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12/01/08

News Bulletin No 29


POLITICS
Kazakhstan president grieved over Mumbai deaths
Kazakhstan Offers Help With Ossetian, Abkhaz Talks 
Major new political reforms for Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan: Draft law on gender equality under discussion 
U.S. and Kazakhstan Reach Milestone in Nonproliferation Cooperation

ECONOMY 
Kazakhstan holds sitting on anti-crisis moves
Kazakhstan: IMF official praises Kazakh bank bailout plan

OTHER NEWS
Forging new links with Kazakhstan

Category: General
Posted by: admin

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

 

No 29 December 1, 2008

POLITICS

• Kazakhstan president grieved over Mumbai deaths
• Kazakhstan Offers Help With Ossetian, Abkhaz Talks 
• Major new political reforms for Kazakhstan
• Kazakhstan: Draft law on gender equality under discussion 
• U.S. and Kazakhstan Reach Milestone in Nonproliferation Cooperation

ECONOMY

• Kazakhstan holds sitting on anti-crisis moves
• Kazakhstan: IMF official praises Kazakh bank bailout plan

OTHER NEWS

• Forging new links with Kazakhstan

 

Kazakhstan president grieved over Mumbai deaths

Sindh Today

Astana, Nov 27 (IANS) Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev Thursday expressed his grief at the loss of lives after ‘horrendous acts’ of terrorism in Mumbai.

In his condolence message to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Nazarbayev said: ‘It is with profound grief that I have learned of death of peaceful civilians due to the terrorist acts in Mumbai.

‘I condemn these horrendous acts of terror and on behalf of the nation of Kazakhstan and in my own name, I express my sincere condolences to the families of the victims and the people of India,’ he said.

‘I would like to stress the need for strengthening international cooperation in combating terrorism. I am convinced that only this way will we be able to eliminate all forms of terrorism.’

 

Kazakhstan Offers Help With Ossetian, Abkhaz Talks 

Reuters

Kazakhstan, a former Soviet state with good ties to Russia and Georgia, believes it can help resolve the future of the rebel regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Prime Minister Karim Masimov has told Reuters.

Georgia and Russia fought a brief war in August over South Ossetia, a pro-Moscow region which threw off Tbilisi's rule in 1991-92 and declared independence.

Talks in Geneva between the two sides about South Ossetia have made little progress. Some "tough" discussions were held there about security issues on November 19, Interfax news agency quoted a Russian diplomat as saying.

Noting that oil- and gas-rich Kazakhstan would take the chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2010, Masimov, in an interview, said, "I strongly believe the OSCE can play a bigger role in resolving the issue of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and Kazakhstan as future chairman can play a bigger role and my president [Nursultan Nazarbaev] has already expressed interest."

Kazakhstan's OSCE role was delayed by a year after human rights groups criticized a lack of democracy in the country, ruled by Nazarbaev since the late Soviet period.

No Plans To Recognize

But despite Kazakhstan's good relations with Moscow, Masimov made clear that his country did not plan to recognize the two Georgian rebel regions' declaration of independence.

So far, only Russia and Nicaragua have recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states; the United States and the European Union have condemned the move while Moscow's former Soviet vassals have remained mostly silent.

"According to the decision of my president, we did not recognize the independence of Kosovo and we did not recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia," Masimov said. "The treatment should be equal in all cases like that, not only in the region, but worldwide."

As one of the biggest foreign investors in Georgia, Kazakhstan wanted the situation to be resolved peacefully as soon as possible, he added.

Masimov said Kazakhstan, located at a strategic crossroads of Asia and Europe, wanted to maintain its policy of staying friends with all major powers. He listed the United States, Russia, China, and the Middle East as strategic partners.

"We prefer not to say we are friendly with someone against someone else," he said

Nazarbaev had already held a phone conversation with U.S. President-elect Barack Obama and the call had given Kazakhstan confidence that its good relations with Washington would endure, the premier added.

 

Major new political reforms for Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marat Tazhin, has announced a new package of amendments to the laws on elections, political parties and media.

For the first time in Kazakhstan’s contemporary political history, the principle of a multi-party parliament is being legislated.

Quantitative requirements relating to representation at a parliamentary level have been lowered, and the party registration process will no longer be dependent on subjective interpretations, but instead will be clearly prescribed by law. This protects the entire election process from abuse.

