No 3, August 15, 2007
•OSCE: Election campaign in Kazakhstan takes place in calm environment •Western observers: Kazakhstan democratic reforms are a positive step, but the real test will be the Majilis elections •President Aliyev: Azerbaijan’s borders remain open for resources transportation to Europe •President Nazarbayev: Kazakhstan is committed to furthering ties with Jordan
•Toshiba sells Westinghouse stake to Kazatomprom •Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan sign documents on oil and gas cooperation •Kazakhstan's economy grows 10.2% in H1 •The ADB issues 6bn Kazakhstan Tenge bonds •Kazakh tax amnesty nets twelfth of GDP
•Marriott Executive Apartments to open in Atyrau, Kazakhstan •U.S. women stops Kazakhstan, now 4-2 in world grand prix
OSCE: Election campaign in Kazakhstan takes place in calm environment
The Election Observation Mission (EOM) of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has issued an interim report on the election campaign to the Majilis (lower house of Kazakhstan’s Parliament).
“To date, save for isolated exceptions, political party campaigns have taken place in a generally calm environment,” according to its Thursday report posted on the OSCE website.
The election campaign seems relatively low-key, the report says. “All parties are engaged in door-to-door campaigning and are displaying campaign material at officially designated stands. In general Nur Otan’s campaign material is most in evidence, although ANSDP and Ak Zhol materials are also visible,” reads the document.
At the same time, the large majority of parties have complained to the EOM about the high costs of campaign material production, the high cost of advertising in the media and unavailability of official stands to display material.
In addition to the official Nur Otan election campaign rallies, other social/cultural events are taking place which have a political aspect. ”The President has paid visits to some towns and cities during which he urged citizens to vote for Nur Otan,” it states.
According to the report, ANSDP also informed the EOM of interference in holding campaign events in a few cases, for example in Aktobe, where nine activists were detained for three hours by the police for wearing campaign T-shirts and for displaying handmade placards. The police have launched an investigation regarding the theft of a large amount of ASNDP campaign material by unknown persons in Semey.
Preliminary results indicate that the electronic media has not covered the election campaign extensively. While media outlets have generally presented the views of all political parties, the news broadcasts of most of the TV channels monitored by the EOM are thus far dominated by positive coverage of Nur Otan, it states.
The mission’s report praises the CEC activities in preparations for the elections. “The CEC has been very active in making preparations for the elections and has elaborated numerous rules and regulations, conducted trainings for lower level commissions and launched a voter information campaign. (…) The EOM enjoys good cooperation with the CEC and holds regular meetings with the commission. In general, members of the CEC regional divisions appear to be knowledgeable about the process.”
At the same time, most parties met by the OSCE/ODIHR EOM “stressed that a major concern was transparency and integrity during the vote count and aggregation of polling results.”
On 20 June 2007, the President called early elections to the Majilis of the Parliament due on 18 August. The election follows the adoption of significant amendments to the Constitution and the Election Law in May and June 2007.
Under a new election system, 98 of the 107 deputies of the Majilis will be elected via proportional representation in a single nationwide constituency. Voters will vote for political parties, and those which surpass the seven per cent threshold will subsequently choose which candidates receive mandates. The remaining nine deputies will not be elected in a popular vote but will be chosen by the Assembly of People, an unelected body, on 20 August.
Western observers: Kazakhstan democratic reforms are a positive step, but the real test will be the Majilis elections
Statement by Robert Barry, Sarah Carey, Charles Melancon, Frederick Starr, Douglas Townsend, Daniel Witt
All of us have served as international observers to previous elections in the Republic of Kazakhstan. For many years we have analyzed and commented on Kazakhstan’s economic and democratic reforms. The recent constitutional reforms (22 May 2007) provide compelling evidence that Kazakhstan is committed to expanding the elective principle, decentralizing decision making, and continuing to improve the practice of open and competitive elections.
The recent changes, evolving through a long process of national consultation and reflection conducted under the auspices of the representative democratization committee, initiate a shift of power from the office of the president to the parliament. This historic and unprecedented shift from a presidential to a presidential-parliamentary form of rule represents a critical step towards expanding the public’s voice in governance in this important Central Asian Republic.
At the very least, we share the view expressed by the U.S. State Department that these changes are, “a step in the right direction.” Taken together, all of the changes promise to create a more effective system of checks and balances and a reasonable division of power between the various branches of government.
