2005 January 26. Nazarbayev receives HBS Professor Michael Porter
President Nursultan Nazarbayev received Harvard University professor, director of institute for strategy and competitiveness Michael Porter who arrived to consult project “Kazakhstan competitiveness and cluster development prospects ” designed for nearest 20 years. According to some reports, Porter was paid $25 million in consulting fees.
2005 March 17. Dafna Linzer's 2005 article in the Washington Post that reviews the efforts by the Ford Administration to provide nuclear energy technology from GE and Westinghouse to Iran, in the 1970, providing an interesting perspective on current U.S. efforts to deal with undemocratic allies in the region.
Dafna Linzer, "Past Arguments Don't Square With Current Iran Policy,", Washington Post Staff Writer, Sunday, March 27, 2005; Page A15
2005 May 25. Nazarbayev meets with US Energy Secretary Bodman in Azerbaijan.
US Energy Secretary Bodman Hails Opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline. US National Energy Policy Listed BTC Pipeline as Important for Global Energy Security BAKU, AZERBAIJAN — US Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman today represented the United States at ceremonies here to open the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Pipeline, a $2.9 billion East-West transport corridor that will increase the amount of oil exported from the region, and will provide a new oil delivery route — from Azerbaijan, through Georgia, to Turkey and onward, for delivery to world markets. . . . Opening the BTC pipeline is listed as one of the recommendations in President Bush's National Energy Policy. Current oil exports from the region are limited by too few commercial export routes, or hindered by maritime risks in the crowded Bosporus Straits. An operational BTC pipeline eases both situations considerably, allowing oil exports from the region to grow substantially. While in Baku, Secretary Bodman will also hold bilateral energy discussions with Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan; Mikhail Saakashvili, President of Georgia; Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan; and with Turkish Energy Minister, Hizmi Guler.
See also: David Sanger, "There's Democracy, and There's an Oil Pipeline," New York Times.
2005 June 1. Batyrkhan Darimbet killed in "traffic accident."
Reporters Without Borders called today for an investigation of a road accident that eventually killed pro-opposition journalist Batyrkhan Darimbet, editor of the opposition weekly Azat, noting that others had died in similar circumstances in recent years. Darimbet died on 7 June, six days after receiving serious head injuries in a crash near the city, on the road to Almaty. . . A car crashed into his jeep late at night on 1 June near the village of Lugovoye and the jeep overturned. Darimbet, the only person hurt, was taken to hospital in Taraz. A similar accident occurred on the same road on 16 November 2002, killing another opposition journalist, Nuri Muftakh. Five opposition journalists have been killed in road accidents in Kazakhstan since 2002. Askhat Sharipzhanov, of the online newspaper Navigator (www.navi.kz), died in hospital in Almaty on 20 July last year, five days after being injured when a car crashed into him as he left his offices.
Batyrkhan Darimbet: Editor in chief of the weekly "Azat" and member of the opposition Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan's political council, died June 2, 2005. Darimbet officially died in a traffic accident. However, Darimbet's relatives, colleagues, and fellow opposition members consider his death a contract killing. A year prior to his death he had spoken of political pressure being applied to members of the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan after it was registered to run in the country's parliamentary elections in October 2005.
2005 June 14. In Kazakhstan, Soros criticizes regime.
Marat Yermukanov, "Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister Rejects Western Accusations of Democratic Backsliding," EURASIA DAILY MONITOR, Volume 2, Issue 120 (June 21, 2005).
