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Kyrgyz Report: November 30, 1999

30 November 1999

Director General of the governmental Kyrgyzgas company Latypjan Sagynbaev announced in Bishkek on 30 November that gas deliveries from Uzbekistan to Kyrgyzstan would be resumed soon. According to him, the company's debt to Uzbekistan is now $289,000 in cash plus $900,000 through flour.

Sagynbaev said Uzbekistan stopped gas deliveries because it had not received flour. According to a previous agreement, Uzbekistan should have received 5,000 tons of flour but Kyrgyzstan itself had a flour shortage in the summer. Now, Kyrgyzstan buys flour from Kazakhstan and is sending it to Uzbekistan. Its price is $220 per ton. Kyrgyzstan sent 1,120 tons of flour to Uzbekistan last week. The same time, Kyrgyzstan owes additional $1.9 to the Kazakh company of Intergas, which transits natural gas from Uzbekistan to Kyrgyzstan.

Director General of the Bishkek City heating and power station Lev Vasilyev announced in Bishkek on 30 November that Kyrgyzstan is not ready to shift its heating system and other public utilities from natural gas to electricity. According to him, it needs $4,300 million.

According to Vasilyev, the Kyrgyz people have begun to use electricity for heating and cooking since gas deliveries were stopped. But power lines and the capacity of substations are not ready for this. That is why there have been about 1,600 cases of electrical breakdowns in the country since 16 November. The city has used 98 million kWt-hour of electricity in the last 10 days and it is more than usual consumption by 50 percent. The Chu province used in the second half of November 169 million kWt-hour compared with the 132 million kWt-hour in the same period of 1998.

According to Vasilyev, the Bishkek City heating and power station received 200 million cubic meters of gas from Uzbekistan in 11 months of 1999 comparing with 416,000 million in 1998. Now, the station is working on coal and black oil, received from Kazakhstan.

Leadership of the glass-works in Tokmok City announced today that they had stopped the main process of the plant. The plant needs 2,800 cubic meters of natural gas per hour.

Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo, Deputy Minister of Security Nyu Pin of China, Kazakh Interior Minister Kaiyrbek Suleimenov and acting Interior Minister of Tajikistan Houmidin Sharipov arrived in Bishkek on 30 November. They are taking part in a 2-day meeting on security problems of the 5 states, signed the Shanghai agreement in 1996. The meeting is taking place in Bishkek, and the Kyrgyz delegation is being led by President Askar Akayev.

Joint fighting against international terrorism, religious extremism, separatism, drug traffic and weapon smuggling are being discussed at the meeting. A special memorandum is expected to be signed and a special permanent working group will be formed at the meeting. Also, a special protocol on cooperation between the Kyrgyz and Russian interior ministries would be signed.

Director General of the Kyrgyzneftegas company Kasym Ismanov told a governmental meeting in Bishkek on 30 November that his company had produced 78,000 tons of oil and 25 million cubic meters of natural gas in 1999. The electric-bulb plant in the town of Maily-Suu has used the most part of the production. However, 10 million cubic meters of gas have been exported to Tajikistan.

Deputy Minister of Justice Erkin Mamyrov told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 30 November that four political parties, registered with the ministry before February 1999, have been barred from taking part in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, to be held on 20 February 2000. They are: the Manas-El party, the El (Bei-Bechara) party, the Party of Bishkek dwellers, the Labour-Popular party. Both the Justice Ministry and the Central Election Commission have found irregularities in the official documents of the mentioned parties.

So far, 15 parties have been allowed to take part in the elections. According to the Election Code passed in parliament earlier this year, only the parties registered one year in advance before the parliamentary elections have the right to take part in the elections. Some parties registered after February 1999 have already appealed to the Constitutional Court, asking to find the rule as anti-constitutional. President Askar Akayev has also announced that a time-limitation should be reduced by 6 months.

State Directorate of Judges announced in Bishkek on 30 November that an evaluation on local judges had been ended. Eight judges of the country have been found as not corresponding to required standards, and President Askar Akayev signed on 29 November a special decree on dismissing them. The action began on 29 October and the evaluation commission included chairpersons of the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, the Court of Arbitration and 8 other officials.

According to the National Statistical Board, 1,777,000 metric tons of grain has been collected this year. 1,244,000 tons of it is wheat, which is less than in 1998. About 1.7 million tons of grain was collected in the country in 1997 and 1998 each.

The Defense Ministry announced in Bishkek on 29 November that the next exercises of the Central Asian peacekeeping battalion would be held in Kazakhstan in September 2000. Decision on this was has taken at a meeting of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the US and Uzbekistan representatives, held in Florida, the US, recently.

The batallion was formed by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in 1997 and its first exercises were held in September-October 1997.

Governmental spokesman Farid Niyazov announced in Bishkek on 27 November that Director General of the Kyrgyzgas governmental company Latypjan Sagynbaev is in Tashkent again holding negotiations with Uzbek authorities on resumption of natural gas deliveries to Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan stopped gas deliveries on 16 November due to a 4.095-million-dollar debt of the Kyrgyzgas for previous supplies. Sagynbaev visited Tashkent last week and failed to resume gas deliveries.

According to information from the government, the other governmental company Kyrgyzenergo had owed Uzbekistan about $12 million. Deputy Director of the Kyrgyzenergo Ilyas Davydov also visited Tashkent earlier this week and neither could resume gas deliveries.

