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Kyrgyz Report: October 5, 1999

5 October 1999

President Askar Akayev held an urgent meeting of the Security Council in Bishkek on 5 October. It was decided at the meeting that a new region would be formed in the country - the Batken region. Member of Parliament Mamat Aibalayev was appointed chairman of the organization committee. The committee will work out proposals on the formation of the new region in a month. Also, the parliamentary People's Assembly (upper house) will convene an urgent session on 8 October and will discuss the issue.

There are 6 regions in the country now: the Chu, Jalal-Abad, Izzyk-Kul, Naryn, Osh and Talas regions. And there are more than 40 districts in these 6 regions. The Batken district now belongs to Osh region. Aybalaev has been an opposition politician before.

Secretary of the Security Council General Bolot Januzakov, Minister of National Security General Misir Ashirkulov, Defense Minister General Esen Topoev, Governor of the Osh region Temirbek AkmatAliyev reported to the session on the current situation in southern Kyrgyzstan. Januzakov said that on 4 October government troops gained control over the villages of Zardaly and Korgon, as well as villages and passes of Bulak-Bashy, Donen, Raut (in the Batken district); Kumbel, Tuzbel (in the Kadamjai district); Bokbashy and Uzun-Murun (in the Chong-Alai district). All these villages and passes had been under rebel control before 4 October.

According to Januzakov, the rebels are now holding the hostages in the mountainous parts of the Kojo-Ashkan gorge, and government troops have not attacked these places in order to save the lives of the hostages. However, according to Januzakov, the rebels could move to Tajikistan through the Tilbe and Jashyl-Kol passes. Januzakov said the main bases of the rebels are situated in the Garm, Jergetal and Tavildara regions of neighboring Tajikistan and that the rebels on Kyrgyz territory receive help from those bases as well as from Afghanistan. There are 13 hostages in the hands of the rebels in Kyrgyzstan, including a Kyrgyz general and four Japanese geologists.

President Askar Akayev instructed General Bolot Januzakov at a meeting of the Security Council on 5 October to oversee government action in connection with the strengthening of the border, reforms in the army, fighting against organized crime, and international terrorism as well as control over the religious situation in the country.

It was also decided at the meeting to make the governors of all the regions of the country, as well as the mayor of Bishkek, members of the Security Council.

Secretary of the Security Council Bolot Januzakov announced in Bishkek on 5 October that the Chairman of the Presidential Commission on Human Rights, MP and Ambassador, Tursunbai Bakir Uulu had held successful negotiations on the release of the hostages with leaders of the rebels "in one of the Islamic states". According to Januzakov, Bakir Uulu will return to Bishkek soon and inform the country leadership on his mission.

Bakir Uulu called RFE/RL headquarters in Prague in the evening of 4 October, saying he had held negotiations with leaders of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan based in Afghanistan. According to him, the leaders are ready to release the hostages if Kyrgyz government troops stop their assault. The ambassador condemned the last governmental military action against the rebels saying every new death will impede the negotiation process.

Bakir Uulu said the leaders had assured him that the all the hostages are alive and live in the same conditions as the rebels. Bakir Uulu departed to Saudi Arabia on 21 September and also visited the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan where he held talks on humanitarian aid to the hostages in Kyrgyzstan.

The Chairman of the independent Human Rights Movement of Kyrgyzstan, Tursunbek Akunov called the RFE/RL bureau in Bishkek from the city of Peshavar, Pakistan, last Saturday saying he was trying to go to Afghanistan to meet leaders of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan based there. Akunov left Bishkek for Pakistan on 25 September.

A two-day meeting on fighting against drug traffic through the territories of the Central Asian states began in the resort town of Cholpon-Ata on 5 October. It is the second meeting of foreign ministries of the Central Asian states that signed a memorandum on drug traffic in Tashkent in 1996.

UN Assistant Secretary-General Pino Arlacchi, First Vice Prime Minister Boris Silaev of Kyrgyzstan, deputy foreign ministers of the all 5 Central Asian states, representatives of Russia and the international Agha-Khan Foundations are taking part in the meeting. Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Muratbek ImanAliyev is chairing the meeting.

According to the governmental press service, Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev will take part in a meeting of CIS prime ministers to be held in Yalta, Ukraine, on 7 October. Issues of the collective defense system in the CIS, financing of the collective air-defense, activities of the CIS Economic Council, as well as other problems will be discussed. Vice Prime Minister Esengul OmurAliyev and Foreign Minister Muratbek ImanAliyev are included in the Kyrgyz delegation.

