Kazakhstan
News Bulletin
Released weekly by the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
www.kazakhembus.com
                                               
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No 13, October 24, 2007

POLITICS
USA optimistic about Kazakhstan’s OSCE chairmanship bid
Germany Backs Kazakh OSCE, WTO Bids as Investors Are Reassured

ECONOMY
Launch of Kazakhstan’s Regional Financial Center celebrated in Washington
Subsoil law amendments to make no adverse affect on investment climate
Kazakhstan to Join Nabucco Project
Nokian Tyres to build car tyre plant in Kazakhstan with local company

OTHER NEWS
Instant weekend: Almaty
Kazakh mountaineers conquer world’s second highest peak
Portugal scores 2 late goals to defeat Kazakhstan 2-1 in Euro qualifier


POLITICS

USA optimistic about Kazakhstan’s OSCE chairmanship bid

EurasiaNet, 18 October 2007

At a meeting with the Kazakh Secretary of State, Kanat Saudabayev, the US permanent representative to the OSCE, Julie Finley, has said that the USA views Kazakhstan’s application for the OSCE chairmanship in 2009 with great optimism, a report released by the president’s press service says.

During the meeting in Astana today, Saudabayev and Finley discussed priority areas for Kazakhstan during its chairmanship of the OSCE in case the country’s application is approved by 56 members of the organization at a meeting of foreign ministers in Spain at the end of November.

"The world community respects Kazakhstan’s achievements gained in the process of establishing a democratic society and successful economy only within 15 years [of independence]. Kazakhstan’s application for the OSCE chairmanship is viewed by the USA with great optimism," the report says quoting Finley.

For his part, Saudabayev said during the meeting that one of the priorities for Kazakhstan during its chairmanship of the OSCE would be raising the efficiency of measures aimed at ensuring humanitarian security.

"Kazakhstan intends to step up the OSCE’s efforts to fight all forms of racism, intolerance and discrimination based on its own experience of interethnic accord, to strengthen the organization as a bridge between the West and the East in the dialogue of civilizations, to focus on expanding the OSCE’s presence in Central Asia and ensuring the stable development of the region, as well as on more active cooperation between the organization and Afghanistan," Saudabayev said.

"Positive consideration of Kazakhstan’s application could be a great contribution to further developing democracy not only in our country but in the entire region of Central Asia. The chairmanship of economically strong and dynamically developing democratic Kazakhstan over the OSCE will be not only a high assessment of our achievements during the years of independence, but it will also favorably influence the general situation in the organization, which, by this will demonstrate the equality of all members and raise its reputation," the report says quoting Saudabayev as saying.


Germany backs Kazakh OSCE, WTO bids as investors are reassured

Extract from Bloomberg news article by Andreas Cremer

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.


ECONOMY

Launch of Kazakhstan’s Regional Financial Center celebrated in Washington

On Sunday, October 21, 2007 the Embassy of Kazakhstan to the US in cooperation with the Regional Financial Center of Almaty (RFCA) hosted a reception at the Hay Adams hotel in Washington, DC to celebrate the latter’s official launch. 

The event was held as a part of the program of a visiting Kazakh delegation led by the Governor of Kazakhstan’s National Bank, Mr. Anvar Saidenov. The delegation arrived to the US to attend the annual session of the World Bank and IMF board of governors.

Leaders of financial institutions, government officials and media were all present at the event, thus contributing to the further development of the ongoing Kazakh-American financial and economic dialogue.

The RFCA is a unique institution in Central Asia widely praised as a driving force behind Almaty’s growing financial clout in the region. Kazakhstan, particularly its former capital, Almaty, is ideally suited to be the financial hub of Central Asia given its geographic location between Dubai and Hong Kong. The privatization and integrity of its financial institutions are already well known and widely recognized. 


Subsoil law amendments to make no adverse affect on investment climate

According to Kazakhstan’s Deputy Energy Minister, Mr. Bolat Akchulakov, recent amendments to the Law on the Use of Subsoil Reserves will not exacerbate the investment climate in Kazakhstan, the Embassy of Kazakhstan reports with reference to the Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency.