The fourth Majilis elections on 18 August will be a critical test as Kazakhstan travels down the democratic road. It is our hope that the positive, democratic trends of the previous two elections will continue. The May Constitutional amendments and recent legislative changes enacted many of the recommendations for more open and competitive elections advanced by the OSCE, and with which we concurred at the time. These strengthened the role of political parties, introduced more transparent candidate nominating/removal process, increased media access, and rendered the Central Election Commission (CEC) more independent and effective. All of these measures should provide the framework and rules for freer and fairer elections.
The contests for the 107 Majilis seats appear to be at least as competitive as earlier Majilis elections. A total of almost 400 candidates from seven major political parties are actively campaigning. The four major parties have strong funding and are engaging in lively campaigns that are receiving wide mass media coverage. All of this suggests a positive maturing of democracy in Kazakhstan.
As in the past, we would defer to the OSCE Election Observation Mission which has had 55 experts and long term observers on the ground throughout the country since July 19. They have had the opportunity to observe the pre-election campaign and will have an additional 400 short-term observers in place to observe the voting, counting and tabulation of votes on August 18. They are in the best position to make a finding as to whether international standards agreed to by all OSCE participating states have been met. Their interim report, publicly available at www.osce.org/odihr reflects a balanced account of events over the past month. There have been a number of complaints by opposition figures which warrant attention.
Of course, the real test will be the actual conduct of the election of 18 August. While the formal rules for elections have improved, they lack reality until they have been successfully implemented. In practice, this requires an end to inappropriate interference by officials of the Administration. As observers to previous elections, we are convinced that many past criticisms from opposition parties over bureaucratic interference in elections have been justified. We therefore urge the Administration to take all necessary measures to prevent all forms of meddling in the electoral process by local administrators. Also, in all democratic countries incumbents enjoy natural advantages which the electoral process should not reinforce. Instead, the goal should be to assure that all candidates and parties are able to play on “a level playing field.”
The key issue on Election Day, as usual, will be the transparency of the tabulation of the vote. The CEC has promised to publish results broken down by election district, so that these figures can be compared with protocols issued to observers at the polling stations. Prompt release of these figures by the CEC and investigation of discrepancies would demonstrate important progress over previous elections.
The 18 August election will be a real test of the May democracy reforms in Kazakhstan. We hope that it will prove beyond all doubt that Kazakhstan views democracy not as a mere ornament to a preexisting and unchanged political order but as the essence of how the country works today and how its citizens engage with one another and with their government to express their will. There is no greater assurance of a country’s stability and security than this.
Mr. Barry is a former US Ambassador and served as head of the OSCE Observation Mission for the 2004 Kazakhstan Majilis elections. Ms. Carey is a senior partner and head of the CIS practice of the international law firm Squire, Sanders & Dempsey and serves on the board of a number of organizations, including Chairman of the Eurasia Foundation. Mr. Melancon is a member of the U.S. Congress representing Louisiana’s Third District. Mr. Starr is chairman of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Douglas Townsend is a former Australian Ambassador to Kazakhstan and senior advisor to the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC). Mr. Witt is president of the International Tax and Investment Center. All of the authors were international observers to the 2005 Presidential Election.
President Aliyev: Azerbaijan’s border remains open for resources transportation to Europe
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev visited Astana on 7-8 August 2007, and gave an exclusive interview to the Kazinform Kazakh news agency.
As is known the results of previous visits of the leaders of our two countries have demonstrated dynamic development of bilateral relations in the spheres of energy and transport. What will the current visit to Kazakhstan result in? Are any interstate agreements expected to be singed?
The fact that it is already my second official visit to Kazakhstan within a short period of time testifies to the significance of Kazakh-Azerbaijani relations that may be characterized as stable and safe.
Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan are working together on strategic issues in energy and transport, humanitarian and economic cooperation. We have many plans on transportation of energy resources of the Caspian Sea. As you know a large grain terminal has recently been unveiled in Baku. And work over the commissioning a vegetable storage in Aktau town is currently in progress.
The documents signed between our two states offer great prospects of cooperation. A number of interstate agreements are currently being prepared for signing in Astana. These treaties will promote integration of our republics in the global community.
