30 April 1999
GAS SUPPLY ISSUE DISCUSSED BY GOVERNMENT.
Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev held today a government meeting on 30 April on gas deliveries from Uzbekistan. The meeting was held behind closed doors.
According to the government press service, MurAliyev told the meeting that the previous governments had made the issue more complicated. A special governmental commission on the problem was formed and First Vice Prime Minister Boris Silaev was appointed its chairman. The commission will report to the prime minister weekly.
The head of the Kyrgyzgas state company, Mr.Likhachev, told our correspondent in Bishkek after the meeting that the Kyrgyz Government has not paid its 4-million-dollar debt to Uzbekistan for gas yet and that gas supplies from the neighboring country could be interrupted any time.
Silaev reported to the parliament on 28 April that Kyrgyzstan would receive natural gas from Uzbekistan in 1999 according to two agreements. The first agreement is linked with joint use of hydro- power stations in Central Asia and was signed by represntatives of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in Tashkent last month. According to it, Uzbekistan should give Kyrgyzstan (for the two heating stations in Bishkek and Osh) 500 million cubic meters of natural gas in 1999 for the price of $65 per 1,000 cubic meters. In return, Kyrgyzstan should give Uzbekistan water from the reservoirs on its territory, enough to generate 1,100 million kilowatt-hours of electricty, the price of which is $0.04 per kilowatt-hour. According to the second agreement, signed last year, Uzbekistan should give consumers in Kyrgyzstan 520 million cubic meters of gas in 1999 at a price of $50 per 1,000 cubic meters. The Kyrgyz government should pay for 40 percent of these deliveries in cash and for the remaining 60 percent of gas through commodities. Gas deliveries from Uzbekistan according to the first agreement resumed a week ago and this gas is now used in Kyrgyzstan by consumers.
LAND CODE PASSED IN PARLIAMENT.
The parliamentary press service announced in Bishkek on 30 April that the parliamentary Legislative Assembly passed that same day the Land Code that was prepared by the government. According to Clause 34 of the Code, proposed by President Askar Akayev, there will be a 5-year moratorium for the sell of private plots. The Kyrgyz people approved private land ownership through a nationwide referendum held on 1 October.
Next meeting of the Assembly will be held on 10 May.
CITY COURT BEGINS TO CONSIDER WEEKLY'S APPEAL.
The Bishkek city court began to consider an appeal by the independent Res Publica weekly today. Lawyer of the weekly is Yuri Maksimov. Chairman of the Kyrgyz Commitee for Human Rights Ramazan Dyryldaev is the public defender.
About 20 people picketted the building of the court today, demanding to repeal the sentence of the Pervomai district court.
The Pervomai district court of Bishekek found the weekly guilty on 30 March 1999. According to the sentence, the paper must pay plaintiff Amanbek Karypkulov, President of the National Television and Radio Corporation, a 200,000-som compensation (about $6,670). A group of authors published an open letter in Res Publica on 12 January to President Askar Akayev, Prime Minister Jumabek Ibraimov; the Speakers of the two parliamentary houses, Usup Mukambaev and Abdygany Erkebaev, and Prosecutor General Asanbek Sharshenaliev. The letter was entitled 'Honest People Must Be At The Head Of The State TV' and was signed by 20 employees of the National Radio and TV Corporation. They wrote that Karypkulov's policy is anti-popular and anti-constitutional, that Karypkulov had been one of those who repressed press freedom not only when he was ideological secretary of the Central Commitee of the Kyrgyz Communist Party, but that he continues this activity even now in a very intensive manner.
MARSHALL CENTER DIRECTOR TO KYRGYZSTAN.
The Foreign Ministry announced in Bishkek today that Robert Kennedy, Director of the European Marshall Center on security and defense problems, arrives in Kyrgyzstan on 1 May. According to the ministry, he will be received by Medet Sadyrkulov, head of the presidential administration. Results and plans of Kyrgyzstan's participation in the NATO Partnership for Peace program will be discussed.
