12 November 1999
KAZAKH PRESIDENT TO PARTICIPATE IN OSCE SUMMIT IN ISTANBUL.
Correspondents of RFE/RL quote the Presidential Press Service as reporting that Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbayev is scheduled to take part in the OSCE ummit in Istanbul, Turkey, on November 18-19. On November 11 President Nazarbayev left the capital for Almaty, where he was expected to speak to the Forum of Kazakh Financial Groups and Organizations on November 13. In the last ten days of November, President Nazarbayev will reportedly visit China and Mongolia.
NEW PARLIAMENT TO HOLD ITS FIRST SESSION ON DECEMBER 1.
Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev told journalists on November 9 that he was going to announce the names of the last 7 new members of Kazakh Parliament's Upper House - Senate - by December 1. According to the Kazakh Constitution, 7 members of the Senate are supposed to be appointed by President himself. President Nazarbayev said that those 7 members of the new Senate should be representatives of ethnic groups not represented in the newly elected Mazhilis - Lower House of Kazakh parliament. He added that the new Senators will be elected by him from among the members of the Kazakh People's Assembly, adding though that they also had to be well-known economists and lawyers. After that, said President Nazarbayev, the new Parliament will hold its first session on December 1.
KAZAKH PREMIER MET OFFICIALS OF THE WORLD BANK ON THURSDAY.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from the capital that Kazakh Prime Minister Qasymzhomart Toqayev held talks with top officials of the World Bank on November 11. The negotiations were held in Astana. The Kazakh Premier stressed that Kazakhstan was interested in developing further cooperation with the world's financial organizations in order to attract more foreign investments into the Kazakh economy.
OIL-WELL DRILLING IN THE CASPIAN REGION ST0PPED.
Correspondents of RFE/RL quote the press service of the KazakhOil Company as reporting that all well-drilling in the oil fields of Western Kazakhstan were stopped on November 11 due to worsening conditions. Heavy snow and windy weather forced international oil consortiums to suspend drilling activities in the area.
Snowy weather is also reported in the former capital - Almaty. In general, 45 traffic accidents caused by windy weather and snowfall were reported in Almaty in one day, November 11. Three passengers died and 45 persons were wounded in an accident that happened on the Medeu highway the same day, when a bus turned over on the icy road.
POLITICAL MOVEMENTS, PARTIES AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS HELD SESSION AT GERMAN HOUSE IN ALMATY.
Leaders of different political parties, movements and other organizations of Kazakhstan gathered in the German House of Almaty on November 11. The main issue discussed at the session was about defining Kazakhstan's national idea common for all the ethnic groups of the country. Leader of Orleu movement -Seydakhmet Quttyqadam said at the session that he was against the idea of granting a special status to any ethnic group living in Kazakhstan. Some participants said that all the ethnic groups of Kazakhstan should be equal on all social levels. The gathering came to the conclusion that the main way to define the common national idea for the whole country was to improve the economic situation and the quality of everyday life of ordinary citizens.
BELGIAN-ALMATY POWER CONSOLIDATED COMPANY MAY LEAVE KAZAKHSTAN.
Valentin Makalkin - a newly elected member of Kazakh Parliament's Lower Chamber - Mazhilis - also known as a member of the Almaty Energo-Pool Joint Stock Company's Directors Council said at a press conference held at the Kazakh National Press Club in Almaty on November 11 that the Kazakh-Belgian Joint Venture "Almaty Power Consolidated" (APC) should leave Kazakhstan. APC currently controls the heating and energy supply system of the former Kazakh capital and Almaty Oblast. According to Mr. Makalkin, the Belgian company has managed to buy the 400-million dollar energy system of Almaty oblast just for $7 million a couple of years ago. He said that the energy and heating supply system must be given to the local companies, adding that the APC had failed to meet its obligations and duties defined in all the documents signed by the company and local administration two years ago.
NO PROTON ROCKETS WILL BE LAUNCHED FROM BAIKONUR UNTIL FEBRUARY NEXT YEAR.
Chief of the Kazakh Air and Space Research Agency, Meyirbek Moldabekov told journalists on November 11 that the Kazakh government had temporarily banned all Proton rocket launches from the Baikonur Space Center in Central Kazakhstan. Launches of all other types of rockets seem to be allowed after November 17, the day when Russian top officials and the Kazakh state commission are scheduled to hold talks on the consequences of the Proton rocket explosion over Kazakh territory earlier at the end of the last month (October 27). Proton rockets use highly toxic fuel - hepthil.