According to the government press service, a government delegation led by Cholponkul Arabaev is now in Geneva, Switzerland. Arabaev is the director of the Government Center on Migration and Demography and the delegation is taking part in Geneva in the 50th annual meeting of the UN High Commission on Refugees. Arabaev will inform the meeting on the current situation in southern Kyrgyzstan.

Several political parties of the country held a round table discussion in Bishkek on 5 October on their common activities. It was announced at the meeting that a Code of the Activities of Political Parties had been worked out and the parties would discuss it and sign it later. The code is on behavior of the parties and their leaders and common party members as well as on cooperation between the different parties during the popular elections.

Local elections in the country will be held on 18 October. The next parliamentary elections are set for next March and the next presidential elections expected to be held in December 2000.

Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Imankadyr RysAliyev announced in Bishkek on 4 October that humanitarian aid of over 11-million soms (about $280,000) had been given to refugees in the southern regions of Kyrgyzstan since the rebel crisis began last August. According to him, the regional fund to help refugees has received 2,275,000 million soms in cash and 6,044,000 soms in food and goods. In addition, the Batken district has received directly 207,000 soms in cash and 2,800,000 soms in goods and food. Several thousand residents of the villages occupied by the rebels as well as from ones close by, had gathered near the district centers, and then most of them moved to their relatives and friends from the refugee camps.

Parliamentary committee chairman Abdykaim Absatarov told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 4 Octobert that the parliamentary People's Assembly had received from the government a law draft of the state budget for 2000. According to him, the government plans to expend 9,826,936,000 soms (about $246,000) and expects revenues of 9,981,247,000 soms (about $250,000) next year. For the first time, the revenues should be more than expenditures.

Head of the vox populi center in Bishkek Elvira Elebezova announced in Bishkek on 4 October that her center had conducted a poll on the most popular papers of the country. About 1,200 people have been questioned. According to the results, the five most popular papers are the following ones: 1. The Vecherni Bishkek daily (in Russian), 2. The Asaba weekly (in Kyrgyz), 3. The Delo # � weekly (in Russian), 4. The pro-governmental KTR-Obo weekly , 5. The government Slovo Kyrgyzstana paper (in Russian).

According to the poll results, 82 percent of people get information from different TV channels, 59 percent from the papers, and 49 percent of from radio stations.

Chief editor of Vcherni Bishkek resigned last month and the general meeting of share-holders of the paper was held in Bishkek on 4 October. It was expected that Alexandr Ryabushkin would be appointed new editor-in-chief.

According to the presidential press service, President Askar Akayev received in Bishkek on 2 October General Vladimir Zemsky, Secretary General of the CIS Collective Security Council, and discussed the situation in southern Kyrgyzstan. Akayev and Zemsky signed an agreement on military assistance to Kyrgyzstan. According to the press service, several CIS presidents (including Russian Boris Yeltsin and Kazakh Nursultan Nazarbaev) have already signed the agreement and if Armenia and Tajikistan sign it, collective military assistance to Kyrgyzstan will begin. The agreement had been prepared by the representatives of the CIS foreign ministries.

The defense ministry announced in Bishkek on 2 October that the situation in the southern Batken, Chong-Alai and Kadamjai districts had been calm. The Kyrgyz troops were cleaning up the southern regions from rebels.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Knut Vollebaek, the current chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, held a news conference in Bishkek on 2 October. According to him, the OSCE will help Kyrgyzstan to hold democratic parliamentary and presidential elections in 2000.

Concerning the situation in southern Kyrgyzstan, Vollebaek said the crisis should be resolved through negotiations in spite of the fact that the OSCE condemns any sorts of terrorism. Also, according to Vollebaek, the rebel crisis in Kyrgyzstan will be discussed at the OSCE summit in Istanbul in November.

Knut Vollebaek met in Bishkek on 1 October with President Askar Akayev and the two parliamentary speakers Andygany Erkebaev (the People's Assembly) and Usup Mukambaev (the Legislative Assembly). Political and economical reforms in Kyrgyzstan, the forthcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, and the situation in the southern regions were discussed. Next parliamentary elections are planned to be held in March 2000 and the presidential elections are set for december 2000.

The Central Election Commission announced in Bishkek on 2 October that it had received a large party of personal computers from the UN Development Program office in Kyrgyzstan. They will be used to automatize the counting of results of the local elections in Kyrgyzstan to be held on 18 October.