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Kyrgyz Report: August 3, 1999

3 August 1999

Deputy Director General of the Kyrgyzgas state company Toktosun AbduvAliyev announced in Bishkek on 3 August that an agreement between the company and the Khimmontazh firm from Kazakhstan has not been signed yet. According to him, final negotiations began in Bishkek on 2 August and are still continuing. It was announced in Bishkek on 2 August that the agreement had already been signed.

Kyrgyzstan wants to buy about 130 million cubic meters of gas for about $40 per 1,000 cubic meters from the Khimmontazh joint-stock company. Preliminary agreement on this was reached last week in Kazakhstan. 130 million cubic meters of gas will provide for three months. According to Abduvaliev, the Khimmontazh itself buys natural gas from Uzbekisatn for $35 per 1,000 cubic meters.

Kyrgyzstan now buys natural gas from Uzbekistan for $55 per 1,000 cubic meters, but has not received any gas since February because it could not pay its debt for previous supplies. Kyrgyzstan now receives only gas from Uzbekistan according to an agreement on the joint use of hydro-power stations in Central Asia. This gas is sent to the Bishkek power and heating station only, and the Kyrgyz government distributes it among the people.

The Muftiyat (Muslim Board) of Kyrgyzstan announced in Bishkek on 3 August that 17 Kyrgyz citizens have been in detention in the Kazakh city of Taraz since 15 July. According to the Muftiyat, the Kazakh Interior Ministry arrested 78 people in the Beryozka holiday house near Taraz on 15 July. They were citizens of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan who had gathered in the holiday house for joint prayers and to practise in religious activities. Neither weapons nor drugs were seized. The Muftiyat has sent a protest letter to the Kazakh Interior Ministry.

According to Galim Tanymov, acting prosecutor general of the Kazakh Jambyl region, the arrest was madt at the request of the Interior Ministry of Uzbekistan. It was said in a letter of a deputy interior minister of Uzbekistan, sent to the Kazakh authorities, that Wahhabi activists and some organizers of terrorists acts that befell Tashkent last February, had gathered near Taraz. Some of those detained (especially those younger than 18) were released later, and 31 people are still in detention. 17 of them are Kyrgyz citizens.

A new presidential decree was published in Bishkek on 3 August. According to the decree, after 1 October 1999, Kyrgyz citizens will need no governmental registration when going abroad. Also, citizens of member states in the World Trade Organization will need no entrance visa to come to Kyrgyzstan in the future. This rule will start to be introduced in several stages beginning 1 January 2000. The Foreign Ministry should work out detailed documentation on this decree by October 1999. Kyrgyzstan joined the WTO last year.

According to the Justice Ministry, they will consider an appeal by Tursunbek Akunov, Chairman of the Human Rights Movement of Kyrgyzstan, on 4 August. Akunov has appealed to the ministry asking to register his movement instead of the two Kyrgyz committees for human rights (KCHR), led by Ramazan Dyryldaev and Sadyrbek Botaliev.

The Human Rights Movement of Kyrgyzstan was founded by Tursunbek Akunov early in the 1990s. In 1995, the Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights broke away from it and was registered with the Ministry of Justice in 1996. Its chairman is Ramazan Dyryldaev. In September 1998, the ministry revoked the registration for the minor reasons and has since rejected to re-register it. However, a new organization under the same name, Kyrgyz The Committee for Human Rights was registered with the ministry last April. It is led by Sadyrbek Botaliev, former deputy to Dyryldaev, who was dismissed by Dyryldaev last year.

The Ministry of Emergencies announced in Bishkek on 3 August that 14 people with anthrax have been hospitalized in the Aravan district of Osh region. According to the ministry, the hotbed of the infection has already been liquidated.

Six people in the Kara-Suu district of Osh region and about 10 people in the Bazar-Korgon district of neighboring Jalal-Abad region have been registered with anthrax before.

According to presidential decrees published in Bishkek on 3 August, MP Jolbors Jorobekov has been appointed chairman of the Governmental commission on religious affairs. He replaces Emilbek Kaptagaev, who is expected to be appointed deputy governor of the Issyk-Kul region.

Also, the two officials switch the posts. Former deputy secretary of the Security Council Tolon Mambetjanov has been appointed chairman of the State Commission on Drug Control, replacing General Askarbek Mameev, who has been appointed instead of Mambetjanov.

The presidential press service announced that President Askar Akayev signed in Bishkek on 2 August a decree on strengthening local government bodies. According to the decree, the president suggests to change number of deputies in the local councils. The final decision should be taken at sessions of the councils.

