No 9, September 26, 2007
•Kazakh President to participate in 62nd session of UN General Assembly and pay official visit to Brazil •Kazakhstan’s purpose is to enhance OSCE as a bridge between East & West: Kazakh Secretary of State •New Human Rights Commissioner appointed in Kazakhstan •Two keys in Kazakh hands, (article from RIA Novosti)
•Kazakhstan: Building a Competitive Economy and Defeating the Resource Curse, University report •Kazakhstan wants to be the first CIS country to implement administrative reform •American Express and JSC "Kazkommertsbank" launch the first American Express cards issued in Kazakhstan
•Kazakhstan: make benefit funky cities, (article from The Telegraph) •Westerberg seals victory in Kazakhstan
Kazakh President to participate in 62nd session of UN General Assembly and pay official visit to Brazil
A delegation from Kazakhstan headed by President Nursultan Nazarbayev took part in the annual general debate held on 25 September during the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly.
President Nazarbayev also held meetings with UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, as well as leaders from various countries and US officials.
After the General Assembly session President Nazarbayev will visit Brazil on September 26-30. He is to meet President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Chairman of the Senate, Renan Calheiros, and Chairman of the House of Representatives, Arlindo Chinaglia.
The parties are expected to sign important agreements during the visit, including on trade and economic cooperation, agriculture a declaration on principles of relations, and a protocol on political consultations between foreign ministries etc.
Kazakhstan’s purpose is to enhance OSCE as a bridge between East & West: Kazakh Secretary of State
Kazakh Secretary of State Kanat Saudabayev, delivered a keynote speech at the session of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on 20 September.
Secretary Saudabayev presented Kazakhstan’s vision of the OSCE’s role in the region as well as his country’s plans on achieving chairmanship of the organization in 2009.
New Human Rights Commissioner appointed in Kazakhstan
Askar Shakirov has been appointed Human Rights Commissioner of Kazakhstan taking over from Bolat Baikadamov who had earlier left his post.
Two keys in Kazakh hands
By Dmitry Kosyrev, RIA Novosti, 20 September, 2007
It is too early to predict which issue will have priority at the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly.
If everything goes according to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's plan, the session will focus on global climate change. But if everything goes against the declared wishes of everyone, it will concentrate on Iran, or, to be more exact, on the threats of war against Tehran, which have begun to sound more serious in the last few weeks.
Surprisingly, Kazakhstan can play an important if not a key role in both debates. It is a country with an impressive record of efforts for a clean environment for the sake of development. It is also Iran's neighbour and a nation playing a special new role in the search for modern systems of regional security.
As for the climate, the New York session will discuss possible replacements for the Kyoto Protocol, which has become the world's first albeit flawed attempt to regulate permissible carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. The protocol, which expires in 2012, received its first blow at the recent APEC summit in Sydney.
The talks will continue in New York. It is necessary to persuade the key countries to take care of the climate in a new way, different from the Kyoto Protocol. There should be more goodwill and more support to the countries which would like to but cannot afford to shut down their production, nor have the funds to make it more environmentally friendly. At any rate, it is impermissible to let the majority of the world's almost 200 nations believe that the drive against climate change is a conspiracy of the industrialized countries which want to restrict the former's growth.
In this discussion, Kazakhstan has a major role to play as a country representing a big and important region - Central Asia. Last November, Kazakhstan became the first Central Asian country to be elected to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which has 54 members. Starting this year, Kazakhstan will represent Central Asia in it.
Moreover, last May Alma-Ata played host to the 63rd session of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), which unites more than 50 states. To sum up, Kazakhstan is becoming an active participant in the discussion which has long been of interest to its leaders, such as transfer to environmentally clean and energy-saving technologies and deforestation. This is what Kazakhstan is doing in its own economy with renewed zeal. It is trying to prevent the slow death of the Aral Sea and decontaminating the Semipalatinsk testing grounds. In brief, Kazakhstan knows what it is talking about.
There is no doubt that Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev will raise this subject at the General Assembly. It is harder to predict whether he will comment on the EU and U.S. threats of sanctions or even war against Iran, or the danger of Tehran going nuclear, in which case Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel will follow suit - countries next to Kazakhstan's south-western borders.
It is clear that the world community has landed in a deadlock on the Iranian problem. The decisive votes belong to two groups - the United States and the European Union (EU) on the one hand, and Russia and China on the other. The problem is that these two groups cannot agree with each other and are destroying each other's efforts - the road of negotiations suggested by Moscow and Beijing is being blocked by the U.S. and EU threats.