I would also like to add that Azerbaijan’s border is always open for the transportation of energy resources to Europe.
Azerbaijani economy is showing a record-breaking GDP growth. Kazakhstan’s economy also has some positive trends. What particular projects in bilateral economic cooperation you regard are the most promising?
According to the international financial institutions, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan are the most dynamically developing states in the region. The living standards are rising constantly. The countries successfully implement infrastructural projects.
We have several particular projects: energy resources transportation and Kazakhstan’s joining the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars long-distance railway. Total volume of costs related to the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project is USD 400 million. The construction is expected to start next Autumn. It will be a new and profitable project of cargo transportation from Kazakhstan and China to the European markets.
Besides, we have some ideas on joint activity in banking. Currently the Azerbaijani-Kazakh intergovernmental commission is looking for new projects for the joint activity.
As is known, more than 120 nationalities including the Azerbaijanis live in Kazakhstan. How does Azerbaijan build relations with Azerbaijani communities overseas?
We have completed structuring all overseas communities organizations. The Azerbaijanis’ World Congress has been held two times already. In several years time Azerbaijan has opened more than 50 embassies in various countries.
Mr. Aliyev, how do you estimate the significance of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and its role in the provision of regional security?
Last year I took part in the CICA Summit in Astana. This initiative of the Kazakh President is timely and very important. Azerbaijan fully supports the initiative and is ready to participate in it and make its contribution.
Our countries have stable and good social and political climate. We should join our efforts for the struggle against terrorism. To this end we should actively exchange information. The law enforcement agencies should collaborate at the high level.
President Nazarbayev: Kazakhstan is committed to furthering ties with Jordan
According to the Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan is committed to the development of bilateral relations with Jordan in various areas.
“We are interested in furthering the political dialogue, coordinating our efforts in the global arena. Trade, economic, cultural and human aspects of our cooperation are of significant importance,” Nazarbayev said at the talks with the Jordanian delegation led by King Abdullah II on Thursday in Astana.
“During our tête-à-tête negotiations (with King Abdullah II) we have discussed paramount challenges of the bilateral ties and we have exchanged views on key international and regional issues. Following the review of bilateral economic ties, we have decided to instruct our ministries and agencies to work actively on a series of acute issues on the agenda of our cooperation,” he stressed.
President Nazarbayev is also convinced that the opening of the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Jordan and the Embassy of Jordan in Kazakhstan expected this year will facilitate mutually beneficial activities in various areas.
In turn, the King of Jordan emphasized that the bilateral agreements to be signed during his visit will have wide media coverage. The signing of the documents will send a strong signal that the bilateral ties are being reinforced and the cooperation in private sector is being galvanized, he added.
Toshiba sells Westinghouse stake to Kazatomprom
By Olzhas Auyezov, Reuters, 13 August 2007
Japan's Toshiba Corp. (6502.T: Quote, Profile, Research) sold a 10 percent stake in U.S. nuclear power plant builder Westinghouse to Kazakh uranium producer Kazatomprom for $540 million on Monday.
The deal underscores the Central Asian state's growing clout. Japan generates 25 percent of its electricity from nuclear power and has been courting Kazakhstan as a uranium supplier.
"Through this deal Kazatomprom plans to enter new markets for its products," the companies said in a joint statement. "Toshiba aims to enhance its global nuclear power business."
The shares are expected to be transferred to state-owned Kazatomprom in about a month, the companies said, but the deal is also subject to approval by U.S. and Japanese regulators.
Greenpeace and other environmental groups have written to the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) asking them to reject the Kazatomprom bid.
The letter said the sale would undermine efforts to limit nuclear proliferation "and will give sensitive nuclear technology to a brutal, repressive and undemocratic regime, which may lack long-term legitimacy and stability".
The United States is the biggest single foreign investor in Kazakhstan, notably in the oil sector through Chevron's interest in the massive Tengiz oilfield, and enjoys warm relations with President Nursultan Nazarbayev, in power since 1989.
Asked at the signing ceremony about the environmentalists' letter to CFIUS, Kazatomprom President Mukhtar Dzhakhishev dismissed the challenge.
"I can only advise these people to watch Disney cartoons instead of movies like Borat," he told reporters.
Toshiba, Japan's second-largest maker of industrial electronics, bought a 77 percent stake in Westinghouse, the U.S. power plant unit of British Nuclear Fuels, for $4.16 billion late last year.
