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Kyrgyz Report: January 15, 2000

15 January 2000

Director of the Bishkek heating and power station, Lev Vasilyev announced on 14 January that the station is without natural gas again. Beginning that day, the station works on black oil but has its reserves for 10-12 days only. The station subordinates to the Kyrgyzenergo governmental company, which has not yet paid its debts for gas deliveries from Uzbekistan. The plant had been using natural gas received from the other Kyrgyz governmental company, Kyrgyzgas, since last September.

Gas deliveries from Uzbekistan to Kyrgyzgas were interrupted from 16 November until 11 December 1999 due to its debts to Uzbekistan of about $4 million, and the whole country had been without natural gas for about a month. The government announced last November that Kyrgyzenergo owed Uzbekistan about $12 million for previous gas deliveries.

An official of Kyrgyzgas told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 14 January that Kyrgyzenergo had sold neighboring Kazakhstan about 9 million cubic meters of the gas received from Kyrgyzgas. That is why Kyrgyzgas stopped sharing natural gas with Kyrgyzenergo.

The government press service announced in Bishkek on 14 January that electricity tariffs for individual consumers were increased beginning 10 January. Now consumers should pay 0.21 soms per kWt-hour to a total of 90 kWt-hours, and 0.79 soms per kWt-hour from 90 to 700 kWt-hours. If a consumer uses less than 150 kWt-hours of electricity in a month he or she will pay 0.18 soms per kWt-hour, like before. The rate of the som is about 46 soms to the $1 now.

Emil Aliyev of the Ar-Namys Party told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 14 January that the Central Elections Commission had registered their joint party list for the forthcoming parliamentary elections to be held on 20 February. The party, together with the Party of Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan (PDMK,) formed a joint list on 5 January, and the chairman of Ar-Namys Felix Kulov became the number one in it, following by Jypar Jeksheev, chairman of the PDMK.

The Ar-Namys party had been barred from running its members to parliament on its own party list according to the New Election Code, which requires a political party to register one year before the date of the elections. The Ar-Namys, registered last August, sued the Justice Ministry saying that the code refers to an old law on public organizations, superseded last year by a new law on political parties. A district court ruled in favor of the Justice Ministry on 3 January, and the Supreme Court of the country will consider a party appeal on 18 January.

Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan began in Bishkek on 13 January to consider an appeal of the opposition Res Publica weekly against the previous decisions of a district and city court of Bishkek.

A public defender of the paper, Chairman of the Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights Ramazan Dyryldaev, has demanded that Supreme Court Chairman Akynbek TilebAliyev and his deputy Jenish Dosmatov attend the session. Also, he demanded to reject the participation of Judge Almira Mambetalieva in the session. According to Dyryldaev, she was not qualified as a judge by the parliament on 16 December 1999. The court rejected his demands and all representatives of the paper left the session on 14 January in a protest action. The court will continue considering the case.

About 20 workers of the National Radio and TV Corporation published a letter in the Res Publica weekly on 12 January 1999 accusing the President of the Corporation Amanbek Karypkulov of corruption. Karypkulov sued both the weekly and the authors and won the case. The Pervomai district court of Bishkek found the weekly guilty on 31 March 1999 and order it to pay the fines. The editorial board must pay 200,000 soms (about $6,700 at that time), and the six authors of the letter must pay Karypkulov 5,000 soms each. The Bishkek City court upheld the ruling on 30 April.

Deputy Minister of Health Care Viktor Glinenko announced in Bishkek on 14 January that the New Year holiday for schoolchildren has been prolonged until 23 January due to a flu epidemic. According to him, the current A-One grippe epidemic could be replaced in February by the Sydney Grippe, which comes to Kyrgyzstan from Europe through Russia.

Belgian Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Marc Franc announced in Bishkek on 14 January that there are now about 200 Kyrgyz citizens in Belgium who entered the country illegally. According to him, the immigration services of Belgium and Kyrgyzstan have agreed to join their efforts to expel them from Belgium and to find the organizations who had help them to come. The ambassador says that about 500 people from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have entered Belgium illegally in the last 3 months and that the total number of CIS citizens living illegally in Belgium is now about 2,000.