George Soros, the financier promoting "open societies," provoked a heated debate by saying that Kazakhstan was facing the harsh choice of either pursuing its authoritarian course or taking the road toward genuine democracy. According to Soros, rampant corruption, restrictions on civil liberties, and the draconian laws on non-governmental organizations and extremism currently being debated in parliament signal Kazakhstan's retreat to "Uzbek-style" authoritarian methods of securing public order. He said it would be more judicious for Kazakhstan, in order to avoid the Uzbek path to bloodshed, to evenly distribute public wealth among the population, including profits from the oil business (Delovaya nedelya, June 17). The criticism from Soros came as a surprise, as the business conference was expected to focus on global investment opportunities in Kazakhstan. But due to a combination of adverse circumstances, it coincided with the parliamentary debate over the draft law that makes it mandatory for non-profit and international organizations to notify the authorities about planned public events, conferences, and rallies 10 days in advance. Additionally, the draft law insists that representatives of local governments and law-enforcement authorities must be present at events held by non-profit organizations. Just before the international business conference opened, legislator Tokhtar Nurakhmetov called on Foreign Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev to address the problem of non-profit organizations "funded by the U.S. Embassy and OSCE" interfering in Kazakhstan's internal affairs (Yegemen Qazaqstan, June 16). It is obvious to everyone what political factions stand behind Nurakhmetov, whose name had hardly been mentioned before in parliamentary debates. Tokayev, earlier urged by the president to actively protect the "economic interests" of Kazakhstan, picked up the right cue this time and harshly retorted to Soros that Kazakhstan would have to be concerned with its security more than any other country, and the country has never been familiar with the Western model of democracy, which would take a long time to develop in the current geopolitical climate surrounding Kazakhstan. . . .
Pro-presidential forces have long viewed the Soros Foundation and other international organizations operating in Kazakhstan as alien, hostile elements bent on destabilizing the country and assisting the opposition to topple the existing regime. However, Tokayev's direct and somewhat undiplomatic verbal clash with Soros is the first open manifestation of this intolerance. Although the target of the foreign minister's bold demarche at an international conference was George Soros, the words were obviously meant to demonstrate to the West Kazakhstan's independent stance on issues of democracy and civic society.
2005 June 14. Nazarbayev says Kazakhstan not ready for Western style democracy.
Ian MacWilliam, "Kazakhs 'not ready for democracy'", BBC News. Almaty. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has warned of the destabilising effects of importing Western-style democracy too rapidly to central Asia. Speaking at the opening of a summit on foreign investment in Almaty, he said democracy should be learned over time. His remarks follow a wave of popular uprisings in the region, including neighbouring Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Regional leaders have accused the US or unnamed foreign powers of encouraging the protest movements.
2005 June 15-17. Asia Society and Eurasia Media Form hold International Business Conference in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
http://www.asiasociety.org/resources/kazakhstan/ Former Clinton officials (and current foriegn policy advisor) Richard C. Holbrooke is a keynote speaker. Conference is co-hosted or sponsored by ABN AMRO Bank, FedEx Express, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, Coudert Brothers LLP, Deloitte & Touche, LLP, Exxon Mobil Corporation, KPMG, Mittal Steel Company Ltd., Shell International Exploration and Production and others.
2005 August 25. Giffen claims CIA, WH and DOS condoned his actions.
Mobil, CIA Secrets May Come Out in Bribery Trial of Oil Adviser
David Glovin, Bloomberg
Giffen denies wrongdoing. His lawyers, Steven Cohen and William Schwartz, say in court papers that Giffen's actions were condoned by the Central Intelligence Agency, White House and State Department to curry favor with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, 65 . . . "I have never had another case where I had as many witnesses, or really any witnesses, express the kind of fear about meeting with us that we had in this case," Neiman said in court on June 3, 2004 . . Baer . . says the State Department turned to Giffen when it wanted to stop Nazarbayev from selling surface-to-air missiles and other arms to North Korea and Iran. . . Prosecutors deny Giffen played a special role. Ex-Ambassador Jones, who has left the government and is now a principal at consulting firm AEJones in Arlington, Virginia, says claims that Giffen thwarted a Kazakh missile deal are untrue. CIA spokeswoman Michelle Ness declined to comment, citing pending litigation. White House spokeswoman Erin Healy referred questions to prosecutors.
2005 September 6. Nazarbayev Meets former President Clinton in Almaty
President Nursultan Nazarbayev met former U.S. President Bill Clinton in Almaty September 6 and discussed aid for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, fighting HIV/AIDS, and political and economic developments in Kazakhstan.