The stake was much larger than initially planned after Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp (8002.T: Quote, Profile, Research) decided not to invest in the project. Toshiba has since been looking for new investors to share the financial burden.
Dzakhishev said Kazatomprom was financing the deal from its own funds.
The company holds about 10 percent of the global uranium market and plans to grow to 40 percent by 2016-2017. It has joint ventures with foreign firms and plans to open new mines as part of a plan to triple annual uranium production to 17,500 tonnes by 2015.
Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan sign documents on oil and gas cooperation
Kazakhstan’s national oil and gas company KazMunaiGaz and Azerbaijan’s state-owned national oil company signed on Wednesday an agreement on strategic cooperation in the oil and gas sectors and a memorandum on the joint implementation of a trans-Caspian project.
The agreement is on the transportation of Kazakhstan’s oil and petrochemical products and the joint use of Azerbaijani company’s oil and gas infrastructure.
The memorandum outlines details of the agreement that the Kazakh and Azerbaijani presidents, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Ilham Aliyev, signed in June 2006.
The document is on the assistance to transportation of Kazakhstan’s oil via the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan and further to international markets through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.
Under the memorandum, the sides are to implement the trans-Caspian project that is a part of the future Kazakhstan-Caspian transportation system with an initial throughput of 500,000 barrels of oil per day (23 million tons per year). Its capacity is to be increased to 750,000 barrels per day (35 million tons per year) in the future.
After the signing of the documents president of KazMunaiGas, Uzakbai Karabalin, told a news briefing that 20 million tons of Kazakhstan’s oil transported through the trans-Caspian system to Azerbaijan would be reloaded to sea tankers.
If transportation volumes increase, a possibility of building an oil pipeline in the Caspian Sea’s bottom will be considered, he said.
Kazakhstan's economy grows 10.2% in H1
Real GDP in Kazakhstan grew an estimated 10.2% on a year-to-year basis in the first half of 2007, said Berdybek Saparbayev, deputy minister of economy and budget planning.
Saparbayev said that primary commodity export sectors generated an estimated 13% of that growth, sectors that focus on the domestic market account for 33%, infrastructure sectors for 12%, trade for 13% and other service sectors for 29%.
The share of primary commodity export sectors in GDP structure is on the decrease, while the share of trade and infrastructure is growing.
The ADB issues 6bn Kazakhstan Tenge bonds
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has priced its debut Kazakhstan Tenge bond in the international capital markets. The issue has a principal amount of 6 billion Kazakhstan Tenge (about US$49 million equivalent).
Proceeds of the bond issue will be used to fund ADB's private sector banking activities in Kazakhstan. ADB expects to increase its local currency lending in Kazakhstan in the future and issuance of bonds will be its key funding approach. Such local currency bond issues are expected to fund ADB's non-sovereign lending operations in the country for both infrastructure and finance sectors.
"This bond issue will assist in developing a long-term yield curve in Kazakhstan by providing a pricing reference for international triple-A rated issuers in Kazakhstan Tenge" says ADB Treasurer Mikio Kashiwagi. "It accentuates ADB's confidence in the Kazakhstan economy and we are very grateful for the support of the Kazakhstan authorities in making this transaction possible."
The 6 billion Kazakhstan Tenge issue has a maturity of 5 years, and an amortizing principal repayment structure. Priced at 100%, ADB's Kazakhstan Tenge bonds have a coupon of 6.80% per annum. The issue is settled in US dollars at the reference rate as at the time of pricing. Future payments of coupon and principal will be paid in US dollars at the reference rate set two business days prior to the respective payment date.
This settlement arrangement facilitates the process for international investors to invest in Kazakhstan Tenge denominated bonds. JPMorgan was the sole lead manager and bookrunner, and the issue was distributed to institutional investors looking for high-quality exposure to the Kazakh Tenge market. It is anticipated that subsequent issues will attract local investor interest.
ADB's Kazakhstan Tenge bond issue represents many firsts in the Kazakhstan Tenge market: first issue by a supranational institution, first issue rated triple-A by Fitch Ratings, Moody's and Standard & Poors, and first Kazakhstan Tenge issue in the international capital markets, listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.