Minister Tazhin’s new package also includes regulations guaranteeing all political parties equal access to the media, and ensuring equal conditions for arranging meetings with voters during any election period, as well as simplification of observer registration procedures

The rights of media outlets and journalists will be similarly expanded and guaranteed.

Minister Tazhin concluded his (Monday 10th) announcement by reaffirming that Kazakhstan is committed to political modernization: “Democracy is not a result, but a process. It is certainly impossible to embrace everything or to build a perfect political model... But Kazakhstan is making a very big step towards political modernization. Decisions taken… signify important steps linked to the President’s strategic initiatives” he said.


Kazakhstan: Draft law on gender equality under discussion 
  
OSCE Press release

ASTANA, 28 November 2008 -- A roundtable discussion on Kazakhstan's draft law on gender equality and the best practices of other OSCE participating states took place in Borovoye in Central Kazakhstan today.

The one-day event, organized by the OSCE Centre in Astana, brought together more than 40 participants, including high-level officials from government ministries, members of parliament, national and international experts, and representatives from non-governmental and international organizations.

Participants learned about the experiences of Lithuania and Kyrgyzstan, and discussed Kazakhstan's draft law on equal rights and opportunities for women and men, which was prepared by national experts and submitted to Parliament in 2006. It was agreed that a law on equal rights and opportunities should be adopted soon.

"We hope that during Kazakhstan's OSCE Chairmanship in 2010, the government will include gender equality among its priorities," said Ambassador Alexandre Keltchewsky, the Head of the OSCE Centre in Astana. "The experience of other OSCE participating States can also help Kazakhstan to adopt a effective law."

"The women of Kazakhstan should actively promote the draft law to achieve gender equality in practice," said Gulshara Abykalykova, the Chairperson of the National Commission on Women and Family and Demographic Affairs. "Towards this end, the National Commission, in partnership with civil society organizations, has started to promote the systematic involvement of women in political parties."

The roundtable discussion was organized by the OSCE Centre in close co-operation with the National Commission on Women, Family and Demographic Affairs.

 


U.S. and Kazakhstan Reach Milestone in Nonproliferation Cooperation

Us Department of State
Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC, November 12, 2008

The United States and the Republic of Kazakhstan reached a new milestone in a multiyear joint project to irreversibly decommission the Soviet-era BN-350 fast breeder reactor located at the Kazakhstani port of Aktau on the Caspian Sea. The participating governments completed a sodium processing facility that will be used to dispose of coolant from the reactor core. This action demonstrates and reinforces the strength of the U.S.-Kazakhstani strategic relationship, and our joint commitment to preventing the proliferation of nuclear materials.

A ceremony to celebrate the completion of the construction of the Sodium Processing Facility was held at the facility on November 5, 2008. Representatives from the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan attending the ceremony included: the Deputy Chairman of the Kazakhstan Atomic Energy Committee, Alexander Kim; the Director of the Labor Safety and Environmental Protection Department of the National Atomic Company Kazatomprom, Marat Nurgaziev; the Executive Director of the Nuclear Technology Safety Center (NTSC), Irina Tazhibayeva; and the Director BN-350 at MAEC-Kazatomprom, Genadi Pugachev. The U.S. was represented by U.S. Embassy to Kazakhstan Deputy Chief of Mission Kevin Milas and NDF Senior Project Manager John Beasley. The U.K. was represented by Deputy Head of Mission of the British Embassy in Kazakhstan Michael Welch.

In collaboration with experts from Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom, Department of Energy and Idaho National Laboratory engineers served as U.S. technical experts on the design and construction of the facility. Nuvia, a British firm, provided additional technical support. Additionally, the Nuclear Technology Safety Center (NTSC), a Kazakhstani non-governmental organization, provided in-country project management for the Government of Kazakhstan that ensured the facility was being constructed in a sound, safe, and ecologically responsible manner.

The construction of the sodium processing facility was funded by the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund (http:www.state.gov/t/isn/ndf), a fund available to the Department of State to address unanticipated nonproliferation and disarmament opportunities and emergencies. The Department of State appreciates the cooperation of the Government of Kazakhstan, the Government of the United Kingdom, the NTSC, Nuvia, and the Department of Energy in this successful effort.