At the end of the meetings in Almaty, President Clinton and Kazakhstan’s Minister of Healthcare Yerbolat Dossayev signed an agreement admitting Kazakhstan into the Clinton Foundation’s HIV/AIDS Initiative Procurement Consortium. . .
At the news conference, the former U.S. President praised Kazakhstan’s denuclearization saying he was "especially grateful to Nursultan Nazarbayev for nuclear disarmament." He believes this was "a difficult decision" which helped pave the way for denuclearization of other countries of the former Soviet Union and is still important today. "given the new wave of terrorism and our understanding that terrorists have fewer chances to get nuclear weapons." "Only now do we understand how wise that [denuclearization] decision was," he said. . .
This was the eighth meeting between Nazarbayev and Clinton in as many years. Their first meeting in 1994 produced the bilateral Democratic Partnership Charter and a strong commitment to nuclear disarmament and wide ranging economic cooperation between the countries.
Speaking at a news conference, Clinton said he was "very pleased to witness economic progress in Kazakhstan." He added, "I am glad that as U.S. President I helped economic reforms in your country, and today we see the results of those reforms." . .
Clinton commended President Nazarbayev’s commitment to "opening up the social and political life of your country." Referring to the Kazakh leader’s statement earlier this month on his commitment to ensure "free, fair and transparent" presidential election, Clinton said, "It’s important that you made these statements before the election at the end of this year and I believe it will be quite influential in what I hope will be a successful bid to be the leader of the OSCE in 2009. I think it’s time for that to happen, it’s an important step, and I’m glad you’re willing to undertake it."
Kazakhstan is seeking the rotating chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2009. The decision will need to be made by the 55-member organization, which includes the U.S., by December 2006. At the news conference, Clinton noted: "My wife visited your country when I was President and told me a lot about the visit." The then First Lady Hillary Clinton visited Kazakhstan in 1996. While in Almaty, Clinton also met representatives of the Kazakh opposition.
Bill Clinton Meets President Nazarbayev During a Private Visit to Kazakhstan
ASTANA, Kazakhstan, September 7 /PRNewswire/ — Yesterday, September 6th, former President Bill Clinton came to Kazakhstan on a private visit. He met Kazakh President Nazarbayev who promised a donation (of 500,000 USD) to the Hurricane Katrina relief fund. Former President Bill Clinton visited President N. Nazarbayev yesterday in Almaty.
Former President Clinton declared he believes Kazakhstan is ready to chair OSCE in 2009. The Republic of Kazakhstan is running for the presidency of OSCE in 2009. Former President Clinton said he is "glad to testify for economic progress in Kazakhstan". "I want to note that your statement on political and social reforms in your country is of special importance. It is very important that this statement was made at the threshold of elections".
2005 September 7. Clinton meets with Kazakhstan opposition leader
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton met with Tuyakbai in Almaty on 7 September, Interfax-Kazakhstan reported. Citing the press service of For a Just Kazakhstan, the news agency reported that Clinton emphasized that all candidates in Kazakhstan's upcoming presidential election should have equal access to the media. The press service noted that the hour-long meeting focused on "issues relating to democratic development and human rights in our country." President Nazarbaev weighed in on Clinton's meeting with the opposition, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported. "They [opposition leaders] probably asked for support, they probably asked for money," Nazarbaev said. "I have said that elections will take place and they will be transparent and that they will receive the recognition of the international community, and it is going to happen. However, Kazakhstan will not allow any interference in its internal affairs by any foreign country, any embassy or nongovernmental organization."