Stephen Wermert, Country Director of the ADB Kazakhstan Resident Mission adds that "ADB is particularly pleased to have been provided with the opportunity to become the first supranational issuer of Kazakhstan Tenge bonds. This will assist us in our strategy to provide long-term financing without currency risk to projects in the country."
John Lee-Tin, Vice President, Debt Capital Markets Origination, JPMorgan, expressed his delight at the launch. "This debut issuance by the Asian Development Bank represents a great step forward in the KZT market. This bond reinforces the supranational's reputation for developing capital markets, particularly within its own constituency. With this issuance, the ADB has provided the market a high-quality reference point which will only help to attract more investor attention to this currency and bond market. JPMorgan is thrilled to be associated with this transaction."
Kazakh tax amnesty nets twelfth of GDP
A tax amnesty ended in Kazakhstan on 1 August 2007. Kazakh citizens have legalized property and money worth $6.7 billion (828 billion Kazakh tenge) in the program which had begun on 3 July, 2006 and had been expected to end on 1 April, 2007, however, the Parliament extended it until 1 August. Ten per cent of the country's population took part in the program and the money legalized equals to a third of Kazakhstan's annual state budget, or 8.7 percent of its 2006 GDP. The amnesty on capital in Kazakhstan in 2001 led to a capital inflow worth $500 million.
According to the Kazakh Justice Ministry, 1.5 million applications have been received for amnesty on real estate, of which more than 1.4 million have been approved, including those on 1.3 million apartments. Real estate worth 222.8 billion tenge has been involved. Cash worth 536 billion tenge ($4.4 billion) has also been legalized.
The terms of the amnesty were quite liberal as the law on amnesty strictly prohibits the use of information received in the course of the amnesty in any court actions. A ten per cent income tax has been imposed on the legalized real estate, with the exception of real estate in agricultural locales, which has not been charged at all. Notably, 70 per cent of the money collected in the amnesty has come from Almaty, with Astana lagging behind in the second place with less than a tenth of the amount that came from the flourishing former capital. Up to the date, the tax amnesty held in Ireland in 1988 has been considered to be the most successful one with a sum equivalent to 2.5 percent of country's GDP collected as its result.
Marriott Executive Apartments to open in Atyrau, Kazakhstan
ASIA Travel Tips.com, Wednesday, 8 August 2007
Marriott is to launch its deluxe serviced apartment brand, Marriott Executive Apartments (MEA), in Kazakhstan later this year under a management agreement with CP Residential Atyrau LLC, an affiliate of Capital Partners.
The 21-story, 160-unit property will be located on Satpaeva Street in Atyrau and will be one the first internationally branded serviced apartments in the city. It will be the anchor of a 19,000-square meter, mixed-use project that will also feature 230 square meters of office space and 1,450 square meters of retail and food and beverage outlets. The Renaissance Atyrau Hotel, also managed by Marriott International, is located approximately 800 meters from the site.
Atyrau, located at the mouth of the Ural River on the north coast of the Caspian Sea, is now the capital of Kazakhstan’s oil industry. The Atyrau International Airport is located approximately 15 minutes from the city center and is served by a number of regional carriers.
“We continue to be excited by our expanding presence in Kazakhstan and, along with Capital Partners, to be able to play a meaningful role in the rapid economic development of the country,” said Arne Sorenson, chief financial officer of Marriott International and president of European lodging.
Meant for extended-stay travelers, Marriott Executive Apartments offer the comforts of home plus upscale hotel services, including around-the-clock staffing, housekeeping and laundry services. Each one and two-bedroom unit provides a fully equipped kitchen and dedicated work and relaxation areas.
The Marriott Executive Apartments Atyrau will offer breakfast daily in the lobby resident’s lounge. Other amenities will include a fitness center, 24-hour room service, in-unit mini-bar and laundry/valet service.
There currently are 15 Marriott Executive Apartments in key global cities such as Brussels, London, Prague, Dubai, Bangkok, Budapest, Mumbai, Tokyo and Sao Paulo. Additional Marriott Executive Apartments are scheduled to open in Gurgaon (India), Seoul, Cairo, Doha (Qatar) and Sharjah (United Arab Emirates) in the next 24 months.