Akayev suggests raising the number of deputies in the six regional councils as well as in the Bishkek city Council from the current 30 to 45 in each. There should be 30 deputies in each council of the regional and district towns. The number of members in the district councils should be changed from 11 to 20, and the number of deputies in the village councils from 9 to 19.

Local elections are set for October 1999. Next parliamentary elections will be held in February 2000 and the next presidential elections is set for December 2000.

According to the governmental press service, Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev departed on 2 August to Osh region for a two-day visit. He will meet local authorities and discuss preparations for the 3,000th anniversary of Osh city. According to the press service, there are about 20 objects in the city to be constructed by the jubilee which will be marked in 2000.

A month-long seminar on combating drug traffic began in the city of Osh on 2 August. About 60 representatives of the interior ministries of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are taking part, and it is held by experts from Great Britain, the Netherlands, Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The seminar is entitled "The Osh Knot" and is sponsored by the UN.

The founding conference of the Kairan El party was held in Bishkek on 30 July. According to leadership of the party, about 500 people have joined it and prominent journalist Toktobai Mulkubatov was elected chairman of the party at the conference.

The party was organized by MP Dooronbek Sadyrbaev, poet and film maker. His five-part film "Kairan El" about the uprising against Russian authority in 1916 was a significant political event in Kyrgyzstan during perestroika.

First Vice Prime Minister Boris Silaev announced in Bishkek on 2 August that the government is preparing to hold the first ever state lottery and plans to collect 100 million som (about $2.5 million) from it in a year. The first tickets will be issued by 31 August, the day of the eighth anniversary of Kyrgyz independence. According to Silaev, the lottery is organized by a Canadian company, which won a special international tender.

Newly appointed director of the Tax Inspection Murat Saralinov announced in Bishkek on 2 August that the inspection intends to collect all customs payments and the total sum would be 2,400 million soms (about $60 million) by the end of 1999. According to him, the inspection collected only 60 percent of planned customs payments in January-June 1999.

Cabinet members held a regular meeting with representatives of Kyrgyz pensioners on 2 August. First Vice Prime Minister Boris Silaev, Chairwoman of the National Social Fund Roza Aknazarova, other government officials, and about 300 pensioners from all 6 regions took part in it. The pensioners demanded that their pensions be increased and that they be paid on time. Representatives of the Issyk-Kul region announced at the meeting that they have not received pensions since April. It was the fifth meeting between the government and pensioners in 1999. Pensioners have held three protest demonstrations in Bishkek in 1999, and it was announced at the meeting that only 19 out of 79 of their demands have been fulfilled so far

On 30 July, President Askar Akayev met with a group of journalists and answered their questions. It was aired by the National TV and Radio Corporation live. Akayev rejected any speculation that the next parliamentary elections, set for February 2000, could be held earlier. Also, the president was asked whether he would run for the presidency in December 2000. Akayev answered it is too early to say anything about it and that he will make a decision after the parliamentary elections.

The current Kyrgyz constitution forbids a third term for the president. Akayev was elected by the parliament on 27 October 1990 as president of the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialistic Republic. On 12 October 1991, he won a nationwide election, becoming president of independent Kyrgyzstan with a 5-year term. He held the controversial early elections on 24 December 1995 and won that too, also for a 5-year term. However, the Constitutional Court of the country ruled last year that Akayev has the right to take part in the presidential elections set for December 2000.

President Askar Akayev announced at a meeting with journalists in Bishkek on 30 July that Russian President Boris Yeltsin had agreed to come to Bishkek and take part in the summit of the Shanghai Five to be held on 25 August.

Foreign Minister Muratbek ImanAliyev announced in Bishkek on 26 July that the presidents of China, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan had agreed to come to the Bishkek summit. Regional security will be discussed at the meeting. China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan signed an agreement on security along the shared state frontiers in Shanghai in 1996.

According to the Foreign Ministry, experts from the five countries will gather in Bishkek on 11-11 August to prepare documents to be signed at the summit.

The press service for the National Guards announced on 31 July that deputy chairman of the Chinese military police staff Van Jiang Yu Hun arrived in Bishkek on 30 July. He met with the leadership of the National Guards on 31 July and discussed bilateral relations.

The governmental Agency on Sports and Tourism announced in Bishkek on 31 July that the Third Central Asian Games will be opened in Bishkek on 2 October 1999. Sportsmen from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkemnistan and Uzbekistan will compete with each other in 14 different sports. According to the Agency, representatives of the five countries gathered in Bishkek on 31 July and discussed preparations for the event. It was announced at the meeting that they need $800,000 for the organization of games, and that the International Olympic Committee has agreed to give $100,000 of this.