurds staged several demonstrations in Ocalan's support several days after his detention earlier this year. Such actions and mass gatherings of ethnic Kurds took place in Almaty and Zhambyl regions of Kazakhstan. In all, 50,000 Kurds currently live in Kazakhstan.
KAZAKH FOREIGN MINISTRY ON KOSOVO EVENTS.
The Kazakh Foreign Ministry issued an official statement on 12 June acclaiming the beginning of the withdrawal of Yugoslav army troops from Kosovo to Serbia.
HORSE RACES ORGANIZED TO MARK THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF ASTANA.
According to information provided by RFE/RL's Astana correspondents, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Premier Nurlan Balghymbaeyv and other top officials of Kazakhstan participated in the first Horse Race festival organized in the Kazakh capital on June 12. Sayat Nurqaydarov from Almaty won the races and received the keys of a two-roomed apartment from President Nursultan Nazarbayev personally. The races were staged at QULAGER hippodrome as part of the celebrations of the first anniversary of the proclamation of Astana as the country's official capital.
KAZAKH PRESIDENT RECEIVED CREDENTIALS FROM THE FIRST TURKMEN AMBASSADOR TO KAZAKHSTAN.
President Nazarbayev met with the first Turkmen Ambassador to Kazakhstan Khalnazar Agakhanov in Astana on June 11. President Nazarbayev reportedly congratulated Ambassador Agakhanov on his appointment as the Turkmen Ambassador to Kazakhstan, adding that the decision of the Turkmen authorities to open the Embassy in Astana could be a good example for other foreign countries. Most foreign embassies are still in Almaty, the former capital. After the ceremony of presenting credentials, the sides discussed further cooperation between Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, focussing specifically on trade and economic cooperation, oil and gas transportation, the definition of the legal status of the Caspian Sea, problems of the Aral sea, border delimitation and other matters.
It was also decided that the first session of the Kazakh-Turkmen joint Political Consultative Council will be held in January 2000. The Council was established earlier this year by President Nazarbaev and his Turkmen counterpart President Saparmurad Niyazov.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON STRUGGLE AGAINST CORRUPTION AND ORGANIZED CRIME IS UNDERWAY AT THE KAZAKH PARLIAMENT.
An international conference on the Struggle against Organized Crime and Corruption opened at the Mazhlis - the lower chamber of parliament - on 11 June. President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who reportedly initiated the conference, was expected to attend the opening session but failed to do so because of other duties. Oralbay Abdikarimov, Chief of the Kazakh State Anti-Corruption Commission, told RFE/RL correspondents on June 11 that the main idea of organizing such a conference was to exchange opinions and experiences of different international boards and organizations in anti-corruption activities. US. Ambassador to Kazakhstan Richard Jones was reportedly given the floor at the conference and called on the Kazakh leadership to focus on the definition of ethics in policy making and other activities.
The editor-in-Chief of the newspaper "21 VEK" and Vice Chairman of former premier Akezhan Kazhegeldin's People's Republican Party of Kazakhstan Bigeldy Gabdullin, who also attended the international conference, told RFE/RL correspondents that his party is facing problems in registration of its regional branches. According to Mr. Gabdullin, regional branches of the People's Republican Party of Kazakhstan have been officially regularized only in three Oblasts of Kazakhstan. As for the other regions of the country, the local authorities, as Mr. Gabdullin said, are creating obstacles, and the party cannot be registered. Mr. Gabdullin also said that it is unlikely that his party will be able to participate in the upcoming Parliamentary elections due to the problems faced by the party. Kazakhstan's laws allow only those parties and political movements which have branches registered in at least seven Oblasts of the country to participate in elections.
GERMAN CITIZEN FACES TRIAL IN QARASAY REGION OF ALMATY OBLAST.
According to information provided by RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty, Sergey Vishniyakov, a citizen of Germany, was brought to trial in Qarasay Region of Almaty Oblast lastweek. Mr. Vishniyakov is accused of smuggling radioactive materials from Bishkek to Almaty. Police and Kazakh National Security Officers detected 10 grams of uranium and plutonium in his belongings earlier this year. As became clear during the investigations, Sergey Vishniyakov and his family had moved to Germany from Kazakhstan in 1995. Mr. Vishniyakov visited Kazakhstan and some other former Soviet Republics "due to business reasons" several times since then. He admitted that he had been promised payment of about $50,000 for transporting the radioactive materials from Bishkek to Almaty. Experts say that the10 grams of uranium and plutonium had been produced in Russian Federation. It is not clear how the radioactive materials had been transported to Kyrgyzstan. The trial hearings are underway.
KAZAKHSTAN BANS IMPORT OF BELGIAN CHICKEN.
The Kazakh government adopted a decree on June 10 according to which import of Belgian chicken to Kazakhstan is banned, RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty reported. In some European countries, experts have detected dangerous dioxin in chicken brought from Belgium. The Kazakh government issued the Decree in order to prevent the illegal re-export of contaminated chicken to Kazakhstan.
GENERAL PROCURACY TO START CONTROLLING MIGRATION DEPARTMENT IN ALMATY OBLAST.
The Procuractor-General's office has issued a resolution according to which special investigation and control works will be conducted by the Procuracy at Almaty Oblast's Migration Department. It turned out that the Department's clerks made a list of "nonexistent" Kazakh repatriates and allocated money from the state treasury for them. In that way they managed to steal 790,000 Tenges ($1 equals 131 Tenges currently). The Kazakh government had launched a state program to bring ethnic Kazakhs from abroad and allocated money for the program after Kazakhstan obtained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
CONFERENCE ON CONDITION OF THE KAZAKH LANGUAGE HELD AT AL-FARABI UNIVERSITY.
Bakhytzhan Khasanov, Chief of the Kazakh Academy of Sciences Languages Development Department, said at a conference on the current condition of the State Language held at Al-Farabi University in Almaty on June 10 that situation of the Kazakh language is very dramatic. He said that despite the Kazakh language's having been designated the state language of the country, the Kazakh government and Parliament continue to use Russian as a dominant language. Khasanov appealed to the Kazakh government and Parliament to outline special measures on raising the role of the Kazakh language.
In the Kazakh News report of June 10, it was reported that US Ambassador to Kazakhstan Richard Jones met with hunger strikers of the Phosphorus Producing plant in Shymkent at the plant itself. The US Embassy informed RFE/RL on June 10 that Ambassador Jones was in Shymkent, but did not meet with hunger strikers at the Phosphorus Producing plant. After a press conference with Shymkent media, the striking workers met him on the sidewalk as he left the National Press Club and asked him to give a letter from them to the UN. The letter has been forwarded to the UN representative in Almaty.