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News Bulletin No 22

Senator Reid: Kazakhstan – the force of stability in Central Asia
President Nazarbayev visits Beijing, attends Olympics opening ceremony
Mongolian Premier meets Kazakh President

Kazakh Premier Says State Gets Control of Major Oil Company
Kazakhstan: Astana aims to become world’s top uranium producer

Boys Chorus served as emissaries to Kazakhstan, Czech Republic
Kazakhstan to bid for 2018 Olympic Games

Category: General
Posted by: admin

News Bulletin
Released by the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States of America


No 22 August 11, 2008


• Senator Reid: Kazakhstan – the force of stability in Central Asia
• President Nazarbayev visits Beijing, attends Olympics opening ceremony
• Mongolian Premier meets Kazakh President


• Kazakh Premier Says State Gets Control of Major Oil Company
• Kazakhstan: Astana aims to become world’s top uranium producer


• Boys Chorus served as emissaries to Kazakhstan, Czech Republic
• Kazakhstan to bid for 2018 Olympic Games



Senator Reid: Kazakhstan – the force of stability in Central Asia

On August 7, 2008 a US Senate delegation led by the Democratic majority leader, Senator Harry Reid, visited Kazakhstan as part of their Europe and Central Asia tour which included Afghanistan, Germany and Kyrgyz Republic. Other members of the delegation were Senators Jeff Bingaman, Bill Nelson, Johnny Isakson and Robert Menendez.

At their meeting with Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Karim Massimov US Senators discussed various aspects of bilateral economic cooperation, the country’s upcoming OSCE chairmanship and numerous reforms being implemented by the Kazakh Government.

“We see the good work done by Kazakhstan’s authorities”, Senator Reid was quoted as saying, referring to three main areas of the country’s growing success. Firstly, in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, the Senators believed that Kazakhstan’s excellent record sets a bright example for others to follow and expressed their hope that bilateral cooperation within the Nunn-Lugar program continues successfully.

American parliamentarians were very positive about Kazakhstan’s economic development stating that the country’s policies deserve full recognition for providing sizeable growth based on mineral resources, prudent economic strategy and liberal market reforms.

As for political and democratic growth, which is high on Kazakhstan’s domestic agenda, visiting Senators referred to it as “promising” based on the country’s economic successes. According to the US delegation, well-educated young generation – the driving force behind the country’s large-scale reforms – is a valuable asset of Kazakhstan.

Summing up the talks, Senator Reid said that Kazakhstan is “the force of stability in the whole region”.

On his part Prime Minister Massimov briefed the delegation on the upcoming amendments to the Kazakh tax legislation, which include the rise of tax rates for resource extracting industries. Nevertheless, Kazakhstan “remains committed to the principle of stability of earlier signed contracts”.

"Kazakhstan as a regional leader understands its responsibility and is ready to provide support to the neighboring countries," Massimov was quoted as saying in the Kazakh Government press release.

The parties agreed to expand and strengthen further bilateral cooperation in trade and investment, economic development and regional integration.


President Nazarbayev visits Beijing, attends Olympics opening ceremony


Opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing started with a luncheon, hosted by the Chairman of the People’s Republic of China Hu Jintao in honor of foreign heads of states and governments.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and his spouse, Sara Nazarbayeva, took part in the luncheon which was held in the Great Hall of the National People’s Congress. According to the Games’ organizers, more than 80 foreign leaders arrived in Beijing.

"China's preparation for the Olympic Games has been excellent. Large amounts of money have been invested in the construction of stadiums and infrastructures. The whole world is expecting a marvelous event," Kazakh President said.

Kazakhstan will have 132 athletes competing in 22 disciplines at the Beijing Games. The number of participants is higher than at the Athens Olympics, and Kazakh women's volleyball and handball teams have qualified for the global event for the first time.

Kazakh athletes aim to win at least ten or eleven medals, President Nazarbayev said, adding that everybody in his country, including himself, were looking forward to fantastic performances from their compatriots.

The global Olympic torch relay started in April in Almaty, the biggest city of Kazakhstan, and Nazarbayev was the first person to carry the flame.

"The Olympic Games is a festival of the whole world. The torch relay coming to Kazakhstan for the first time was an honor for my country," he said.

In Beijing, President Nazarbayev held a number of high-level meetings, including with Chairman Hu Jintao, former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin and Russian Premier Vladimir Putin.