Joe Conason,"The Dawning of a Different Sort of Post-Presidency," Esquire Magazine, December 1, 2005. "The motorcade brought Clinton back to the airport. Idling there was another private jet, owned by Frank Giustra, the former chairman of Lions Gate Entertainment. It waited to transport Clinton and his entourage, including Giustra, to Central Asia and then on to China. . . . Late in the evening on September 6, the Clinton party landed in Almaty, the mountainous former capital of Kazakhstan, and from the airport proceeded directly to a meeting with President Nursultan Nazarbayev, much as if this were an official diplomatic visit. At a joint nighttime press conference, Clinton praised Nazarbayev for dismantling the nuclear arsenal he inherited from the Soviets, who used to test weapons in the remote republic. Then, before sitting down to a midnight banquet, Clinton signed an agreement with the Kazakh health minister that permits the government to buy heavily discounted HIV/AIDS drugs through the Clinton foundation's procurement consortium. Sometime around 2:30 A.M., he met with the Kazakh opposition leaders to hear their complaints about the authoritarian Nazarbayev. Within an hour he was in the air again, heading to Lucknow, India."
2005 September 27. CPJ protests halt of newspaper printing
The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a press release on 27 September to call attention to the private printing company Vremya-Print's decision to stop printing a number of independent Kazakh newspapers. In an open letter published on Navigator (http://www.navi.kz) on 27 September, the editors of five newspapers — "Svoboda slova," "Epokha," "Apta-kz," "Pravda Kazakhstana," and "Zhuma-Taims" — linked Vremya-Print's unilateral termination of its contracts with the newspapers with the upcoming 4 December presidential election. The editors in chief of the publications announced on 28 September that they have begun a hunger strike, Navigator reported. Bakhytzhan Mukushev, the editor in chief of "Epokha," said that talks are under way with two other printing houses, but stressed that the editors will continue their protest until their newspapers resume publication. At a press conference on 28 September, Zharmakhan Tuyakbai, the presidential nominee of the opposition bloc For a Just Kazakhstan, described Vremya-Print's decision as the result of "powerful pressure from the authorities." He added, "These are all links in a chain — a desire by the authorities to 'shut us up' by any means possible."
2005 September 29. Profile of UrAsia Energy investments with Kazatomprom and another Kazakhstani entity.
Uranium's New Kid on the Block Will Be the Biggest
By David J. DesLauriers
29 Sep 2005 at 11:49 AM EDT
TORONTO (ResourceInvestor.com) — The Endeavour people now have a uranium vehicle, and as usual they have gone big. The presently halted Signature Resources [TSXv:SRZ] is the putative subject of an RTO and a name change to UrAsia Energy.
The team will include Ian Telfer as non-executive Chairman, and the board of directors will consist of Phillip Shirvington, Frank Giustra, Bob Cross, Douglas Holtby, Dr. Massimo Carello and one other to be determined. The officers will be Phillip Shirvington, president and chief executive officer, and Gordon Keep, chief financial officer and secretary. Half of this list are former Yorkton, Endeavour people who are part of almost all of the large mining deals in Canada and in Europe.
This project is designed to be the blue chip vehicle for institutions to participate in the uranium bull market predicted by an increasing number. . .
1. UrAsia has the option to acquire a 30% indirect interest in the Kharassan uranium project located in south-central Kazakhstan in consideration for $75-million of which $37.5-million is payable in cash and $37.5-million is payable by the issuance of ordinary shares of UrAsia at the financing price. The other 70% interest in the project is held by Kazatomprom and another Kazakhstani entity.
2. UrAsia has also entered into a memorandum of understanding pursuant to which it can acquire an indirect 70% interest in the Betpak Dala joint venture, which has interests (described below) in two uranium projects in Kazakhstan in consideration for $350-million, payable as to $234-million in cash and the balance by the issuance of ordinary shares of UrAsia at the lower of the financing price.
3. UrAsia also intends to submit an offer to a public tender by the Kyrgyzstani government for the purchase of a 72% interest in the Kara Balti uranium mill, located in Kyrgyzstan.
It would appear that if this is consummated, UrAsia would have a market capitalization larger than all of the Canadian listed uranium plays save Cameco [TSX:CCO]. I believe that honour currently goes to International Uranium [TSX:IUC].
All of the assets will be concentrated in Kazakhstan, and by all appearances uranium reserves will be huge, the partner will be Kazakhstan’s state energy company, and there will likely be uranium production in fairly short order. The company will be run by a group that can raise money, promote, and has excellent relationships with the institutions. If uranium runs, this thing will be at the top of the list.
