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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 5, No. 90, 01-05-11

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Newsline Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>

RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 5, No. 90, 11 May 2001


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON INVESTMENT IN ARMENIA OPENS IN NEW YORK
  • [02] ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT AVOIDS DEBATE ON FUGITIVE DEPUTY
  • [03] ARMENIAN GOVERNMENT TO LAUNCH SHORT-TERM EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM
  • [04] IMF TO WITHHOLD LOAN TRANCHE FOR GEORGIA
  • [05] STALIN'S SAMOVAR STOLEN IN GEORGIA
  • [06] ABKHAZ, GEORGIAN HOSTAGES RELEASED
  • [07] PRO-PRESIDENTIAL PARTY DEFENDS KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT AGAINST BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS...
  • [08] ...AS OPPOSITION CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATION INTO MONEY LAUNDERING
  • [09] KAZAKH PRESIDENT'S SON-IN-LAW NAMED TO HEAD NEW PIPELINE AGENCY
  • [10] KAZAKHSTAN SUSPENDS OIL TRANSIT THROUGH CASPIAN PIPELINE
  • [11] CORRECTION:
  • [12] KYRGYZ NEWSPAPER EDITOR FINED
  • [13] BAPTIST CLERGYMAN FORBIDDEN TO MINISTER IN TURKMENISTAN
  • [14] EXILED UZBEK DISSIDENT SAYS PRESIDENT APPROVED PLANS FOR HIS ASSASSINATION

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [15] UZBEKISTAN 'READY TO JOIN SHANGHAI FORUM'

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON INVESTMENT IN ARMENIA OPENS IN NEW YORK

    A three-day conference on investment opportunities in Armenia opened in New York on 9 May, attracting greater interest than anticipated, a correspondent for RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported. In an address to the opening session read by Industry and Trade Minister Karen Chshmaritian, Armenian President Robert Kocharian pledged that the Armenian leadership will do all in its power to support foreign investors and to combat what he termed "strong bureaucratic obstruction and the evil of corruption." U.S. Minsk Group co-chairman Carey Cavanaugh also attended the opening session, underscoring the U.S. desire to resolve the Karabakh conflict as a precondition for economic cooperation between the South Caucasus states. The conference is being organized by the World Bank and the U.S. government and is the first of its kind devoted to a single country. LF

    [02] ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT AVOIDS DEBATE ON FUGITIVE DEPUTY

    It is unlikely that the Armenian parliament will initiate a debate in the near future on whether to strip deputy Vano Siradeghian of his mandate, the chairman of the parliament committee on state and legal affairs, Viktor Dallakian, told RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau on 10 May. The parliament's statutes theoretically allow for doing so in the event of a deputy's "unjustified" absence from voting for a period of six months. Siradeghian fled Armenia in April 2000 while on trial on charges of having ordered a series of contract murders during his tenure as interior minister in the early 1990s after his fellow parliament deputies voted to lift his immunity from arrest (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4, 5 and 7 April 2000). His current whereabouts are unknown. LF

    [03] ARMENIAN GOVERNMENT TO LAUNCH SHORT-TERM EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM

    The Armenian government will invest nearly $1 million in programs to provide short-term employment in the public sector for the most impoverished stratum of the population, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Jobs will include road construction and cleaning activities, and will pay 800 drams ($1.5) per day. Social Security Minister Razmik Martirosian told journalists that the government hopes to obtain additional funding for the program from international aid agencies. LF

    [04] IMF TO WITHHOLD LOAN TRANCHE FOR GEORGIA

    Georgian Tax Minister Mikhail Machavariani said in Tbilisi on 10 May that the IMF team of experts that recently visited Georgia has recommended withholding until October disbursement of a $12 million loan tranche pending improvements in tax collection, AP reported. The visiting team expressed approval of the monetary policy implemented by the Georgian National Bank and of improved macroeconomic indicators, but called on the Georgian government to take more decisive measures over the next two months to reduce the budget deficit by improved tax collection and to raise electricity tariffs. It is not clear whether or not the mission advocated a budget sequester. The fund suspended cooperation with Georgia late last year but in January approved a new $141 million three-year antipoverty loan of which two $12 million tranches have been disbursed to date (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 January 2001). LF

    [05] STALIN'S SAMOVAR STOLEN IN GEORGIA

    Thieves have stolen from the Stalin Museum in Gori a samovar that was used by the deceased Soviet dictator to make tea in the Kremlin, Reuters reported on 10 May. LF

    [06] ABKHAZ, GEORGIAN HOSTAGES RELEASED

    Following talks in Chuburkhindji, western Georgia, on 11 May between senior Georgian officials and Abkhaz Prosecutor General and presidential representative Anri Djergenia, the Abkhaz side handed over three Georgian guerrillas captured in early April and five detained Georgian fishermen, Georgian agencies reported. In return, the Georgian "Forest Brother" guerrilla band released five Georgian conscripts together with an Abkhaz customs official whom they had earlier threatened to execute (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 April and 9 May 2001). LF

    [07] PRO-PRESIDENTIAL PARTY DEFENDS KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT AGAINST BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS...