“Over 80 heads of states and governments are arriving for the Beijing Olympics opening. But I reserved individual receptions only for three guests – President Bush, Premier Putin and yourself”, Hu Jintao said.
“I am satisfied with the development of Kazakhstan-China good neighborly and friendly ties, this is one of the most important directions of our foreign policy”, President Nazarbayev said.
According to him, the level of trust between the two states is “very high”.

The Chinese share in Kazakhstan’s trade turnover accounts for more than 10 per cent. “At the end of 2008 the amount of our commodity turnover can hit $15 bln”, Nazarbayev believes.

Mongolian Premier meets Kazakh President

Montsame Agency, Mongolia

Last Wednesday, the Prime Minister of Mongolia S.Bayar held a meeting with the President of Kazakhstan N.Nazarbaev who is paying a state visit to Mongolia at the invitation of his counterpart N.Enkhbayar.

At the beginning of the meeting, Mr. Nazarbaev expressed his gratitude to the Mongolian people and Government for warmly receiving him. He said that he held negotiations with Mr. Enkhbayar and signed a number of documents. He expressed his confidence that the meetings, negotiations and concluded agreements will create possibilities for fruitfully cooperating on a wide range in the future.

Mr. Nazarbaev stressed that ''The trade and investment volumes between Kazakhstan and Mongolia have been insufficient. Our two countries have similar economies and enough cooperation experiences. There are some troubles to develop the bilateral collaboration on the widest range. However, all the troubles could be passed by the bilateral efforts. We have certain projects and programs planned to be carried out. We will first pay our attention to providing conditions to conduct transit transportation through the territory of Russia and to open new routes of passenger buses and planes. Moreover, we plan to set up an investment fund in Mongolia and are striving to cooperate in the minerals sector. The Mongolian side proposed to import wheat from our country. We will attentively examine this opportunity and will give a certain reply”.

In turn, Mr. S.Bayar said, ''Mr. Nazarbaev, we highly value your contribution to deepening the bilateral relations and collaboration for the sake of the people of the two countries that have ancient historic ties. He raised the most important two questions related to building a road connecting Mongolia to Kazakhstan and importing oil products from Kazakhstan. He attaches more significance to connecting Bayan-Ulgii aimag - a western province of Mongolia and Kazakhstan by a 67 kilometers-long driveway. During my visit to the province, its governor pledged to solve this issue in cooperation with the Kazakh side''.

Mr. Nazarbaev pledged to look into the proposal put forward by the Mongolian side to import 1.5 million tons of raw and processed oil. He expressed his willingness to cooperate with professional organizations to find a solution for the issue.


Kazakh Premier Says State Gets Control of Major Oil Company

BBC Monitoring Central Asia

A controlling block of shares of the MangistauMunayGaz company (MMG) will be handed over to the state within two weeks. The president of the joint-stock company National Company KazMunayGaz [KMG], Serik Burkitbayev, told this at a meeting in the MMG's office attended by Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov, who was making his working visit to [western] Mangistau Region, the [Kazinform] news agency reports. [MangistauMunayGaz controls about a 7-per-cent share of the overall oil extraction in Kazakhstan and has a licence for developing 15 oil and gas fields on the territory of Kazakhstan, including two major fields - Kalamkas and Zhetybay. The company also owns the Pavlodar refinery, which has the capacity of annually processing 7.5m t of oil]
"We signed another phase agreement concerning basic financial and economic parameters of the transaction yesterday, all price and technical parameters have been agreed", the head of KMG said. He also assured that "the technical issues will be agreed within two weeks and the transaction will be completed".

Karim Massimov said that "thus, as of today the company is actually under control of the state, represented by the national company KazMunayGaz".

Kazakhstan: Astana aims to become world’s top uranium producer


Kazakhstan may have relinquished its arsenal of nuclear weapons after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but it is seeking to expand its role in a variety of atomic energy-related fields. The country hopes to outstrip rivals Canada and Australia next year to become the world’s biggest uranium producer.

