4 May 1999
KAZAKH DEBT REPAYMENT DEADLINE POSTPONED.
The railroad department of the Kyrgyz Government announced in Bishkek on 4 May that the Kazakh Government has postponed until 15 May the deadline for payment for Kyrgyz trains transitting Kazakh territory. The Kazakh Government had earlier demanded payment by 1 May.
According to the government, Kyrgyzstan owes the Kazakh railroad department about $3 million for transit. At the same time, Kazakhstan owes Kyrgyzstan $22 million for electrical power supply. Negotiations between the two governments are continuing.
TWELVE TERROR SUSPECTS DETAINED.
The Ministry of National Security announced in Bishkek on 4 May that 12 people suspected of preparing terrorist acts at railroad and bus terminals in Bishkek, were detained on 1-3 May. According to the ministry, weapons, cartridges and drugs were also seized. The operation was conducted together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. An investigation is under way.
PRESIDENT AKAYEV TO SPEAK ON TV.
According to the presidential press service, President Askar Akayev will address the nation through the National Television channel on the evening of 4 May. His speech will be devoted to the sixth anniversary of the adoption of the Kyrgyz constitution, which was passed in the Kyrgyz parliament on 5 May 1993. The parliament that adopted that constitution was dissolved in September 1994, and more than half of the clauses of the constitution were changed through the two controversial nationwide referendums in February 1996 and October 1998. Power in the country has been concentrated in the hands of the president at the expense of both parliament and government.
SWISS DELEGATION IN KYRGYZSTAN.
According to the governmental press service, a Swiss delegation arrived in Kyrgyzstan on 2 May. They were received in Bishkek on 4 May by Prime Minister Amangeldi Muraliev. Problems of forestry, rational water use, garbage recycling and other issues were discussed. The delegation will meet with other members of the government and with the Karakol city administration and will also visit the Issyk-Kul region.
KYRGYZSTAN WILL GUARD ITS FRONTIERS ITSELF.
General Bolot Januzakov, head of the presidential administration�s department on security and defense issues, held a special governmental meeting in Bishkek on 3 May. The heads of the security and interior ministries took part. According to the presidential press service, the meeting focussed on the role of Kyrgyzstan's border guards in guarding the country's frontiers. It was announced at the meeting that Kyrgyzstan will assume sole responsibility for guarding its frontiers beginning on 28 May 1999. This day is still marked in Kyrgyzstan as the Day of Border Guards, as it was in the former Soviet Union.
According to the press service, a special border agreement will be signed between Russia and Kyrgyzstan by 28 May. Russian border guarders have been guarding the Kyrgyz-Chinese frontier since 1991.
SILAEV MIGHT BECOME BISHKEK MAYOR AGAIN.
According to unofficial information from the government, First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Silaev could soon become mayor of Bishkek again. Silaev was elected city mayor in March 1995 for a five year term. In April 1998, he was appointed first deputy prime minister and resigned as mayor. Security Minister Felix Kulov resigned from that post in March 1998 and was elected the new mayor of Bishkek by the City Assembly in July 1998.
Kulov resigned as mayor of Bishkek on 26 April, accusing President Askar Akayev of connivance at recent anti-democratic actions in the country. His resignation was accepted the same day, but Kulov had been unable to meet President Akayev for three days before that to explain his decision to step down. Akayev�s aides accused Kulov after his resignation of failing to repair city streets. Last week, all streets of Bishkek began to be repaired urgently.
MEETING OF AKASAKAL COURTS.
According to the presidential press service, President Askar Akayev will take part in a meeting of the Aksakal Courts of the country, to be held in Bishkek on 7 May. Akayev will deliver a speech evaluating the achievements and future development of that institution.
According to Article 85 of the current constitution, local communities have the right to establish the so-called Aksakal Courts (courts of elderly people), which are empowered to take decisions on local matters. Some Aksakal Courts had handed down death penalties in recent years which were implemented immediately. International and local human rights organizations have severely criticized Kyrgyz leadership for condoning such sentences.
GOVERNMENTAL AND FOREIGN LOANS HAVE NOT BEEN REPAID.