 

 


ECONOMY

Kazakhstan holds sitting on anti-crisis moves

Astana, 25 November: - Today, at a special sitting, the Kazakhstan Government approved a long-awaited stabilization plan to inject a total of 10 billion US dollars into the national economy. 
“The plan to be taken by the Government, the National Bank and the Agency for Financial Supervision (the financial market regulator) is very specific and relies on available resources” Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister, Karim Massimov said.
 
“To implement the plan, 10 billion US dollars will be allocated out of the National [Oil] Fund, the 2009-2010 state budget fund and pension accumulation funds.
It is very important to ensure transparent use of the resources”, Mr. Massimov said.  To this end the Prime Minister has commissioned the Ministry of Economy & Budget Planning to elaborate step-by-step guidelines for implementing the stabilization plan.
 
The plan will focus on stabilizing five vectors as defined by President Nazarbayev.

* the financial sector (USD 4 billion earmarked)
* the real estate market (USD 3 billion)
* S&MBs (USD 1 billion)
* accelerated development of the national agriculture sector (USD 1 billion)
* innovation-driven industrial projects (USD 1 billion).

Anvar Saidenov, Head of the National Bank of Kazakhstan said that current developments of the Kazakh consumer market show that inflation is slowing down and inflationary pressure is slackening. This trend will continue into 2009, he said.

“The National Bank will confine inflation to 10%, and keep the indicator within 7.5-9.5% in 2009, and within 7-9% in 2010”, said Mr. Saidenov, who added that up to the end of this year, and into 2009 - the National Bank will be pursuing its ‘mild monetary policy’. 

Mr. Saidenov also said that the Bank will take into account economic developments in 2009 and policy tightening is not ruled out; “This will depend on inflation trends” he said.  “At the moment we forecast further inflation abatement. Under such conditions, we can focus on financial stability.” 


Kazakhstan: IMF official praises Kazakh bank bailout plan

EurasiaNet

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is endorsing Kazakhstan’s multi-billion dollar bailout program, which aims to shore up the country’s sagging banking sector.

Tim Cullen, the IMF’s country representative in Astana, met with Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov on November 19 to discuss recent economic developments, the Kazinform news agency reported. Following the talks, Cullen voiced confidence in the government’s handling of the fiscal crisis.

"Kazakhstan’s approach indicates that the country is on the right track to emerge from this complicated situation," Cullen was quoted as saying.

Heavy international borrowing made Kazakh banks particularly vulnerable to capital liquidity problems in the wake of the American sub-prime mortgage crisis. The outlook for Kazakhstan’s top-tier financial institutions seemed grim until the government announced the recapitalization plan earlier this month. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].

The Kazakh authorities have hired Credit Suisse and JP Morgan as consultants to oversee the bailout. A distressed asset fund of $430 million has purchased problem assets from banks. Additionally, $3.47 billion of government money has bought stakes of up to 25 percent in the country’s four largest banks: Kazkommertsbank, BTA Bank, Halyk Bank and Alliance Bank.

 

OTHER NEWS

Forging new links with Kazakhstan

Press and Journal, Aberdeen, UK

Councillors in Aberdeen yesterday backed moves to strengthen a co-operation agreement between the city and Kazakhstan’s oil capital, Atyrau.

Economic and cultural ties with the former Soviet republic are to be cemented with eight “actions” included in the agreement.

Members of the council’s economic development sub-committee backed the plan, which builds on a memorandum of understanding signed in 2003.

Increased co-operation will include the promotion of cultural, sporting, business and educational exchanges, as well as the development of tourism and trade links.

Opposition Conservative councillor Jim Farquharson questioned the financial cost of the deal for the budget-cutting council. “What would the council’s financial exposure be if we enter another relationship?” he asked.

“Are we building up a future of having to fund dozens of sports people going to events over there because we have this relationship?”

Council leader Kate Dean said the agreement was about “promoting, facilitating and enabling” stronger ties, rather than the traditional image of “junkets” for council officials.

“This is not us entering into a new agreement, this is one we have been involved with since 2003,” she said.

“What we are looking at now is how to implement that and how we can make it work for both cities.”

Deputy council leader Kevin Stewart added: “This is a situation where we have got to ensure the future prosperity of the city.

“The importance of Kazakhstan to us and us to them is shown by the fact they have opened up a consulate in the city.

“As well as Atyrau we should be looking elsewhere, there are new (oil) cities emerging.”

The committee unanimously agreed to approve the agreement’s adoption and authorise Lord Provost Peter Stephen to sign it on behalf of the council.


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