SWISS DELEGATION TO KYRGYZSTAN.
According to the Foreign Ministry, a Swiss delegation will arrive in Kyrgyzstan on 2 May. They will discuss with Kyrgyz officials and specialists problems of forestry, rational water use, and recycling rubbish. They will visit the Issyk-Kul region too. According to the presidential press service, the delegation will be received by President Askar Akayev.
RECEPTION FOR JOURNALISTS.
Medet Sadyrkulov, head of the presidential administration, held a reception for foreign journalists and editors of the local media in the Ala-Archa presidential residence near Bishkek on 30 April. The reception was devoted to World Press Freedom Day, marked on 3 May.
The director of the Kabar National News Agency, Kubat Tabaldiev, also held a reception in Bishkek on 30 April. Congratulations by President Askar Akayev and Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev were announced too.
PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS WILL BE HELD ON PARTY LISTS.
The parliamentary Legislative Assembly approved in Bishkek on 29 April the Electoral Code in the second reading. According to the parliamentary press service, the clause on elections by political party lists has also been passed. The Assembly rejected the clause earlier this year. According to the clause, only those parties which are registered in the country not later then a one-year period before the date of parliamentary elections, could take part in elections. There are about 20 political parties in Kyrgyzstan registered with the Ministry of Justice.
According to the Electoral Code, 15 seats in the Legislative Assembly - the lower house - could be occupied by representatives of the political parties. Nominally, there will be 60 members in the Assembly. The next parliamentary elections will be held on 23 March 2000.
STATE BUDGET DRAFT COULD BE CONSIDERED IN MAY.
According to the parliamentary press service, the first part of the 19th session of the parliamentary People's Assembly finished on April 29. The Assembly has not yet discussed the amendments to the state budget law for 1999. MP Bolot Baikojoev told our correspondent in Bishkek that same day that the second part of the session would begin on 10 May and that the amendments could be considered in the Assembly in May. However, on 28 April the Assembly declined to consider the amendments prepared by the government, saying that without adopting the new Tax Code, it is not possible to consider any amendments to the state budget, because the amendments are linked with the new tax tariffs. The session began on 19 April.
CONFERENCE ON SILK ROAD DIPLOMACY IN WASHINGTON.
According to the Foreign Ministry, the Kyrgyz Embassy in the US held a conference on Silk Road Diplomacy on 29 April in Washington, D.C., as was announced by President Askar Akayev earlier this year. Kyrgyz Minister of Foreign Affairs Muratbek Imanaliev, Kyrgyz Ambassador to the US and Canada Baktybek Abdrissaev, and American scholars and diplomats took part in the conference.
PRIME MINISTER RECEIVES FOREIGN REPRESENTATIVES.
According to the governmental press service, Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev received in Bishkek on 29 April Iqbal Zaidi, IMF representative in Kyrgyzstan. Implementation of the Economic Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) program in Kyrgyzstan was discussed. Also on that same day, MurAliyev received a representative of the Asian Development Bank and discussed with him the implementation of the ADB projects in the country.
PARLIAMENTARIAN ON AGRICULTURAL PROBLEMS.
Sooronbai Sharipov, Chairman of the parliamentary Commitee on Agriculture, told the session of the People's Assembly in Bishkek on 29 April that the situation in the agricultural sector is very deplorable. According to him, 85 percent of tractors and 95 percent of combines in the country have become obsolete. Also, 200,000 hectares of arable land have become saline soil, while the other 30,000 hectares have become swamps, and the government is not doing anything about this.
STATE PUBLISHING COMPANY CHANGES ITS STRUCTURE.
Director General of the Akyl publishing joint-stock company, Farid Niyazov, told our correspondent in Bishkek on 29 April that the company had made some structural changes. The Kyrgyzstan and Mektep publishing houses, which had been shareholders in the company before, have become ordinary units of the Akyl. According to Niyazov, Director of the Kyrgyzstan publishing house Kadyraly Konkobaev has resigned in protest.
