Books on Kazakstan
Update No: 314 - (22/02/07)
The death of Niyazov in Turkmenistan has definitely put all
the dictatorial leaders of Central Asia in a quandary.
There is nothing more troubling for a dictatorship than the matter of
succession. Dictators do not like to anoint an obvious successor, who could
expedite their own political, and perhaps mortal, demise. But to be without one
casts a question mark over any regime. This is where democracy scores heavily
over dictatorship every time. The decision can be taken in due course by the
people, not the dictator.
POLITICAL RESHUFFLE INVOLVES PRESIDENT'S SON-IN-LAW
In a move that has taken everyone by surprise, President Nursultan Nazarbayev on
February 9th abruptly removed his son-in-law, Rakhat Aliyev, as deputy foreign
minister and dispatched him to Vienna to serve as Kazakstani ambassador to
Austria. The move occurred days after Aliyev became embroiled in a controversy
over the disappearance of two former bank executives.
The presidential press service provided no reason for Aliyev's sudden departure
for Vienna. Aliyev, 44, put a positive spin on the move, saying he would act as
a diplomatic troubleshooter to advance Kazakstan's effort to chair the OSCE.
"The president is sending me as ambassador to Austria and the OSCE to solve
this task," Aliyev told the Kazakstan Today news agency. It will be
Aliyev's second diplomatic tour in Austria. He first served as a diplomat in
Vienna from 2002-2005. That appointment followed a political scandal in which
several officials accused Aliyev of plotting to unseat Nazarbayev as president.
Aliyev's departure comes amid an ongoing investigation into suspected financial
impropriety at one of Kazakstan's leading banks, Nurbank. The affair has plunged
the country's financial sector into controversy. Aliyev is perhaps the bank's
highest-profile shareholder, and in connection with the financial probe, he
adamantly denied allegations of unsavoury business practices.
The accusations surfaced in early February, when the wives of two former senior
Nurbank managers claimed their husbands had disappeared. The former chairman of
the board, Abilmazhen Gilimov, and his deputy, Zholdas Timraliyev -- who both
resigned from the bank in January -- had gone missing within the previous five
days, their wives announced on February 5th, according to reports published by a
variety of foreign and domestic news outlets, including The Associated Press.
Gilimov had not returned after reporting for questioning to the financial police
earlier that day, while Timraliyev had been missing since leaving for a Nurbank
meeting on January 31st. It has since emerged that Gilimov is being questioned
by law-enforcement agencies over financial wrongdoings at the bank, while
Timraliyev is wanted by police.
Timraliyev's wife, Armangul Kapasheva, alleges that prior to his disappearance,
Timraliyev was kidnapped and subjected to violence and intimidation in an
attempt to force him to ensure that management of a lucrative business centre in
Almaty, Kazakstan's financial capital, passed to the president's son-in-law.
Aliyev denies the charges. In an open letter to President Nursultan Nazarbayev,
Kapasheva claims that Gilimov and her husband left their homes on January 18th
thinking they were to accompany Aliyev on a business trip. Instead, she said,
they were taken to a sauna complex and held against their will for 24 hours.
Kapasheva alleged that her husband had been beaten up and threatened with death
unless he ceded to the demands.
Aliyev categorically denied the allegations. "The only thing in all these
versions, theories and rumours which is true is that I am indeed a Nurbank
shareholder. That is no secret to anyone," he said in remarks quoted by the
Kazakstan Today news agency. "Everything else, including information about
a supposedly missing former bank employee, is open slander resembling a
carefully-planned act of provocation." Aliyev could not be reached for
Gilimov and Timraliyev resigned from the bank on January 19th. Nurbank issued a
press release announcing Gilimov's departure, giving no indication that the
split was acrimonious. Gilimov was moving jobs and being replaced by his deputy,
Gulmira Dzhumadillayeva, Nurbank said, thanking him for his contribution:
"Under his management Nurbank entered and firmly consolidated itself in the
top 10 banks in Kazakstan."
On January 31st, Kapasheva reported her husband missing after he failed to
return from a meeting with Dzhumadillayeva and Aliyev. The facts about what
happened next -- which subsequently led to the arrests of several senior police
officers -- are disputed.
Kapasheva says she encountered difficulties in reporting her husband missing,
but in the evening a police rapid-reaction squad arrived at the bank, where her
husband was thought to have gone earlier in the day. Bank security denied the
officers access. In a press release on February 5th, Nurbank described the
incident as an "attack on the bank's head office in Almaty."
Allegations have been levelled that the officers were seeking to remove
valuables and documents from the former managers' offices.
When the rapid-reaction squad arrived at the bank, the financial police were
already conducting a search following allegations of financial impropriety. They
say the rapid-reaction squad tried to hinder the process.