    Arat Narmaghambetov, a leading member of the OTAN party created in January 1999 to support President Nursultan Nazarbaev, has addressed an open letter to Kazakhstan's Prosecutor-General Rashid Tusypbekov, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Swiss Justice Ministry stressing that President Nazarbaev has repeatedly rejected as untrue articles published in the U.S. press over the past 18 months implicating him in accepting huge bribes from Western oil companies that were allegedly paid into foreign bank accounts. In the letter, Narmaghambetov appeals to Tusypbekov to bring legal proceedings for insulting the honor and dignity of the president against the foreign newspapers that published such articles. A copy of Narmaghambetov's letter was faxed to RFE/RL's Almaty bureau on 10 May. LF

    [08] ...AS OPPOSITION CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATION INTO MONEY LAUNDERING

    RFE/RL's Almaty bureau also received by fax on 10 May a copy of a second letter signed by leaders of the opposition Communist Party, republican People's Party of Kazakhstan, the Workers' Movement, LAD (representing Kazakhstan's Slav population), and Orleu among others, which was addressed to the U.S. Congress and the OSCE. That letter claimed that the recently enacted legislation offering impunity to persons who transfer back to Kazakhstan capital they had previously deposited in foreign bank accounts (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7, 8 and 22 March 2001) has encouraged unnamed Kazakh officials to engage in money laundering, rechanneling such capital via Kazakh banks to other foreign banks. LF

    [09] KAZAKH PRESIDENT'S SON-IN-LAW NAMED TO HEAD NEW PIPELINE AGENCY

    President Nazarbaev's son-in-law, Timur Kulibaev, has been named to head the newly created state pipeline company Oil and Gas Transport, Interfax reported on 8 May. That agency was created on 2 May on the basis of the oil transportation company KazTransOil, of which Kulibaev was president; KazTransGaz; and state shares in the shipping company Kazmortransflot. The new agency will be responsible for the marketing, transportation, and sale of hydrocarbon reserves; the organization of financing, development and feasibility studies; and the design and construction of oil pipelines. It will also participate in all domestic and foreign projects involving the transportation of oil and gas. LF

    [10] KAZAKHSTAN SUSPENDS OIL TRANSIT THROUGH CASPIAN PIPELINE

    The Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) has suspended pumping oil into its recently launched export pipeline because of the absence of an agreement between the consortium and Russian Customs that would allow for the import of that oil into the Russian Federation, Interfax reported on 10 May, quoting Kazakhstan's Deputy Energy Minister Nurlan Kapparov, a former head of the state oil company KazakhOil. A CPC spokesman in Atyrau said that to date some 120,000 tons of crude have been pumped into the pipeline, filling a 248 kilometer section. The CPC has denied Kazakh press reports that Russia has refused to allow the oil to transit its territory because no agreement has yet been reached between the Russian and Kazakh governments on transport tariffs. LF

    [11] CORRECTION:

    On 7 May "RFE/RL Newsline" erroneously reported that President Nazarbaev had appointed Security Council Secretary Marat Tazhin as chairman of that body. Tazhin was in fact appointed chairman of the National Security Committee (the former KGB).

    [12] KYRGYZ NEWSPAPER EDITOR FINED

    A district court in Bishkek on 10 May fined Melis Eshimkanov, editor of the now defunct opposition newspaper "Asaba," 1,000 soms (about $20) for his participation in a 13 April protest against the paper's forced closure, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 May 2001). Communist Party Chairwoman Klara Ajybekova and Socialist Party leader Omurbek Tekebaev, who is deputy speaker of the upper house of parliament, face similar charges. LF

    [13] BAPTIST CLERGYMAN FORBIDDEN TO MINISTER IN TURKMENISTAN

    Turkmen security police warned Baptist pastor Viktor Korobov in Ashgabat on 7 May not to lead any further religious services in the city or to leave the city for the next six months, Keston News Service reported on 10 May. LF

    [14] EXILED UZBEK DISSIDENT SAYS PRESIDENT APPROVED PLANS FOR HIS ASSASSINATION

    In a fax to RFE/RL's Uzbek Service in Prague on 11 May, Bahram Muminakhunov, an Uzbek citizen currently residing in Moscow, said he was asked in the fall of 1999 by two senior Uzbek Interior Ministry (MVD) officials to arrange through his Chechen contacts the murder of Mohammad Salikh, the exiled leader of the banned Uzbek Democratic Party ("Erk") who currently lives in Norway. Muminakhunov also said he was present at a meeting in April 2000 between those officials and Uzbek President Islam Karimov to discuss plans for the assassination. He says he has tapes of conversations with the MVD officials discussing the planned killing, for which they offered to pay $2 million. Muminakhunov then tipped off Salikh, whose relatives announced his disappearance. The Uzbek officials refused, however, to pay the full fee for the killing until Salikh's body was found. In a telephone conversation with RFE/RL and at a separate press conference in Oslo on 11 May Salikh confirmed Muminakhunov's statement. LF

    [C] END NOTE

    [15] UZBEKISTAN 'READY TO JOIN SHANGHAI FORUM'

    Addressing a session of Uzbekistan's parliament on 11 May, President Karimov said his country is ready to join the Shanghai Forum, ITAR-TASS reported. That grouping, which comprises Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, is to hold its next forum in Shanghai on 15 June. LF

    Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
    URL: http://www.rferl.org


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