Uranium production is set to exceed 9,000 tons this year and then rise by another third in 2009, putting Kazakhstan in the top spot for uranium output, Mukhtar Dzhakishev, head of Kazakhstan’s wholly state-owned nuclear giant, Kazatomprom, said at a July 22 news conference. The precise amount of uranium Kazatomprom hopes to produce next year is 12,826 tons, leaving Canada and Australia trailing unless there is a similarly rapid rise in output in those countries. Last year Canada produced 9,476 tons of uranium and Australia 8,611 tons against Kazakhstan’s 6,637 tons, according to figures from the World Nuclear Association (WNA). Kazatomprom cites its own estimates for its rivals’ uranium production for 2009, which it says are based on published data: 11,100 tons for Canada and 9,430 tons for Australia. By 2010 Kazakhstan hopes to be the clear world market leader, producing some 15,000 tons annually.

The figures would have looked unbelievable in 1997, when uranium production started recovering in Kazakhstan following a precipitous decline during the years immediately following the 1991 Soviet collapse. Just over a decade ago, Kazakhstan’s annual output stood at just 795 tons of uranium, according to WNA figures. From there it began a gradual increase, before soaring over the past few years.

The recovery was timely. After hitting a record low of $7 per pound in 2000, uranium prices climbed steadily, hitting an all-time high of $138 per pound last year. Demand has been partly driven by environmental and energy security concerns, with global moves away from polluting coal-fired power plants. That has brought nuclear power back into fashion. Prices have fallen since 2007, and the spot price currently stands at $64.50 per pound. Analysts say the price is driven by expectations of supply and demand moving into line.

Kazakhstan possesses at least 15 percent of world uranium resources, according to the WNA; Kazatomprom puts the figures at 19 percent. There are around 50 known deposits of uranium, mainly in southern Kazakhstan. Kazatomprom plans to start mining new deposits this year with an annual capacity of over 7,000 tons, building on the launch of extraction in June at West Mynkuduk, which has a capacity of 1,000 tons per year. There are further plans to start mining deposits with a capacity of some 2,500 tons in 2009.

The uranium industry in Kazakhstan was restricted in Soviet times to extraction and the production of fuel pellets, but, since it was set up in 1997, Kazatomprom – now the world’s fourth largest uranium company, according to the WNA, though the company claims to be the third biggest – has been expanding its scope, seeking to take part in all stages of the nuclear fuel cycle.

In a sign of the significance the state attaches to the atomic industry, nuclear cooperation featured on the agendas of visits by President Nursultan Nazarbayev earlier this year to Japan and France, and on that of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Astana in May. During Nazarbayev’s visit to Paris in June, Kazatomprom reached a deal with Areva, a French conglomerate, that will see the KATCO joint venture more than double uranium output to 4,000 tons per year, and set up a new joint venture to manufacture nuclear fuel assemblies at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in the city of Oskemen (Ust-Kamenogorsk). Kazatomprom and Canada’s Cameco in June launched the Ulba Conversion joint venture at that plant. It is set to produce 12,000 tons per year of uranium hexafluoride, which is used in the uranium enrichment process.

Nazarbayev’s visit to Tokyo, also in June, led to Kazatomprom signing a memorandum on cooperation with Toshiba which includes plans to set up new ventures, including enterprises that will jointly extract precious metals. The Kazakh nuclear giant had already purchased 10 percent of Westinghouse Electric Corp. from Toshiba last year, and is working with it on a project, to be completed in 2011-2012, to produce fuel assemblies at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant for supply to emerging markets. Westinghouse is a major world supplier of nuclear reactors, leading Dzhakishev to suggest last year that every third reactor in the world would be working on fuel from Kazakhstan by 2030. Westinghouse has a $5 billion contract to supply reactors to China, which is seeking to almost double the share of nuclear energy in its power balance to 4 percent. Beijing hopes that the expansion of nuclear energy in the country will reduce pollution.

Kazatomprom also has growing nuclear cooperation with China, last year signing an agreement with the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (CGNPC) which will make Kazakhstan the company’s largest supplier of uranium and nuclear fuel. It also signed a trilateral deal in 2007 with CGNPC and the China National Nuclear Corp. to jointly mine uranium deposits in Kazakhstan.

Kazatomprom has a long tradition of nuclear cooperation with Russia, and recent deals include an agreement to set up a joint uranium enrichment center at existing facilities in the Siberian city of Angarsk. The first output from the venture, set up in 2006, is expected in 2011. Kazakhstan’s nuclear giant has also been a key partner as Russia seeks to start up a multilateral enrichment project in Angarsk, known as the International Uranium Enrichment Center. Kazatomprom holds a 10 percent stake in that venture, which Russia has invited other countries to join. Russia has also expressed an interest in involvement in Kazakhstan’s plans to build a new atomic power plant at Aktau on the Caspian Sea, which is also the location of a decommissioned Soviet-era nuclear power plant.