Accordiing to information from the juridical department of the government, industrial enterprises owe the government 403 million soms (about $11 million) for governmental loans and 4,367 million soms (about $125 millon) for foreign loans. Foreign loans received by the government in 1992-1998 have been distributed among 105 enterprises, two thirds of which are now on the verge of bankruptcy. The government has decided recently to bankrupt 29 of them.
According to the government, 1,370 million soms (about $40 million) of governmental loans and 5,784 million soms (about $165 million) of foreign loans have been given to enterprises of the country by 1 January 1999. Only 40.6 million soms were repaid in January-March 1999.
CITY COURT APPROVES VERDICT AGAINST "RES PUBLICA."
A lawyer of the independent "Res Publica" weekly, Yuri Maksimov, told our correspondent in Bishkek on 1 May that on 30 April the Bishkek city court approved the verdict against the paper handed down by the Pervomai district court of Bishkek on 30 March 1999. According to Maksimov, the weekly will now appeal to the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan.
The district court sentenced the weekly to pay plaintiff Amanbek Karypkulov, President of the National Television and Radio Corporation, a 200,000-som fee (about $6,670). Karypkulov sued the paper in January 1999 after a group of authors published an open letter to President Askar Akayev, Prime Minister Jumabek Ibraimov, Speakers of the two parliamentary houses Usup Mukambaev and Abdygany Erkebaev and Prosecutor General Asanbek SharshenAliyev in "Res Publica" on 12 January. 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, and that Karypkulov had repressed press freedom when he had been ideological secretary of the Central Commitee of the Kyrgyz Communist Party and continues to do so.
OSCE OFFICIAL TO KYRGYZSTAN.
According to the international department of the presidential administration, the director of the OSCE Bureau of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Gerard Stoudman, will arrive in Bishkek on 6 May. He will meet President Askar Akayev, Foreign Minister Muratbek Imanaliev, Chairwoman of the Constitutional Court Cholpon Baekova, Chairman of the Central Electoral Commission Sulaiman Imanbaev, other officials and discuss the human rights situation in Kyrgyzstan. Stoudman will also take part in a conference on cooperation between the government and non-governmental organizations in Kyrgyzstan.
SLOVAK DELEGATION TO KYRGYZSTAN.
According to the Foreign Ministry, a Slovak delegation led by deputy foreign minister Frantisek Dlgepolcek, will arrive in Kyrgyzstan on 3 May. The delegation will be received by Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Muratbek ImanAliyev and will hold consultations with the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry and the presidential administration on cooperation between the two governments..
SEYCHELLES DELEGATION TO KYRGYZSTAN.
According to the press service for the Foreign Ministry, a delegation from Seychelles will arrive in Bishkek on 5 May. They will hold negotiations with the Kyrgyz government on cooperation between the two countries.
AITMATOV FESTIVAL FINISHES.
A week-long festival "Aitmatov and Theater" ended in Bishkek on 30 April. Two performances have been found the best: "Desire of the White Cradle" by the Tunguch Theater, Kyrgyzstan, and "Mankurt Story" by a theater from Karshi, Uzbekistan.
Kazakhstan's Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, prominent Kazakh poet Mukhtar Shakhanov, Kyrgyz film-maker and diplomat Tolomush Okeev, prominent Kyrgyz actress Gulsara Ajybekova, and other prominent people took part in it. The national theater of Russia's Khakassia Republic received a prize from Kyrgyz Turksoi company.
Kyrgyzstan celebrates the 70th anniversary of Tchingiz Aitmatov's birth later in May. An international symposium devoted to that anniversary and entitled "The Role of the Intellectual in Contemporary Society: Peace And The New Era in Central Asia" was held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on 25 March. Aitmatov is the Kyrgyz ambassador to the EU, NATO, UNESCO, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands and lives in Brussels. He was born on 12 December 1928.
RATING OF THE SOM.
Exchange offices in Bishkek sold one US dollar for 38.65 som on 30 April. According to the press service for the National Bank, only $10,000 were sold at the inter-bank market in Bishkek on 30 April and the som�s rating was 38.5 som to $1.