"There has been an attempt by interested parties to cover up illegal
actions by rapid-reaction squad officers, [who were at the bank] apparently in
response to a statement received from Kapasheva," Almaty financial police
chief Vladimir Kurbatov told a news conference on February 5th.
Following the raid on Nurbank the head of Almaty's rapid-reaction squad and the
city's deputy police chief were arrested, and several dozen officers submitted
resignations. Financial police are investigating a case involving abuse of
office, though no charges have yet been brought.
"We do have many questions for the former management of Nurbank,"
Kurbatov told the press conference. "More than 10 people are currently
declining to appear before the investigation." He believes Timraliyev is on
the run, and says the police have evidence that he called his wife to say so.
Kapasheva does not deny that Timraliyev has been in touch, but believes it was
at someone's instigation. "He has called," she told EurasiaNet.
"I know it was his voice, but he was calling under pressure."
The police case centres on a suspicious payment of 809 million tenge -- some
US$6.5 million -- said to have been made on January 26th by Gilimov and
Timraliyev. Kapasheva dismisses allegations of wrongdoing by her husband,
questioning how he could have moved funds from the bank a week after he had
resigned. "He wasn't working there then… His signature was not
valid," she said.
Kurbatov insists that the financial police are keeping an open mind. "We
have tried to show maximum objectivity and listen to all sides… [but]
preliminary investigations are not going in favour of the former
management," he said.
As the investigation continues, the case is becoming increasingly politicised.
MP Dariga Nazarbayeva, Aliyev's wife and the president's eldest daughter, says
it is an economic matter. "These are more fabrications; this is an attempt
now to take a normal criminal case onto a political level," Nazarbayeva
told Kazakstan Today.
Other members of Aliyev and Nazarbayeva's family are involved with Nurbank.
Their 22-year-old son, Nurali Aliyev, was voted onto Nurbank's board on 15th
January, and Aliyev's father, Mukhtar Aliyev, holds a 6.73 per cent share in the
At a critical time
The Nurbank case has cast an unwelcome spotlight on the country's banking
sector. Any damage to the sector's image is unwelcome at a time when
Kazkommertsbank and Halyk Bank recently floated on the London Stock Exchange and
are under investor scrutiny. Other Kazakstani banks are preparing to float
shares on the LSE.
Just a week before the controversy erupted, Kazakstan's banks held a publicity
drive in London aimed at boosting their reputations and promoting themselves as
responsible operators. The controversy casts a shadow on Kazakstan's investment
climate as a whole, raising questions about the manner in which business
disputes are settled. Observers will be closely watching the outcome of this
case to see if a fair and transparent solution can be found.
KAZAKSTAN DEEPENS TIES WITH GERMANY
Nazarbayev has moved to deepen the level of Kazakstan's cooperation with
Germany, a country for which he has a profound respect. With a bit of Kazak
advice and help, Hitler could have beaten the USSR.
On January 30th, during a visit to Germany, Nazarbayev explored ways to increase
existing bilateral political, trade, economic, cultural, and humanitarian
cooperation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Reportedly, both leaders share
common positions on international and regional security and European energy
stability -- a topic on Merkel's mind since the recent problems with Belarus
exposed the limitations of European reliance on Russian energy -- as well as the
need for reform of the United Nations, which envisages Germany gaining a
permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
Nazarbayev's interest in Germany relates to its current presidency of the EU and
current chairing of the G-8. He hopes to present Kazakstan as a reliable
long-term economic partner, while gaining crucial German support for Kazakstan's
effort to become chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe in 2009. Astana also harbors ambitions to join the World Trade
Organization. "The Kazak-German partnership is based on solid foundations
of economic cooperation, active political dialogue, and close positions on the
main issues of global and regional politics. Kazakstan supports Germany's
efforts to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council,"
Nazarbayev confirmed. In fact, Germany is now a high priority in Kazakstan's
formulation of foreign policy, seeing Berlin as intimately connected with its
ambitious strategy to secure enhanced access to Western trade organizations and
"For the purpose of modernizing its economy, Kazakstan is very interested
in cooperation with companies from Germany, which is a world leader in the field
of new technologies and engineering. In particular, we hope for successful
implementation of joint projects with a German company, ThyssenKrupp, on the
construction of a metallurgical plant producing silicon metal," Nazarbayev
stressed. The first signs of joint economic ventures to encourage Nazarbayev,
but he clearly wants to build on this in order to attain yet more economic
rewards in the future.