POLICE STARTED CONTROLLING MILK TRADERS IN THE FORMER CAPITAL.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that policemen started confiscating milk from milk traders in Almaty on November 11. The action was caused by the abrupt increase of typhoid patients in the hospitals of the former capital. 20 patients with typhoid virus were hospitalized in Almaty this week. One person is reported to be in grave condition. Private non-registered milk traders usually sell their product without any sort of sanitary control on the corners of Almaty nowadays. They usually come to the former capital with their products from the suburban villages. It is not clear though if the contaminated milk was the source of the disease.
EXPLOSIVES DISCOVERED IN ALMATY APARTMENT.
According to correspondents of RFE/RL, about 3 kilograms of a very strong explosive called trotyl or TNT were detected in an apartment of Almaty belonging to a 27year-old person. It was reported that the amount of explosives discovered could destroy a number of apartment blocks. Just 100 grams of the substance is enough to blow up an apartment block. Investigations are underway.
ROMANIAN PRESIDENT IN KAZAKHSTAN.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from the Kazakh capital that Romanian President Emil Constantinescu arrived in Astana on 10 November. On November 11 his official visit to Kazakhstan started. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev held talks with his Romanian counterpart on that day. The sides signed a joint communique on the further development of mutual economic partnership and cooperation. At the press conference held by the two presidents after the talks, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said that all the bilateral documents signed between Kazakhstan and Romania during his official trip to Bucharest in September, 1998 have been working successfully since that time. The volume of Kazakh-Romanian trade reached $30 million from zero in a year, said President Nazarbayev. The Kazakh leader also said that the Romanian side had expressed its interest in participating in the programs on Kazakh oil transportation to the West. "Such countries as Romania, Poland and Bulgaria are our main partners in the transportation of our oil to the Western part of the world," added the Kazakh president. According to President Nazarbayev, one of the main priorities for the Kazakh economy is "to revive traditional economic partnership with East European countries founded in the socialist era". Romanian President Emil Constantinescu awarded his Kazakh counterpart with the highest Romanian medal - "Star of Romania".
CHAIRMAN OF KAZAKH CUSTOMS COMMITTEE HELD TALKS WITH HIS UZBEK COUNTERPART.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that Maratqali Nukenov - Chairman of the Kazakh Customs Committee - held talks with the Chairman of the Uzbek Customs Committee, Utkir Kamilov, in the town of Sary�Aghash, situated very close to the Kazakh-Uzbek border, on November 8. Such issues as Kazakh-Uzbek economic cooperation and joint activities of the two border guards of the two countriescountries' border guards were discussed by the sides. Local businessmen, traders, and leaders of industrial facilities from both sides took part in the talks. Also, the Vice Chairman of the Kazakh National Security Committee and the Director of the Kazakh Border Guard Service, General Bolat Zakiev, and the governor of South Kazakhstan Oblast, Berdibek Saparbayev, participated in the negotiations.
KAZAKH CABINET HELD SESSION ON SUPPORT OF DOMESTIC BUSINESSES.
Kazakh Premier Qasymzhomart Toqayev held a Cabinet session on November 11, at which problems faced by the Kazakhstani industrial facilities and private businesses were reportedly discussed. Such officials as Vice Premier Alexander Pavlov, the Chairman of the Kazakh Agency on the Small Businesses Support - Altay Tleuberdin as well as Parliament members and local governors took part in the work of the session. Prime Minister Toqayev said at the session that private businesses had to be supported by the government in order to make them really independent and flexible. "The development of our domestic businesses and industrial facilities is one of the most important ways to make our economy stable," said the Kazakh Premier.
CHIEF OF OSCE MISSION IN ALMATY REACTS TO PRESIDENT NAZARBAYEV'S STATEMENT.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from Almaty that Ulrich Schoening, in his interview given to 31 Channel TV station, commented on the Kazakh President's statement on OSCE activities in Central Asia that were made on November 10. Mr. Schoening said that President Nursultan Nazarbayev's opinion about the OSCE's "double standards" attitude to democracy in different countries was not right. The OSCE, - said Ulrich Schoening, - has never performed anything similar to "double standard". All of its activities are based on the universal democratic principles defined in Copenhagen. Mr. Schoening also said that the OSCE was committed to further mutual cooperation with the Republic of Kazakhstan, adding though that the OSCE would regret if Kazakhstan was the first country to leave that organization in future.
LEADER OF RETIRED ARMY OFFICERS UNION WARNS.