Can Kazakhstan with its special geopolitical position do something fundamentally new in this respect? It would be appropriate to quote Nazarbayev at this point: "We realize how difficult it is to build a durable edifice of regional security at the junction of three tectonic platforms of modern geopolitics. A neighbourhood with two major countries, Russia and China, and the powerful cultural gravitation of the Muslim world is making it impossible to form a security system at a narrow regional level."
Kazakhstan is known for its ability to develop friendly and predictable relations with all states that play a major role in world affairs and present practical interest for the republic. The country can talk both with the United States and Iran without causing suspicion of these uneasy negotiators. It is also an important participant in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the initiator of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA).
Finally, since 2002 Nazarbayev has suggested setting up in Alma-Ata a regional UN center to avert conflicts and conduct preventive diplomacy in Central Asia. For the time being, Kazakhstan has reached agreement with the UN that the proposed center should concentrate on helping other countries in the region to prevent potential conflicts and other complications which may negatively affect the situation in Central Asia. This can be quite useful today.
Will this experience of Kazakhstan and its own special approach help overcome the Iranian impasse? It is difficult to see any other countries that would have Kazakhstan's advantages for pursuing a new diplomacy.
If Nazarbayev simply outlines the role of his country in the search for new solutions to the said problems (the climate and Iran), Kazakhstan will show once again that the time has come for the new countries to have their say in creating a more sensible world order.
Kazakhstan: Building a Competitive Economy and Defeating the Resource Curse, University report
H. Stephen Gardner, Professor of Economics, Director of McBride Center for International Business at Baylor University presented his report on Kazakhstan on 21 September at the international economic forum in Astana.
“During recent years, the economy of Kazakhstan has developed at an impressive rate, and national leaders have set ambitious goals for the nation’s continuing development. This work began in earnest in 1997, when Kazakhstan began to recover from a long transformational contraction and President Nazarbayev launched the “Kazakhstan 2030” program, calling for a social-market model of economic development, blending he best aspects of Anglo-Saxon individualism and Asiatic collectivism. In 2006, after six consecutive years of rapid economic growth, the President again raised the stakes, calling on Kazakhstan to join the ranks of the world’s 50 most competitive countries within a decade.
What is the current position of the Kazakh economy? How does it benefit from petroleum production, and what special challenges are generated by this sector? What must be done to improve the competitive position of Kazakhstan in the world economy, and what should be done to prevent a natural resource “curse”? These are the issues addressed in this paper”.
Kazakhstan wants to be the first CIS country to implement administrative reform
Kazakhstan must become the first CIS country to introduce a result-oriented budgeting and successfully implement its administrative reform, Prime Minister Karim Massimov said at the international economic forum entitled “Kazakhstan’s Model of Economic Development: New Challengers and New Prospects” on 21 September in Astana.
According to Massimov, administrative reform will be implemented in six directions: civil service reform, state planning, result-oriented budgeting, raising quality of state service, improvement of the state sector in the national economy and its efficient management as well as monitoring and performance assessment of state agencies.
Result-oriented budgeting will be introduced next year as a pilot project in the ministries of Economy and Budget Planning, Finance and Justice, Massimov explained.
American Express and JSC "Kazkommertsbank" launch the first American Express cards issued in Kazakhstan
ALMATY, September 18, 2007 -- JSC "Kazkommertsbank" today announced the launch of the American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express in Kazakhstan. The new cards, available in Kazakhstani tenge or US dollar denominations, have been designed to meet the needs of a wide range of local consumers who seek a card product that can support their financial and lifestyle needs.
Kazkommertsbank is the exclusive issuer of American Express Cards in the market and is also responsible for signing new merchants in Kazakhstan to accept American Express Cards.
Yermek Shamuratov, Managing Director of JSC "Kazkommertsbank" commenting on the launch of the first American Express cards in Kazakhstan said: "Stability, guarantees, quality are our day-to-day values, and we are pleased to partner with American Express to create card products that provide financial flexibility as well as features never before seen in this market."
"We are extremely proud to partner with Kazkommertsbank to offer these innovative card products in the Kazakhstan market," said Debra Davies, Vice President and General Manager, American Express. "The financial and lifestyle needs of consumers in this market have been evolving rapidly in recent years, and these American Express Cards are deigned to meet the needs of Kazakhstan consumers when they are shopping at home or travelling abroad."