Merkel is a willing participant in this relationship, as she believes that
Germany needs to foster its ties with Kazakstan, with a keen interest in its
energy infrastructure. "Of course, Kazakstan is not a poor country in terms
of mineral resources. It is rich in resources. This is a good basis for us to
help Kazakstan to develop its technologies, and this may concern not only the
oil sector and oil exports, but we also mean the oil processing sector,"
Arguably, ties between Astana and Berlin will also have security implications,
as the bilateral relationship strengthens Kazakstan's reliability as a security
partner to NATO. Nazarbayev promised that German companies would be made welcome
in Kazakstan, receiving priority and, as Germany's economic interests grow,
Astana, in turn, may be more willing to open up to the influence of its Western
On February 1st Kazak Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin and German Foreign Minister
Frank-Walter Steinmeier signed an important agreement in Berlin on the transfer
of military equipment and personnel through Kazakstan's territory. According to
a Foreign Ministry press release, "At the end of the talks, an agreement
was signed between the governments of Kazakstan and Germany on the transit of
military equipment and personnel through the country's territory in connection
with the participation of German armed forces in Afghanistan stabilization and
This is a significant development in regional security dynamics, since the
"friendship bridge" at Termez in Uzbekistan has been a key mechanism
for the German military, facilitating the transit of humanitarian aid into
Afghanistan. Termez was unique and well publicized in Tashkent, giving Karimov's
regime continued favourable publicity in the aftermath of Western criticism of
the 2005 Andijan massacre. Tashkent has also staked a great deal of political
trust in Berlin's support for achieving rapprochement between the West and
Uzbekistan. The German-Kazak transit agreement raises the profile of a powerful
Astana-Berlin axis, which could potentially lessen Berlin's effectiveness as a
campaigner for Uzbekistan's rehabilitation.
Germany is now ready to cooperate in various areas in order to develop stronger
ties between the EU and Central Asia. Berlin and Astana intend to discuss in
detail the new German strategy and the new format of dialogue in March. The
first in a series of high-level meetings will be held in Astana on March 28th,
involving the foreign ministers of Central Asian states and three EU countries,
Kazak TV First Channel, reported on January 31st.
Kazakstan's relations with Germany are intensifying markedly and are likely to
continue exploiting the weakness of energy markets in Europe and Berlin's
declared political interest in seeking alternative energy sources. This provides
another platform enabling Kazakstan to cooperate closely with Western
militaries. Its deepening relationship with Germany is likely to see benefits in
the security sector that go beyond the military transit agreement, allowing more
access by Kazak military personnel to German military educational
establishments. Nazarbayev is once again revealing his ambition to make
Kazakstan the politically and economically dominant state in Central Asia.
Kazakstan takes first step towards oil transport system
Kazakstan has made a first step towards its primary goal - diversification of
the crude supplies to Europe. The Central Asian state has signed an agreement
for construction of a Kazakstan transport system that would deliver the Caspian
crude to the world markets bypassing Russia.
Two weeks ago, two events attracted special attention. The first was an
unexpected statement from the head of KazMunaiGas, Uzakbai Karabalin,
criticising the foreign partners in the development of Kashagan - the largest
Caspian oil field - and saying the national company would start its own
investigation with the participation of internationally recognised experts. The
second event was the signing, in the evening of the same day, of an agreement to
build a new transport system from the Caspian Sea to deliver the oil from
Kashagan and from the other major field, Tengiz, to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan
pipeline - the first oil pipeline to Europe bypassing Russia.
Karabalin's statement was made in the morning, and the new transport system
agreement was signed in the evening of the same day. The two events were
seemingly unrelated. However, in his morning statement, Karabalin criticised the
international consortium Agip KCO, the developer of Kashagan, and the joint
venture TCO, the developer of Tengiz, while in the evening of the same day he
signed the new project agreement with the exact same companies.
The question arises: "Where is the logic here?" If there is
dissatisfaction with the partners in the first project, is it reasonable to
start a new and equally grand and expensive project with them?
There is logic here though. According to information provided by Reuters on
January 25 this year, the head of the Italian company ENI (this company leads
the Agip KCO consortium), Paolo Skaroni, advised that the reserves of Kashagan
have proved a lot greater than it was suggested before. It means that Kashagan,
which is believed to be the biggest discovery in the last 30 years, is even
richer than forecasted, that is seven to 13 billion barrels.
It is also possible that the signing of the Caspian transport system agreement
was prompted by Europe's desire to secure for itself an alternative route for
the Kazakh oil from Kashagan and Tengiz. Following the oil and gas disputes of
Russia with the Ukraine and Belarus, Europe is seeking to diversify energy
routes. No doubt, politics is often the driver of oil projects.
There was another fact that raised new questions. The press-release provided by
the press-service of KazMunaiGas clearly stated: "Engineering, construction
and commissioning of the Kazakstan Caspian Transportation System are scheduled
for the first production on Kashagan in 2010 - 2011."