KYRGYZ AIR COMPANY WON'T CARRY FLIGHTS TO SHEREMETYEVO.
Vice President of the Kyrgyz Aba Joldory state air company, Karim Damin, announced in Bishkek on 29 April that the company cannot carry flights from Bishkek to Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow beginning on that day. Sheremetyevo is an international airport in Moscow, and a contract on cooperation was signed between Russia and Kyrgyzstan on 5 April 1999. According to Erik Arsaliev, Commercial Director of the Kyrgyz Aba Joldory, Moscow demands to carry no less than 10 flights a week, but Kyrgyzstan could not do this.
BRITISH HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST IN BISHKEK.
According to information from the Human Rights Movement of Kyrgyzstan, British human rights activist Bill Bawring is in Bishkek now. He will meet with Kyrgyz officials and independent experts to discuss the human rights situation in Kyrgyzstan. He has been invited by the Soros-Kyrgyzstan Foundation.
The independent Asaba weekly carries a large interview with former Mayor of Bishkek Felix Kulov in its 30 April edition. The other independent weekly, Kyrgyz Rukhu, writes in its 30 April edition that Kulov could unite politicians who are in opposition to President Askar Akayev. According to Kyrgyz Rukhu, Kulov will most certainly run for the presidency in 2000.
The pro-government Utro Bishkeka weekly devotes its entire edition on 30 April to Kulov. According to the paper, Kulov is trying to deny any responsibility for his resignation.
Mayor of Bishkek Felix Kulov resigned on 26 April, protesting the policies of President Askar Akayev.
KYRGYZ TRAINS CANNOT CROSS KAZAKHSTAN.
Vice Prime Minister Boris Silaev told the parliamentary People�s Assembly on 28 April that the Government could have problems with neigboring Kazakhstan soon. According to him, the Kazakh government has warned Bishkek recently that no Kyrgyz train could cross Kazakh territory beginning 1 May 1999, until Kyrgyzstan pays its debt of $3 million for transit service.
Silaev said the problem is being considered in the government. According to him, Kazakhstan owes Kyrgyzstan $22 million for electrical power supplies only.
PARLIAMENT DECLINES TO CONSIDER AMENDMENTS TO STATE BUDGET.
The parliamentary press service announced in Bishkek on 28 April that the People�s Assembly has declined to consider the package of amendments to the law on the state budget for 1999, which was prepared by the government. According to the Assembly, without adopting the new Tax Code, it is not possible to consider any amendments to the state budget, because the amendments are linked with the new tax tariffs.
LACK OF FINANCING TO PREVENT NATURAL CALAMITIES.
Minister of Emergencies Sultan Urmanaev told the session of the People�s Assembly on 28 April that his Ministry received 34 million soms (about $1 million) in 1999 instead of the planned 97 million soms. This money should be used to reinforce banks of lakes and rivers and other preventive works. According to the minister, the government had planned to give the ministry 290 million soms in 1999, and the lack of financing could be a cause of spring floods or other calamities.
VICE PRIME MINISTER MEETS PENSIONERS.
Vice Prime Minister Boris Silaev met in Bishkek on 28 April with representatives of the pensioners� organization. The pensioners held a protest demonstartion in Bishkek on 18 March and handed Silaev a petition with 25 demands to improve their living conditions. According to the governmental press service, the government has met five of the demands, and Silaev has discussed further developments with pensioners the same day. Boris Silaev will have regular monthly meetings with pensioners.
HELSINKI FEDERATION OFFICIAL IN BISHKEK.
According to information from the Kyrgyz Commitee for Human Rights, Executive Director of the Helsinki Federation Aaron Rodes, who arrived in Bishkek on 25 April, has had meetings with the Chairman of the Central Electoral Commission Sulaiman Imanbaev and department head in the presidential administration Askar Aitmatov. The human rights and democratization process in Kyrgyzstan were discussed.