2005 October 12-13. Condoleezza Rice meets Nazarbayev in Astana.
Official visit of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Kazakhstan
U.S.Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Kazakhstan on October 12-13, 2005 and was received by President Nursultan Nazarbayev in the capital city Astana. During the meeting, the two sides discussed the issues of regional and international concerns such as fighting terrorism, drug trafficking, bilateral relations and also progress of Kazakhstan in democratic reforms. . . Later meeting with the press President N. Nazarbayev said "We have discussed progressive development in bilateral relations in different sectors. A wide range of issues concerning Kazakhstan's regional policy and cooperation at the Caspian Sea was discussed. We noted with satisfaction our cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Peace became so fragile that such evils as terrorism, drug addiction and AIDS can be fought only through joint efforts". Ms. Rice had separate meetings with opposition leaders Zharmakhan Tuyakbai (leader of the "For Fair Kazakhstan" movement and presidential candidate) and Alikhan Baimenov (leader of the "Ak-Jol" party) to discuss the socio-political and economic development of Kazakhstan. . . "This is my forth visit to Kazakhstan, . . ." "In Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev has successfully led his country through early stages of statehood-building. Kazakhstan occupies a leading position in the region, a leading position in international security and economic development. Kazakhstan is an island of stability in the Central Asian region and a key partner of the US in strengthening stability and security," added Ms. Rice. She also spoke of Kazakhstan’s military peacekeeping divisions which are working in Iraq. “It is a solid prove of a high level cooperation in the field of security and fight against terrorism . . . The United States believe that Kazakhstan can become a firm stronghold for development of Central Asian States". In her opinion, "Kazakhstan has an unprecedented opportunity to lead Central Asia to a democratic future and to lift US-Kazakhstan relations to a new level after the Presidential elections."
2005 October 15. Henry Kissinger mets with Nazarbayev in Astana.
On October 15, 2005 former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger visited the capital city Astana. After the meeting with the President, American heavyweight politician said “Kazakhstan is located at the crossroads of great civilizations and today is one of the largest suppliers of hydrocarbons”. Speaking of the Kazakh-US cooperation on security issues, former Secretary noted “I believe that today United States have good understanding with Kazakhstan in security sphere. And the fact that high ranked officials have regularly been visiting Kazakhstan lately shows that US are keen to broaden this cooperation”. It is known that Kazakhstan has done a lot to fight international terrorism. Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev recently signed a decree "On signing the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism". A Special Meeting of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee with International, Regional and Sub-Regional Organizations was held in Almaty on January 26, 2005. Kazakhstan acceded to all twelve United Nations counter terrorism conventions and established a national Antiterrorist Center. Terrorism is also being countered by improvements in Kazakhstan domestic law. The parliament signed the bill providing for measures to counter extremism. Former Secretary Kissinger informed of the forthcoming official visit of the US Minister of Defense to Kazakhstan.
2005 November 2. Kidnapping of Oksanna Kikitna
On 2 November, Yelena Nikitna, a campaign official for [opposition candidate] Tuyakbai, reported her daughter Oksanna missing. Nikitna stated that she had been called and visited on several occasions by police officers, who demanded that she cooperate with authorities and pass on information regarding "campaign activities and planning." (7) Nikitna claims that she has video-taped proof of the police visits (which she presented to the Prosecutor General's Office), and that her daughter disappeared after she refused to accede to police demands. A spokesman for the Prosecutor General has denied both being informed of Oksanna Nikitna's disappearance, and of being in receipt of the video-tapes. (8) At the time of writing no further news of this incident has emerged—Nikitna's daughter apparently is still missing.
Note: (7) Weekday Magazine-Kazakhstan, 2 Nov 05; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty via ISI Emerging Markets Database. (8) Ibid.