Kazakhstan: make benefit funky cities
By Adrian Bridge, The Telegraph, 22 September, 2007
New direct flights and a stylish guide book are set to heighten interest in Kazakhstan, reports Adrian Bridge.
When it comes to hedonistic hotspots, the central Asian cities of Astana and Almaty do not readily come to mind.
Both received a bad press at the hands of Sacha Baron Cohen in his 2006 film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. The locals were depicted as bigots, rapists and anti-Semites, while Astana was seen as a backward-looking place boasting a "Funworld" where wives could be left in cages for the day.
Despite Cohen's grotesque caricatures, travel companies did report some new interest in the former Soviet republic following the film. And now both Astana and Almaty - Kazakhstan's current and past capitals - are to be featured as hip destinations in a new guide. From the end of next month, curious visitors will be able to fly from Heathrow to Almaty directly with Bmi.
"Things are changing very quickly in Kazakhstan: there are now a lot of very good five-star hotels and funky clubs," said Lucy Kelaart, co-author of A Hedonist's Guide to Almaty and Astana. "In Almaty there are some wonderful old buildings; in Astana there are interesting new ones. In some of the clubs you feel you could almost be in New York or London. My favourite club in Astana is called Chocolate." Astana is enjoying a building boom on the back of revenue from the country's extensive oil and gas reserves. The city is a sea of cranes, skyscrapers and prestigious developments by architects such as Sir Norman Foster.
Tremayne Karew Pol, the founder of the "Hedonist's Guide" series, admitted the two Kazakh cities were not obvious choices. "Astana may be something of a construction site, but it is a very interesting place," he said. "In addition to more mainstream destinations for hedonists, we like to cover places that are a bit quirky." DA Hedonist's Guide to Almaty and Astana (£13.99) will be published in November (see www.hg2.com.
Westerberg seals victory on Kazakhstan links
Leif Westerberg of Sweden completed the “greatest day of my career” to win the richest European Challenge Tour event in history at the Kazakhstan Open and, as a result, secure his place on The 2008 European Tour.
Westerberg stood firm during a final round filled with drama and intensity to make a vital par four at Almaty’s Nurtau Golf Club’s testing 18th hole to post a level par 72 for a nine under winning total of 279 and a one stroke victory over playing partner Ross McGowan of England.
By picking up a cheque for €52,800, Westerberg made a huge leap at the business end of the Challenge Tour Rankings, moving to third place with season’s earnings of €96,138 to guarantee his place among the top 20 players who will be handed a European Tour card at the season ending Apulia San Domenico Grand Final in four weeks time.
Playing alongside McGowan and Scotland’s Eric Ramsay, who would finish the week in a tie for third place alongside Welshman Jamie Donaldson, Westerberg held his nerve under the most intense scrutiny.
One behind McGowan at the start of the final round, the 33 year old Swede took the lead by turning in one under 35 to McGowan’s 37.
McGowan then suffered a horrible double bogey on the par five 13th as Westerberg birdied to establish a four shot lead, but there was more drama to unfold as Westerberg dropped a shot on the 14th and McGowan continued to fight back with a birdie on the 16t to cut the Swede’s lead to two strokes.
Both players negotiated the treacherous par five 17th nervously, with Westerberg pulling his second shot into the trees on the left, and McGowan finding the greenside bunker with his third shot.
Westerberg had no option but to hack out of the trees, and his failure to get up and down, coupled with McGowan’s brilliant recovery as he chipped in for par, meant that the lead was cut to one coming down the 18th.
Both players hit fine drives under pressure, with Westerberg standing firm to knock his approach onto the green, some 20 feet short of the flag. McGowan drew a great second shot pin high, 12 feet left of the cup, but after Westerberg tapped in for par the Englishman could not hole his birdie chance, leaving the Swede to celebrate a momentous victory.
“This is the greatest achievement of my career, without a doubt,” said Westerberg. “When my ball went into the bushes on 17 I was having all sorts of disastrous thoughts in my mind.
“I was very nervous coming through it all, but it was the same on the 18th and I managed to hold it together there and play a really solid approach, which was good enough to win.
“I am just so happy to have this tournament. With the prize money on offer here, the Kazakhstan Open is the tournament that I think every Challenge Tour player wants to win most, so I am delighted to have come through.
“It means so much to me to have secured my European Tour card for next year. Now I have the chance to go on from here and maybe even win the Rankings if I can keep playing well. That’s the new goal.”
News Bulletin of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Contact person: Askar Tazhiev
Tel.: 202-232-5488 ext 106; Fax: 202-232-5845