"The law has now been adopted but it won’t result in the deterioration of Kazakhstan’s investment climate," Akchulakov said at a press conference in Astana after the meeting of “Kazakhstan – European Union” sub-committee on trade, investment, energy and transport.

European Commission’s representative in Kazakhstan, Mr. Adrian Van Der Meer, voiced the EU’s concerns about the amendments.

"We understand that every country wants to defend its own national interests, this is a normal practice in the foreign relations. However, we have doubts about those initiatives: schedules set for the operators and also a specter of possibilities that the existing contracts in this sector might be revised,” he said.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Ms. Zhanar Aitzhanova, warned that certain emotions are always the case both on the part of foreign companies and the government, if the changes to contracts or legislation occur. However, Kazakhstan’s economy is moving forward and these amendments only suggest that there is a real threat to the security of the national economy and certain ways of understanding compliance with contract terms may pose such a threat, she said at the press-conference.

"Kazakhstan’s investment climate remains one of the most favorable in the CIS,” she stressed.


Kazakhstan to join Nabucco Project

K. Konyrova, TrendCapital, October 22, 2007

Kazakhstan is ready to join Nabucco project and to export its gas via the pipeline to the European countries, “Kazakhstan Holding on Management of State Assets – Samruk” Vice President on Transportation Kairgeldy Kabyldin said.

“The point is how Kazakhstan’s gas should be supplied? Via the Caspian Sea through Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline or bypassing the Caspian Sea via Iran,” Kabyldin said.

Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum goes via Azerbaijan and Georgia to Georgian-Turkish border. It exports the gas produced in Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field.

According to Kabyldin, Kazakhstan has been already proposed to export its gas via Azerbaijan and Iran.

OMV is the operator of Nabucco with a 20% share. With a length of 4,000km, the Nabucco gas pipeline will ensure gas delivery via the Mediterranean and Caspian Sea to Europe via Azerbaijan, Georgia, Tbilisi, Turkey, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Austria. Operation of the gas pipeline will commence in 2011. The project is estimated at €5bln. Nabucco is developed by the companies of OMV, MOL (Hungary), Botas (Turkey), Bulgargaz (Bulgaria) and Transgaz (Romania).


Nokian Tyres to build car tyre plant in Kazakhstan with local company

Oct 19, 2007, Forbes.com 

HELSINKI (Thomson Financial) - Nokian Tyres said it will take an initial 10 pct stake in a newly formed venture that plans to produce up to 4 mln car tyres a year at a plant in Kazakhstan, with the option to gain a majority holding later.

The Finnish company, which recently confirmed its interest in setting up a manufacturing facility in the country, will form the venture with Kazakh company Ordabasy Corporation JSC.

The new company is to spend 160 mln eur, financed through equity and loans, on building a plant in the Kazakh capital Astana.

In the first few years of operation the plant will produce mainly Nokian and Nordman branded tyres for sale in Kazakhstan and Russia, as well as other central Asian and eastern Europen markets, Nokian Tyres said.

The site is to start up in 2009, and is expected to reach a maximum production capacity of some 4 mln car tyres a year by 2012-2013. Nokian Tyres said 35-65 pct of capacity will be reserved for its own products during the first five years of operation, and 35 pct thereafter.

The company has an option to raise its ownership of the venture from 10 pct to a minimum of 50 pct.


OTHER NEWS

Instant weekend: Almaty

Oct 21, 2007, the Guardian, by Lucy Kelaart

Why go now?

Kazakhstan may not be the first place that springs to mind when looking for a weekend break, but its former capital, Almaty, is about to become the ultimate destination for an edgy escape. New direct flights with BMI start this month and November sees the launch of a new guidebook, A Hedonist's Guide to ... Almaty and Astana, showing Almaty, nearly 2,000 miles south east of Moscow, to be the new cultural and party capital of Central Asia.