Boys Chorus served as emissaries to Kazakhstan, Czech Republic

Tucson Citizen, by Julian Ackerley, Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus director

The Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus recently returned from an historic concert tour to Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic. We spent one week in each country performing and experiencing the diverse cultures. There is no doubt this was life-changing for our impressionable young singers.

On the way to Kazakhstan we had a significant layover in Moscow. We took the opportunity for a visit of Russia's capital. Our guide, Tatyana, was good about making the tour "boy friendly." Highlights of our visit included the centuries-old St. Basil's Cathedral, Red Square, the Kremlin and Vorobiev Hills, the highest point in Moscow with breathtaking city views.

Our next stop was Almaty, Kazakhstan, which is one of Tucson's sister cities. The boys were definitely celebrities. The Kazakh people were exceptionally curious about everything American. From our early morning welcome at the airport until our departure one week later, the boys were treated to enormous kindness and generosity. They stayed with local host families providing them a first-hand understanding of Kazakh daily life.
The numerous concerts in Almaty were remarkable. Each was packed with standing-room only crowds. I was very proud of the high quality performances of our boys. And the audiences loved them. An interesting custom that caught us a bit by surprise was the applause. The enthusiastic applause began as usual but became a synchronized and thunderous clapping and yelling. I was told that this is the highest form of audience appreciation similar to a standing ovation. In between pieces, people from the audience would come to the stage presenting flowers.

Leaving Almaty was difficult as international bonds of friendship had been powerfully established. Tears of joy and sadness were evident during goodbyes. Our sojourn continued to the Czech Republic where we participated in the second World Boys and Men's Choral Festival in Hradec Králové and Prague. More than 600 singers from 12 international choirs participated in the festival. Our touring chorus of 24 boys arrived from Kazakhstan, and we were joined by 10 high school members of our young men's ensemble who traveled from Tucson. Our singing entourage was now 34 members strong.
Upon arriving, I was informed that one of the festival conductors was ill. Organizers recruited me to do some additional conducting of the combined choirs. I thoroughly enjoyed working with all the boys from around the world.

Each participating choir was featured in a spotlight concert. The Tucson Boys Chorus was scheduled in the last session. I guess it is true that they save the best for last. Our segment featured three classical pieces, a show tune, and our signature western "Riders In The Sky," with a demonstration of fancy trick rodeo roping. The audience went wild.
We distinguished ourselves at the festival with an established artistic quality combined with an innovative variety of programming. The most magical music moment for me was during the Tucson boys' performance of "Sanctus'' from Maurice Durufle's "Requiem" in the gothic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. The power of the exquisiteness of our boys' singing in the inspirational setting transformed me into a moment of goose bumps that I will never forget.

The culmination of the festival was the final gala concert in Dvorák Hall of the famous Rudolfinum in Prague. The energy of the importance of male singing from boyhood to adulthood could not have been more prominent. The performance was broadcast on national Czech radio and streamed worldwide online.

From Moscow, to Almaty, to Prague, the gentlemen of the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus were superb emissaries for our community. Their performances greatly enhanced the worldwide reputation of our organization and brought Tucson warmth and friendliness to a global audience.

Stereotypes of Russian, Kazakh, Czech and American people are often based on conflicts of the past. But cultural exchanges such as these are changing preconceived views and building international friendships for the future.


Kazakhstan to bid for 2018 Olympic Games


Kazakhstan will bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, according to local press reports.

The Kazakhstan city of Almaty was one of six cities to bid for the 2014 Winter Games, but failed to make the final shortlist.

Kazakhstan Prime Minister, Karim Massimov said: “In compliance with the decision of the Head of the State we should prepare a bid for participation in the next Winter Olympics in 2018.”

Massimov asked the Ministry of Sport and Tourism to check on how the sports facilities would be used after the 2011 Asian Winter Games and said that the country would need to study other Asian states’ experience.

Other potential bidders include Borjomi in Georgia, Denver in the USA and Geneva in Switzerland.

News Bulletin of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Contact person: Zhanbolat Ussenov
Tel.: 202-232-5488 ext 104; Fax: 202-232-5845
E-mail: zhan@kazakhembus.com