Major General Aytqaliy Essenqulov - leader of the Retired Officers Union - told journalists in Almaty on November 10 that it was more likely that religious militants would return to South Kazakhstan and neighboring Kyrgyzstan in spring of next year. According to General Essenqulov, the religious extremists who had managed to enter Kyrgyz territory from neighboring Tajikistan and had taken dozens of local inhabitants hostage, including 4 Japanese geologists, earlier in August had left Kyrgyz territory in October due to cold weather. He said that the militants seemed to have left for Afghanistan where they would spent the winter season in camps, so asto repeat their attempts to sneak into Kyrgyz, Kazakh or Uzbek territories when the weather was warmer. Events in South Kyrgyzstan showed the weakness of the Central Asian armies, said General Essenqulov, adding that regular military units of Kyrgyzstan, together with their Kazakh and Uzbek colleagues, had failed to solve the problem caused by "just a tiny group of terrorists". Taking that into account, said the leader of the Retired Officers Union, the Kazakh government must start paying more attention to its defense forces and allocate more financial support for the Army.
KAZAKH MILITARY PROCURACY GAVE DETAILS ON ARREST OF FOUR KAZAKH OFFICERS.
Bakhytzhan Sarsenov - Deputy Military Prosecutor General - told correspondents of RFE/RL on November 10 that 4 officers of the military unit located in Sary-Ozek, Almaty Oblast, had been arrested after two of them were caught selling some ammunition to illegal weapon traders earlier this week. The volume of gun-powder, anti-tank grenades and other ammunition stolen by the 4 officers was reported as being worth $3,500. Preliminary investigations say that the ammunition might have been stolen to be sold to representatives of Chechen rebels led by Shamil Basayev.
In all, 14 Kalashnikov machine guns wer officially registered as lost at military units of Kazakhstan this year. Russia's ORT TV Channel reported on November 10 that two Kazakh officers had been fighting against Russian Federal Forces on the rebel side during the events in Dagestan this summer. According to ORT, every Kazakh officer hired by the Chechen field commanders was paid $100 per day.
ONE MORE SOLDIER COMMITTED SUICIDE.
In the night between November 9 and November 10, private Makhambet Aspambetov shot himself to death, correspondents of RFE/RL reported from Almaty. The soldier served at military unit #7552 of the Kazakh Interior Ministry. The unit's mission is to guard the prison in the town of Zarechnaya, Almaty Oblast. 19 year-old Makhambet had been recruited from the town of Shetpe, Manghystau Oblast, in Western Kazakhstan. The unit's zamploit - Deputy Commander responsible for moral and political situation - resigned due to the tragedy. Investigations are underway. The number of suicides in the Kazakh Army increased in recent years.
20 TONS OF NON-FERROUS METAL IMPOUNDED IN EASTERN KAZAKHSTAN.
Corespondents of RFE/RL report that two trucks loaded with 20 tons of non-ferrous metal were stopped on the Semey - Zaisan - Oskemen highway this week. The trucks were headed towards the Chinese border. It turned out that the non-ferrous metal was being smuggled to neighboring China. Investigations are underway.
NEW KAZAKH CABINET TAKES OATH.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from Astana that on November 10, members of the new Kazakh Cabinet took an oath in the Kazakh capital. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev opened the ceremony and all the Ministers pledged to serve the country and the nation. President Nazarbayev introduced the Cabinet to its responsibilities and duties, recently amended after the reorganization of some Ministries and agencies. The Kazakh president cited such issues as the deepening of reforms, increasing the volume of foreign investments, the struggle against corruption and organized crime, and the paying of the debts next year as main priorities for the current Kazakh Cabinet. He also mentioned that it was necessary to pay attention to the "quality of foreign investors, not to their quantity".
KAZAKH LEADER TO TAKE PART IN THE WORK OF OSCE SESSION IN ISTANBUL.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev told correspondents of RFE/RL on November 10 that he was going to visit Istanbul on November 18 -19 to take part in the session of the OSCE. He said the following: "...We have decided to become members of the OSCE, hoping that this organization will give guarantees for our security. But recent events in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and the Caucasus seem not to have attracted the OSCE's attention. If that organization does not care about such Asian states as we are, a question arises: "Do we need that organization at all?" End of the quote.