According to the presidential press service, President Askar Akayev will visit Moscow on 24 January to take part in the CIS summit. After Moscow, he will go to Switzerland to participate in the World Economic Forum in Davos. Finance Minister Sultan Mederov, Kyrgyz Ambassador to Switzerland Omar Sultanov and Akayev's elder daughter Bermet will accompany the president. Akayev is now on vacation until 20 January 2000.

First Vice Prime Minister Boris Silaev held a governmental meeting in Bishkek on 13 January. It was announced at the meeting that Kyrgyzstan signed documents to receive 1,694,700,000-dollar loans and technical help from abroad in 1992-1998. The 1,082,023,000-dollar part of it was actually received. 41.35 percent of the aid received was used to support the Kyrgyz currency, the state budget and hard currency reserves. It was decided at the meeting that only loans with annual interests of not more than 3 per cent for a 30 to 40-year period would be taken.

The government press service announced in Bishkek on 13 January that a decision to cut some local offices of some governmental bodies had been taken. Some of the offices duplicate each other. According to the decision, regional directorates of the agricultural ministry, ministry of health care, agency on sport and tourism and the committee of vocational training in the provinces will be closed.

On January 12 the Central Election Commission (CEC) warned Chairman of the Ar-Namys Party Felix Kulov about a premature election campaign. The independent Asaba weekly carries in its January 12 edition an interview with Kulov and; according to the CEC, it is a part of the campaign, but Kulov has not yet been registered with the CEC as a candidate to parliament. The next parliamentary elections will be held on 20 February and candidates to it should be registered by 20 January.

Emil Aliyev of Ar-Namys told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 12 January that the local election commission has refused to register Kulov without giving any serious reason. Kulov wants to run for parliament from the Kara-Buura (# 44) single-mandate constituency in the Talas region and has applied for all necessary documents. Also, he is Number One in a joint party list of the Ar-Namys and the Party of Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan. The party list has also not been registered. Aliyev also says that the pro-governmental papers slander Kulov almost every day but the CEC does not pay any attention to it.

Chairwoman of the executive committee of the opposition El (Bei-Bechara) party, MP Alevtina Pronenko told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 12 January that they cannot receive an official decision by the Supreme Court on barring the party from the elections. That is why they cannot appeal it officially yet.

The CEC barred the party from the election last November on the recommendation of the Justice Ministry. The party sued the ministry and lost a legal case in a district court. The Supreme Court upheld the decision on 31 December but has not yet given its decision to the party. According to the Justice Ministry, the party failed to specify in its founding document in 1995 that it would run its members to parliament. The party has held its urgent congress recently and made necessary amendments to its regulations.

Department head in the State Statistical Board Aidar Nurmashev announced in Bishkek on 12 January that the annual inflation in the country was 39.9 percent in 1999. Also, the gross domestic product increased by 3.6 percent compared with 1998. However, industrial output decreased by 1.7 percent. The situation in agriculture was better: its output increase was 8.7 percent in 1999. Sugar beet growing production increased by 30 percent, potatoes by 23 percent, cotton by 11 percent and grain production increased by 7 last year.

Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev held a government meeting on selling 40 percent of the government stake in the Kyrgyztelecom joint-stock company. The meeting was held behind closed doors, and deputy chairman of the State Property Fund Anatoly Makarov told RFE/RL correspondent after the meeting that "the second part of the tender" had been announced and that new proposals to buy Kyrgyztelecom would be given to the government by next June. According to Makarov, the government will announce the new price of the package by the end of January.

The government announced last December that no foreign company was interested in buying the stake for $150 million last year.

The editorial board of the Kut Bilim weekly announced in Bishkek on 12 January that it had been warned by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture that the editorial board should find new premises, leaving the rooms in the building of the ministry by the end of January. The weekly was founded by the ministry 47 years ago, but since early the 1990s, ownership has been shared by both the editorial board and the ministry. The ministry does not want to make the paper independent and a shared ownership is prohibited by the Law on Mass Media.

First Vice Prime Minister Boris Silayev held in Bishkek on 12 January a meeting of a special government commission on the state program on dealing venereal diseases. It was announced at the meeting that there are now 37 people infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and 10 of them are Kyrgyz citizens. Also, there are 88 people with syphilis per every 100,000 citizens. 86 infants in Kyrgyzstan were born in 1999 with syphilis, compared with 12 infants in 1996.