2005 November 7. Bill Clinton endorses Kazakhstan chairmanship of OSCE.
"Nazarbayev sets his sights on the OSCE chair," IHT, Nov 7, 2005.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, a strong supporter of the country, says: "I am very impressed and pleased by the enormous economic progress made by Kazakhstan in the last few years and I'm grateful that when I was president we had a chance to support the economic reforms you undertook that today are bearing fruit. It is a significant decision for Kazakhstan to offer its candidacy for the OSCE chairmanship in 2009. I believe that you are ready."
2005 November 14. Murder of Zamanbek Nurkadilov.
Andrew E. Kramer, “Kazakhstan opposition member slain,” The New York Times. A former minister in the government of President Nursultan Nazarbayev who had said he would speak publicly about high-level corruption has been found shot to death, according to the police and an opposition leader. The killing Saturday night comes three weeks before a presidential election in this oil-rich former Soviet state. Zamanbek Nurkadilov, 61, was a member of the leading opposition group, For a Fair Kazakhstan. He was fired from his post as minister of emergency situations in 2004 after saying that Nazarbayev should answer allegations that Kazakh officials had accepted millions of dollars in bribes from an intermediary for American oil companies during contract talks in the 1990s. The leading opposition candidate in the presidential race, Zharmakhan Tuyakbai, said in an interview Sunday that Nurkadilov had recently said he would go public with information about corruption in Nazarbayev’s government. . . Nurkadilov was shot twice in the chest and once in the head, Musin said, adding that the police had recovered a pillow pierced by bullets that may have been used as a silencer.
2005 November 29. “Kazakh Opposition Figure’s Death Ruled Suicide,”
RFE/RL. The official investigation into the shooting death of Kazakh opposition figure and former Emergency Situations Agency head Zamanbek Nurkadilov has concluded that he committed suicide. The investigative team found that Nurkadilov first shot himself twice in the chest before putting the gun to his head and firing a bullet into his brain.
2005 December 4. Nazarbayev wins reelection with 91.15 precent of vote.
2005 December 7. Clinton congratulation of Nazarbayev on his reelection.
Kazakhstan News Bulletin, www.kazakhembus.com, Vol. 5, No. 52, December 7, 2005.
"World Leaders Congratulate Nazarbayev on Reelection." Leaders of many countries congratulated President Nazarbayev on his reelection to another seven year term. Congratulations came from presidents Hu Jintao of China, Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia, Jacques Chirac of France, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Viktor Yuschenko of Ukraine, King Juan Carlos I of Spain and others. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton sent a letter to President Nazarbayev where he wrote, “Recognizing that your work has received an excellent grade is one of the most important rewards in life. At the start of your new term as president, I would like to express confidence that you will continue to live up to expectations of your people.”
2000 December 8. Forum 18 report on state hostility to Protestant Christian and Hare Krishna religious minorities, and non-state controlled Muslims.
KAZAKHSTAN: Religious freedom survey, December 2005, By Igor Rotar, Forum 18 News Service <http://www.forum18.org>
In its survey analysis of religious freedom in Kazakhstan, Forum 18 News Service notes that the de facto religious freedom situation continues unchanged. Religious communities – notably Protestant Christian and Hare Krishna religious minorities, as well as non-state controlled Muslims – continued to experience state hostility and attacks on their freedom to carry out peaceful religious activity. The passage in 2005 of new "extremism" and "national security" laws significantly worsened the de jure religious freedom situation.
2005 December 23. New York Times article on nepotism and nationalism in Kazakhstan
Andrew E. Kramer, "Amid Growing Wealth, Nepotism and Nationalism in Kazakhstan," New York Times, December 23, 2005. Kazakhstan's blend of nepotism, nationalism and oil wealth follows in the tradition of many countries in their early years of petroleum wealth. . . The true reach of the family's business interests are unclear, however, because ownership is often not transparent in Kazakhstan. ''You'll rarely find the family on a share certificate,'' said Mr. Stirewalt, the former bank adviser. . . Mr. Nazarbayev's victory appears to secure the position of major foreign oil companies, whose concessions were negotiated with the Nazarbayev government. The opposition had suggested renegotiating the contracts.