Correspondent of RFE/RL also asked the Kazakh leader about his attitude towards the criticism expressed by the OSCE of the Parliamentary elections held in Kazakhstan last month. President Nazarbayev said: "...many things are not similar and therefore not understandable. We have held alternative Presidential elections this year, we have held Parliamentary elections, at which every seat was disputed by about 8 candidates. Is it a democracy? Of course, it is. Look, we have made a big step towards real democracy. Do you think it was easy? No. We are a former socialist republic, ... all the politicians and state figures have just put off their socialist uniforms. But we have achieved a lot already in our reforms towards democracy. Surely, there were some mistakes during the elections, but our courts are researching the cases of rule violations currently, ...everything is legal. Look at other countries, countries which have no press and speech freedom, countries which have no alternative elections at all. Comparing us with them, I would say that Kazakhstan is the most democratic country in Central Asia, that is why any sort of double standard opinions expressed by any organization are not acceptable by us. On the other hand, we do not need anyone's advice. Such advice can be defined as interference in the internal affairs of our independent state. And we never allow that to anyone. What do the Kazakhs need currently? Independence and stability. The most important thing for us is inter-ethnic stability. Do not forget that Kazakhstan is populated by representatives of more than 120 ethnic groups. That is the most important thing for us..." End of the quote.
KAZAKH PRESIDENT CHAIRED SESSION OF THE KAZAKH NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from Astana that Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev chaired a session of the Kazakh National Security Council on November 9. No journalists were allowed to be present at the work of the session. Chairman of the Kazakh National Security Council - Marat Tazhin told journalists after the session that three main issues had been discussed at the session. The first was about adopting of a National Security Council strategy for 1999-2005. Another issue discussed at the session was about the struggle against drugs traffickers and traders. And the last matter was connected to the safety and security of flights conducted by domestic air companies. It was reported at the session that in the last 9 months 32 air accidents had taken place in Kazakhstan. Chairman of the Kazakh National Security Council - Marat Tazhin also said that a special Presidential Decree on the fight against the illegal drug business would be signed in the nearest future.
FOUR ARMY OFFICERS ARRESTED FOR WEAPONS THEFT.
On November 9, Kazakh Military Procuracy announced about arrest of four officers of the Kazakh Army, serving at a military base in Sary-Ozek, Almaty Oblast. The detained officers are accused of having stolen big amounts of ammunition and anti-tank grenades. There are a very high ranked officer from missiles unit and a military depot's Chief among the arrested persons reportedly. Investigations are underway.
INTERNATIONAL CONSORTIUM HELD SESSION IN AQSAY.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that the International Oil Consortium comprising such international giants as Agip (Italy), British Gas (Britain), Gazprom (Russian Federation) and Kazakhstan's KazakhOil, held its session in the town of Aqsay, Western Kazakhstan on November 9. The Consortium has rented West Kazakhstan's oil-rich region called Qarashyghanaq for 40 years. It is planned to build a new town in the area in that period. Currently the area faces such problems as water, natural gas and housing shortages. Ways of overcoming the situation were discussed at the session reportedly.
ANOTHER EX-CANDIDATE TO PARLIAMENT COMPLAINS.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that Amangeldy Bektemissov, an ex-candidate to Kazakh Parliament's Lower Chamber - Mazhilis, held a press conference at the National Press Club in the former Kazakh capital on November 9. Mr. Bektemissov stated that numerous violations of Kazakh law and internationally recognized democratic principles had taken place during the Parliamentary elections in Almaty Oblast. He said that due to these violations, he had failed to be elected to Parliament. Amangeldy Bektemissov used to be Governor of Eastern Kazakhstan Oblast in the early 90s. He also led a state Joint Stock Company called "Ken Dala" which was responsible for reforms in the agricultural sector.
WATER RESERVES ISSUE DISCUSSED AT SESSION OF 5 STATES IN ALMATY.
According to information provided by correspondents of RFE/RL, official representatives of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Uzbekistan discussed the issue of water resources shared by those 5 countries. Russian and Kazakh representatives expressed their anxiety on the destiny of the Ertis (Irtysh) river which crosses China, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation. The Chinese part of that river, called Qara Ertis (Black Irtysh), has changed drastically in the last several years. Chinese authorities are implementing programs on the construction of numerous dams on the Qara Ertis in order to solve the water shortage problem faced by the newly erected industrial facilities of the Xin Jiang region in Western China, also known as Eastern Turkistan. The Ertis River is one of the most important water resources for Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation as well. It is more likely that the planned construction of Chinese dams could cause some water imbalance in Eastern Kazakhstan and Russian Siberia, the areas receiving power for electricity and heating systems from several power stations on the Ertis. The session was organized by the Kazakh Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources reportedly.