Checking in

If you want to be in the centre of old Almaty, head for the Grand Tien Shan Hotel in the neo-classical building of the former Ministry of Geology, which has beautiful mountain views (00 7 727 244 9600; ts-hotels.kz; doubles from £150). From mid-2008 you can stay at the JW Marriott Hotel Almaty (marriott.com) in the new 38-storey Esentai Park Tower on Al-Farabi Avenue, set to become the country's chicest address.

Hit the streets

The Zelyonni (Green) Bazaar is the best place in town to experience 'Central Asia'. Opposite, at the bottom of Dostyk Avenue, there's an informal flea market where you can pick up Soviet-era household items and antiques for next to nothing. Almaty's Central Public Baths, the Arasan Banya, are a truly local haunt, and the perfect way to relax on a winter's day, when temperatures can fall as low as -15C. Choose between Russian, Finnish or Turkish baths, or a large steam room with wood-panelled walls, where you can beat yourself with birch branches.

Coffee break

Kazakhstan is a nation of tea drinkers, but the hottest place in town for a 'jumbo latte' is Coffeedelia (79 Kabanbai Batyr Street; 00 7 727 272 6409) - coffee shop by day and hangout for the children of the new elite at night. More sophisticated, and only a block away, is L'Affiche (83 Kabanbai Batyr Street; 00 7 727 272 1092) with its postcard-perfect views of the Opera and Ballet Theatre opposite. Our favourite is the homely 4A Coffee (81 Zhibek Zholy Street; 00 7 727 273 1181).

Neighbourhood watch

Walk along the streets of Valikhanov, Tulebaev or Baisetov in Old Almaty after a snowfall for one of the most peaceful experiences the city has to offer. Plaques on the buildings commemorate well-known figures - artists, writers, politicians and scientists - who lived there during Soviet times.

Everyone's talking about

Following Central Asia's first pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2005, video art has emerged as the latest form of artistic expression. Artists such as Almagul Menlibaeva, Sasha Ugai and Said Atabekov follow in the tradition of Rustam Khalfin, the father of contemporary art in Kazakhstan, whose work is currently being exhibited at the White Space Gallery in London (until 10 November). See works at the Soros Centre (Block B, Sector 110, Alem 2, Dostyk Street; 00 7 727 320 1203) or Tengri Umai Gallery (103 Panfilov Street; 00 7 727 258 1152; tu.kz).

Retail therapy

The Sadu Concept Store (Samal 3/25 Mercur Town; 00 7 727 271 6865) on Al-Farabi is a great place to shop - check out fashions from Aida Kaumenova's trendy ready-to-wear collection, plus Aigul Kassymova's studio on the corner of Kabanbai Batyr and Pushkin Streets.

Worked up an appetite

Start the night with a shot of vodka or a long drink at Vogue Bar (11 Satpaev Street; 00 7 727 264 1699) or Posh (Samal 3/25 Mercur Town; 00 7 27 266 3996) before moving on to one of two new fusion restaurants: Boudoir (134 Bogenbai Batyr Street; 00 7 727 272 5555), whose head chef comes hot from Lotus One in Dubai, or Naoro (17 Abai Avenue; 00 7 727 291 1145), run by the former Maitre d' of Nobu in London. Zheti Kazyna's (58a Ablai Khan Avenue; 00 7 727 273 2587) has traditional Kazakh, Uzbek, Uighur and Dungan food. The Kazakh national dish of besparmak, made with horse meat and ribbons of pasta, is delicious, as are the samsa (dough parcels) with spinach, sorrel and cheese. PBC is a fun Soviet-style diner at 103 Furmanov.

The big nigh out

Serious clubbers head for Da Freak (40 Gogol Street; 00 7 727 273 1337; dafreakclub.com) in Panfilov Park which features local and international DJs. For decadence and glamour, follow the local elite to Euphoria (29/6 Satpaeva; 00 7 727 226 1808). Locals dance to live jazz, Latino, reggae and African drums late into the night at weekends at Bar Cuba (102 Bogenbai Batyr Street; 00 7 727 291 2932).