U.S. women stops Kazakhstan, now 4-2 in world grand prix
By Bill Kauffman, USA Volleyball, 12 August 2007
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 12, 2007) – Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) scored a match-high 23 points with eight blocks to lead the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team to a 25-21, 20-25, 25-21, 26-24 victory over Kazakhstan on the final day of Group E action at the 2007 FIVB World Grand Prix on Sunday at the Platinum Arena in Khabarovsk, Russia.
The U.S., ranked seventh in the current FIVB world rankings, holds a 4-2 record during the FIVB World Grand Prix through the first two of three preliminary weekends. The Americans already hold victories the world's top-ranked Russia and fifth-ranked Cuba, while their only losses are to Russia and defending Olympic champion China.
Team USA concludes World Grand Prix preliminary round action at Macau Aug. 17-19 against China (Aug. 17 at 7 a.m. MT), Cuba (Aug. 18 at 2:30 a.m.) and Netherlands (Aug. 18 at 11 p.m. MT). The U.S. defeated Cuba 25-19, 25-22, 21-25, 25-22 two days ago in Khabarovsk. However, China got the best of Team USA 25-21, 30-28, 25-20 on Aug. 5 in Poland during the opening weekend of the tournament.
The U.S. squandered a 12-7 lead in the opening set as Kazakhstan scored six straight points to take a 13-12 lead, but Team USA found a way to win 25-21 thanks to a 3-0 run to take a 16-14 advantage and three straight Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.) kills to build a 21-17 lead. Like the first set, the U.S. gained an early 9-5 lead in the second set. However, Kazakhstan came back to take a 12-11 lead and never trailed after the score was tied at 13-all. Team USA built a 7-3 advantage in the third set, then withheld Kazakhstan’s challenge that pulled it to within one at 10-9. However, Scott-Arruda five points during a 6-2 scoring run for the U.S. en route to a 25-21 victory. Kazakhstan overcame a 7-4 deficit in the fourth set and established a 22-19 lead of its own, only to see the Team USA come back to win 26-24 as Scott-Arruda and Ogonna Nanamani (Normal, Ill.) picked up three points apiece in a 7-2 run.
“The game was quite thrilling,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach ‘Jenny’ Lang Ping said. “I liked the make-up of the Kazakhstan team, and also their quick attack and defense. I am satisfied with the result.”
“I congratulate the team of Kazakhstan on great progress and an outstanding game,” Scott-Arruda said. “I am happy for our team because we demonstrated a better performance than our strong contenders.”
In addition to her eight blocks, Scott-Arruda turned in 15 kills on 23 attacks (65.22 kill percentage) for Team USA. Haneef-Park netted all 19 of her points on kills and 38 attacks. Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) chipped in 16 points via 15 kills on 36 swings and one block. She added 17 excellent service receptions on 39 attempts, along with nine digs. Despite not playing in the first two sets, Nnamani turned in seven kills on 14 attempts, one block and one ace for nine points. Jennifer Joines (Milpitas, Calif.) provided six kills and a block for seven points in the victory. Katie Wilkins (Lakeside, Calif.) contributed five kills in playing just the first two sets. Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (Honolulu) contributed 37 assists on 112 attempts. Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) provided a team-high 13 digs on 21 attempts, in addition to 11 excellent serve receptions on 21 attempts. Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.) scored just one point in the match, but it gave the U.S. its first match-point opportunity in the fourth set.
Team USA converted 48.23 percent of its attack attempts, while Kazakhstan charted a 39.72 kill efficiency. The U.S. held an 11-8 advantage in blocks, as well as a 68-56 margin in kills. Kazahkstan remained close in the match by capitalizing on 24 American miscues to only 16 of its own. Kazakhstan also held a 3-1 lead in aces.
Lang Ping started Ah Mow-Santos at setter, Scott-Arruda and Joines at middle blocker, Glass and Wilkins at outside hitter, and Haneef-Park at opposite. Davis is the designated libero for the Group E portion of the World Grand Prix schedule. Nnamani started the final two sets. Candace Lee (Eugene, Ore.) was subbed into the back row during the first, second and fourth sets. Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) was entered into the match as a reserve in the second set. Busse entered as a sub in the second and fourth sets.
Yelena Pavlova paced Kazakhstan with 19 kills and a block for 20 points. Olga Karpova chipped in 15 points via 11 kills, three blocks and an ace in the loss. Olga Grushko charted 10 kills and a block for Kazakhstan, while Natalya Rykova added eight kills, a block and ace for 10 points.