According to Niyazov, the Kyrgyz government has paid about $8 million to Uzbekistan since 16 November and will send by 20 December the rest of flour, which is used as part of payment for gas. The same time, Kyrgyz industrial enterprises and citizens owe the Kyrgyzgas more than 228 million soms (about $5 million) for natural gas.

According to information from the Bishkek City administration, Kyrgyz businessmen are bringing natural gas in gas-cylinders from neighboring Kazakhstan to Bishkek and, if the government cannot settle the issue with Uzbekistan, the city administration could provide the city with gas from Kazakhstan.

A meeting of the migration services of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan was held in Bishkek on 26 November. According to head of migration center in Bishkek Taalaibek Imanaliev, a protocol on forming an inter-governmental consultative council and the three bilateral agreements on cooperation between the three state agencies were signed yesterday. The next meeting will be held in Dushanbe in March.

According to information from the presidential administration, newly appointed State Secretary Naken Kasiev has been appointed chairman of the National Commission on State Language too, replacing former chairman Ishenbai Abdurazakov.

Also, deputy chairman Kazat Akmatov would be replaced soon. Former Minister of Health Care Kasiev was appointed state secretary on 5 November, replacing Abdurazakov. Abdurazakov and Akmatov criticized President Askar Akayev and the national policy on state language at a meeting in Bishkek on 22 October, devoted to the tenth anniversary of the law on state language.

Residents of the 10th micro-district of Bishkek tried to block the Sovetskaya Street, one of the main roads of the city, this morning protesting inability of the government to resume gas supplies from Uzbekistan. Police had dispersed the crowd.

Chairwoman of the Movement for Social Protection of People Lidiya Fomova announced in Bishkek today if the government cannot settle the problem in a week, she will raise the problem at the next meeting between the movement and government, set for 2 December.

Not the all buildings in the city are heated now and electricity is interrupted several times a day. City residents use electrical heating systems as well as electrical equipment for cooking and there have been several fires in the city in recent days. According to local experts, the city uses 7 million kWatt-hour power per day now instead of usual 4 million and the electrical power lines and substations could be destroyed any time.

According to information from the Kyrgyz Security Ministry, rebels of the Uzbek Islamic Movement attacked the police station in the town of Puskent, 40 kms from Tashkent, on 24 November and took 5 policemen hostage. The Uzbek government has not issued any statement yet on from what place the rebels came.

Three Uzbek policemen and three civilians were killed during the clashes with rebels in Yangiabad of Uzbekistan on 15 November. The Uzbek Foreign Ministry sent a protest note to Bishkek on 16 November, saying the rebels had come from Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz authorities answered no rebels had gone through Kyrgyz territory.

Rebels of the same movement invaded Kyrgyzstan from Tajikistan late in August and took hostage about 25 people. One hostage was killed, the others were released later. 27 Kyrgyz citizens were killed during the 2-month crisis. 3 of them were killed during the mistakenly bombardment of a Kyrgyz village by Uzbek warplanes on 29 August.

According to the governmental press service, a Kyrgyz governmental delegation led by Vice Prime Minister Esengul OmurAliyev departed this morning to Seattle, the US, to take part in the 3rd meeting of the trade ministers of the WTO countries. It will be held on 30 November - 3 December. Kyrgyzstan joined the World Trade Organization last October.

After Seattle, the delegation will travel to Washington, D.C., to take part in a conference on foreign investments to Kyrgyz economy, organized by the Kyrgyz embassy to the US and Canada. The meeting will be held on 5-9 December.

Finance Minister Sultan Mederov announced at the governmental meeting in Bishkek on 27 November that inflation rate was 36.3 percent in January-October of this year and 2.8 percent in October. Export level in the 10 months was $387 million comparing with the 467-million-dollar import. Industrial output in January-October was 96.7 percent to its level in the same period of 1998.

Manager of the Canadian Kumtor Operating Company (KOC) Tynara Shaiyldaeva announced in Bishkek today that the KOC and the Kyrgyz government had agreed that the KOC will pay to Kyrgyz state budget about $6 million soon. It is a part of the taxes, from which the company had become free before. The agreement has been reached after a long and heated discussion.

The KOC is a daughter company of the Cameco, which is developing the biggest Kyrgyz gold mine of Kumtor since 1994. A truck with 20 tons of sodium cyanide, belonged to KOC, plunged into a river in Kyrgyzstan in May 1998. Several people died from poisoning and thousands were hospitalized. Residents of the Issyk-Kul province, where Kumtor is situated, have held a lot of protest demonstrations since May 1998, demanding compensations.

The 5th congress of ethnic Germans, living in Kyrgyzstan, began in Bishkek on 26 November. About 90 delegates from the Kyrgyz regions as well as from CIS countries are participating. The congress will ask Kyrgyz government to work out a special program on revival of German community in Kyrgyzstan. There are about 20,000 ethic Germans in the country now, but their number was 5-6 times more ten years ago. Most of them have left Kyrgyzstan for Germany.

According to the presidential press service, President Askar Akayev addressed the nation via state TV on 25 November. The press service declined to tell RFE/RL correspondent the theme of the address. According to local observers, Akayev was to talk on the forthcoming parliamentary elections, to be held on 20 February 2000.

According to the presidential press service, President Askar Akayev received in Bishkek today newly appointed Chinese ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Chan Chi Min and discussed bilateral relations between Kyrgyzstan and China.