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Tatar-Bashkir Report: December 16, 1998

16 December 1998
KamAZ Seeks Ways to Repay Debt to EBRD
On 15 December, Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev met in Moscow with the First Vice President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Charles Frank to discuss how to repay KamAZ's debt to the bank. According to Frank's recommendations, KamAZ should undergo reorganization, its branches should be given more independence, and its assets should be sold to enable the company to bring its finances into order. Shaimiev said that KamAZ's structural reorganization and financial stabilization will be discussed at 17 December meeting of the board of directors. KamAZ and the EBRD have agreed draw up by 31 January 1999 a final memorandum on how the company should repay its debts, Tatarstan Radio reported. The two sides also discussed the bank's possible participation in investment projects in Tatarstan, including in the petroleum and petrochemical industries as well as in engineering.

Prime Minister Sets Tasks for State Security Committee
Prime Minister of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, attending a session of the Tatarstan State Security Committee devoted to the results of the committee's work this year, laid down future tasks for that body. Minnikhanov said that the committee must contribute more to the efforts of state bodies toward overcoming the economic crisis, creating a favorable investment environment, and combating economic crime, Tatarstan Radio reported.

Tatarstan Teachers Prepare to Go On Strike
Teachers in the Yugary Oslan district of Tatarstan have been on strike for more than a week. Their colleagues in the towns of Alabuga and Yeshel Uzen are now planning to join that protest action, Tatarstan Television reported. The issue of wages arrears was discussed at a session of the republican Committee of the Education and Science Workers' Trade Unions on 15 December. The debt to workers in education and science in the republic totals 325 million rubles (some 16 million dollars). Most workers are owed five months' wages. The committee, however, decided not to call a general strike.

Culture Ministers of Turkic Countries Meet in Kazan
The Permanent Council of Culture Ministers of Turkic-speaking countries (TURKSOY) met on 15 December in Kazan to discuss coordinating the development of Turkic culture and art as well as the preservation of the Turkic peoples' historical legacy. The session was attended by representatives from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and Northern Cyprus. Representatives from the Gagauz Republic, Republic of Sakha (Yakutiya), and Chuvash Republic were also invited for the first time to participate. A declaration and protocol on cooperation are expected to be signed on 16 December, local media reported. TURKSOY is a non-political organization that was set up in 1992 with the aim of reviving and preserving the languages, cultures, and customs of the Turkic peoples. In 1996 in Istanbul, TURKSOY signed the treaty on cooperation with UNESCO.

Compiled by G.Khasanova