Later tonight in Group E action, Russia hosts Cuba in a key battle for a spot in the top half of the 12-team World Grand Prix standings. Over in Tokyo, Netherlands swept Chinese Taipei 25-12, 25-21, 25-19 and Brazil blanked Japan 25-15, 25-19, 25-13 in Group D. Poland defeated Dominican Republic 25-16, 25-17, 25-19 in Group F play at Hong Kong, while China hosts Italy.
The top five teams in addition to Finals Round host China advance for the chance for the Grand Prix title in Ningbo, China. A round-robin format will declare the champion.
The U.S. opened the first set with a 4-1 lead as Haneef-Park powered down two kills and Wilkins added one around a Kazakhstan error. Wilkins added a second kill after a Kazakhstan error to lift the Americans up to a 6-2 advantage. Scott-Arruda and Glass picked up consecutive kills to extend the Team USA lead to five, 9-4. The teams traded points until Kazakhstan scored six straight points to close to take its first lead at 14-13. Scott-Arruda answered with a kill and block to swing the lead back to the U.S. at 15-14, then Glass scored a kill to put Team USA up 16-14 at the technical timeout on a 3-0 scoring run. Haneef-Park scored three consecutive kills to bulge the U.S. lead to four at 21-17. Kazakhstan cut the deficit in half with consecutive points at 21-19. Haneef-Park tallied a kill followed by Scott-Arruda’s block to give the U.S. set point at 24-20. After Kazakhstan saved on set point, Scott-Arruda finished the set at 25-21 on her third block and sixth point of the set.
Team USA gained a 4-1 advantage to begin the second set on kills from Joines and Haneef-Park, along with a Kazakhstan error. Scott-Arruda put up a block and Wilkins downed a kill to extend the American lead to four at 7-3. Kazakhstan tied the set at 10-all on a 5-1 scoring run. Kazakhstan continued the climb and took its first lead at 12-11 as part of an 8-3 spurt. Team USA answered with a Scott-Arruda block after a Kazakhstan error to return to the lead at 13-12. Kazakhstan responded with three consecutive points to assume a 15-13 advantage. Kazakhstan extended its lead to three points at 17-14, and moments later to four points at 20-16. The U.S. closed to within two at 20-18 after a Haneef-Park kill and Kazakhstan error. Kazakhstan closed out the set with three straight points to take a 25-20 victory. The U.S. committed seven errors in the second set alone.
Joines started the third set with a block followed by a Kazakhstan error and Nnamani kill for a 3-0 USA lead. Joines added a kill and Nnamani put up a block to set the U.S. up 5-2. Kazakhstan pulled to within two at 8-6 with consecutive points after the first technical timeout, then continued the surge to within one at 9-8. Nnamani put up a kill followed by two Scott-Arruda’s block for a 14-10 U.S. lead on three unanswered points. Scott-Arruda hammered a kill for Team USA’s fourth straight point for a 16-11 lead at the technical timeout. The teams traded the final 19 points of the set as the U.S. won 25-21.
Haneef-Park and Scott-Arruda scored consecutive kills to give the U.S. a two-point cushion, 4-2, early in the fourth set. Team USA stretched the lead to 7-4 on a Scott-Arruda kill and Nnamani ace. The U.S. lead improved to four points at 10-6 after a Nnamani kill and Kazakhstan error. Kazakhstan tied the set at 10-all on four unanswered points. Glass broke a 13-all tie with a kill and block to give the U.S. a 15-13 lead, only to see Kazakhstan scored two in a row to tie the set back at 15-all. Team USA responded with a Scott-Arruda kill and a point off a Kazakhstan miscue at 17-15. Kazakhstan answered with four consecutive points to take a 19-17 advantage. The U.S. tied the set at 19-all on a Glass kill and Joines block. Kazakhstan scored three unanswered points to obtain a 22-19 lead. Team USA tied the set at 22-all after consecutive Nnamani kills. The U.S. picked up a match point after Scott-Arruda kill and Busse kill at 24-23. After Kazakhstan saved one match point, Scott-Arruda provided the U.S. a kill and block for the match at 26-24.
News Bulletin of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Contact person: Askar Tazhiev
Tel.: 202-232-5488 ext 106; Fax: 202-232-5845