Escape the city

The mountain resort of Chimbulak (chimbulak.com ), just 25 minutes' drive south of Almaty, offers the best skiing in Kazakhstan. The Talgar Pass peaks at 3,163m, and there are magnificent views. You could also stop off at Medeo Ice Rink (00 7 727 271 6217) which claims to be one of the highest in the world, at 1,691m.

Getting there

Direct nine-hour flights to Almaty from Heathrow are available from 29 October with BMI (flybmi.com) and cost from £606 return, including taxes and charges. They are available three times a week, on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Or fly from Heathrow via Frankfurt from £480 with Lufthansa (0870 837 7747; lufthansa.com).

• A Hedonist's Guide to... Almaty and Astana, by Lucy Kelaart and Summer Coish is published in November for £13.99. See hg2.com.


Kazakh mountaineers conquer world’s second highest peak

Kazakhstan’s mountaineering team climbed K2 (Chogori), the second highest peak in the world, the Embassy of Kazakhstan reports with reference to the Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency.

“The climbing is part of the “Kazakhstan’s Team on Highest Peaks of the World” program. Kazakh mountaineers Denis Urubko and Sergei Samoilov installed the Kazakh flag on K2 on October 2,” Baglan Zhunusov, head of Kazakhstan’s Federation for Mountaineering and Rock-Climbing, told a Thursday press conference in Almaty.

According to him, under the program Kazakh mountaineers have already conquered thirteen out of fourteen highest (over 8000 meters) peaks in the world.

Zhunusov announced that next spring the team is going to climb Lhotse, a 8516 m peak. “Upon completion of this program, the Kazakh team will be the first in the CIS to conquer all the world peaks above 8000 meters,” he said.


Portugal scores 2 late goals to defeat Kazakhstan 2-1 in Euro qualifier

The Associated Press

ALMATY, Kazakhstan: Portugal scored two late goals Wednesday to earn a 2-1 win over Kazakhstan and move closer to a spot at next year's European Championship.

Substitute Ariza Makukula, making his international debut, gave Portugal a 1-0 lead in the 84th minute on a header from close range after a cross from Ricardo Quaresma.

Cristiano Ronaldo added a second goal in the first minute of injury time, taking a pass from Nani and finishing with a high shot from inside the area.

Dmitry Byakov pulled one back for the hosts five minutes into injury time.

The win puts Portugal in second place in Group A with 23 points from 12 games. Poland leads the group with 24 points, while Finland has 20. Kazakhstan has seven points.

Portugal dominated the game from the outset, and Bruno Alves nearly put his team ahead in the fourth minute, but his header went wide after a free kick from Miguel Veloso.

Ronaldo, Maniche and Ricardo Carvalho also threatened for Portugal in the first half, but struggled to get their efforts on target.

Nani was brought on for Maniche early in the second half as the Portuguese attack slowed, and the visitors created several scoring chances before Makukula was able to break the deadlock.

Makukula was a late addition to the squad, flying in from Portugal to replace injured Benfica striker Nuno Gomes.

Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari watched the game from the stands, as he is serving a UEFA ban for scuffling with a Serbia player after a qualifier in Lisbon on Sept. 12.

Portugal next plays Armenia on Nov. 17, and then hosts Finland in the final qualifier for both teams.

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Lineups:

Kazakhstan: David Loriya, Murat Suyumagambetov, Aleksandr Kuchma, Samat Smakov, Farhatbek Irysmetov, Sergei Skorykh, Sergey Larin (Dmitri Lyapkin, 37), Nurbol Zhumaskaliyev, Andrei Karpovich (Kairat Nurdauletov, 89) Dimitriy Byakov, Sergei Ostapenko.

Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel Monteiro, Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira, Bruno Alves, Maniche (Nani, 59), Deco, Miguel Velosa, Ricardo Quaresma (Joao Moutinho), Hugo Almeida (Ariza Makukula), Cristiano Ronaldo.




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
Web-site: www.kazakhembus.com  


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