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10/24/07

Germany backs Kazakh OSCE, WTO bids as investors are reassured


Extract from Bloomberg news article by Andreas Cremer

Category: General
Posted by: admin

Germany backed a bid by Kazakhstan to head the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, rejecting international criticism that the former Soviet state's electoral record should bar it from assuming the watchdog's helm.

“I gave the prime minister our assurance that we will gladly support this bid,'' German Economy Minister Michael Glos told reporters in Almaty, Kazakhstan. “We believe efforts” to head the 56-member OSCE “can work as an incentive for Kazakhstan to undertake further democratic reforms.”

Glos, who held talks with Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov in the capital Astana on Oct. 17, said Germany also supported the government's efforts to join the World Trade Organization.

The German position defies bodies including the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, which oppose Kazakhstan's bid to head the OSCE, the world's largest regional security organization, which is involved in election monitoring.

Glos's comments were made after a meeting in which Masimov provided assurances that Kazakhstan, holder of about 3 percent of the world's oil reserves, would not implement the provisions of a new law that enables the Kazakh authorities to reclaim natural resources from foreign companies.

``Masimov told us that Kazakhstan will pay close attention to its policies and gave reassurance that contracts will not get rewritten,'' Glos said. ``He pledged to do everything to avoid damaging investors' faith in his country.''

The Kazakh parliament approved amendments last month to the so-called natural resource law empowering the government to annul or revise contracts with foreign investors if they fail to honor the terms of agreements.