It is interesting that the above-mentioned dissatisfaction of KazMunaiGas
concerned the delays with the first production from Kashagan. It was first
expected in 2005, but in 2004 Agip KCO got the Kazak government's approval to
postpone production to 2007-2008. Last summer the time was further moved to late
2009 - early 2010. Does it mean that the official press-release has now
indicated a new date for the first production? No clarifying response could be
received from the national oil company's representatives attending the signing
of the agreement. Without explaining the reasons, they repeated the mysterious
phrase "First production in 2010 - 2011". So it appears the project is
going to be delayed for one more year.
Future of Karazhanbasmunai oil field determined
The future of another Kazakstan oil field, Karazhanbasmunai, has finally been
determined. Sold to Canadian company Nations Energy at a time when Kazakstan
hawked its energy jewels for much-needed cash, the field has now changed owners.
The Chinese CITIC Group and the Kazakh national company KazMunaiGas own it on a
This solution is seen as the most beneficial compromise in the sale of
Karazhanbasmunai, a deal which has recently attracted close attention.
Karazhanbasmunai is located in the Mangistau region, and although it is not a
young field (discovered in 1974), it is still oil-bearing. Its reserves are 340
Early last year, Nations Energy decided to sell its shares. Three foreign
companies then were interested in Karazhanbasmunai: Chinese CITIC, Indian ONGC,
and Russian LUKoil. The Chinese won the tender by offering the best price -
US$1.9 billion. The deal was reported in the media, and the news was apparently
a surprise for the Kazak minister of energy. The deal was closed without the
heads of the country's knowledge. "The ministry of energy and, first of all
myself, should take urgent measures to stop further consideration of this
agreement," the energy minister said at the time.
And the government decided to act. According to Kazakstan law, the state has a
priority right to purchase oil fields in the country once a decision to sell
them has been made. And the government exercised this right.
There has been a precedent. A year before the Karazhanbasmunai affair, the stock
of PetroKazakstan, a Canadian company, was sold in a similar manner.
PetroKazakstan owned the Shymkent refinery and some oil fields in the south of
Kazakstan. The Canadian company, which had certain difficulties with the Kazak
law, decided before leaving Kazakstan to sell its shares at the London Stock
Exchange without, however, informing the Kazakstan government. To avoid having
the country's riches sold without its knowledge, the ministry of energy
initiated an amendment to the law that was quickly passed by the Kazakh
parliament. Now it was clear that thanks to that amendment the former Soviet
republic was able to get back 50 percent of the refinery shares and 30 percent
of the shares of Kukmol fields.
Now again, in the sale of Karazhanbasmunai, the government's priority right has
allowed Kazakstan to regain, albeit half of, a once sold oil bearing field.
In order to get the Kazak government's approval of the transaction, CITIC
decided to sell 50 percent of Karazhanbasmunai stocks to KazMunaiGas for half
the price - US$955 million. KazMunaiGas can pay for the stocks during the year.
There is a trend of the return of once-sold mineral resources to state hands.
Kazakstan now has money to buy them out. Although it was the sale price of
Karazhanbasmunai that caused lots of discussion. Many specialists believed that
US$1.9 billion was too high a price. Kazak Minister of Energy Baktykozha
Izmukhambetov said: "This is a fair price, a market price. If (they) are
prepared to pay such a price, why not?"
In response to the question where they were going to find the money to pay for
their half of Karazhanbasmunai, KazMunaiGas said: "Our own and borrowed
funds. The financing structure is laid out in the agreement between the Chinese
and Kazakstan companies."
KazMunaiGas will most likely sell its interest in Karazhanbasmunai to its
subsidiary, Exploration, Production KazMunaiGas. Although there has been no
official announcement about that, the subsidiary clearly is in a good position.
It looks like everybody benefits from the sale of Karazhanbasmunai: the seller,
the buyer, and even the budget. Daulet Ergozhin of the ministry of finance
advised that according to Kazakstan tax law, Nations Energy will have to pay to
the budget 20 perent of the proceeds from its very successful sale. It makes at
least US$400 million.
Companies agree to set up Caspian oil export system
Kazak national oil and gas company KazMunaiGaz, participants in the
international consortium Agip KCO and the joint venture Tengizchevroil have
reached an agreement to set up Kazak Caspian Transport System (KCTS) to
transport hydrocarbons to world markets.
The signing ceremony for a memorandum of mutual understanding on the main
principles of cooperation in the project to set up the KCTS took place in Astana,
an Interfax correspondent reports.
"The memorandum is the first step in setting up the KCTS for oil, which
will further diversify hydrocarbon export sources," KazMunaiGaz President
Uzakbai Karabalin said at the ceremony.
In turn, KazMunaiGaz Managing Director Kairgeldy Kabyldin said that the cost of
setting up the KCTS is estimated at US$ three billion.
According to the KazMunaiGaz press service, this transport system "is aimed
at exporting the growing volume of Kazak oil produced primarily at the Kashagan
and Tengiz fields, through the Caspian Sea to international markets through the
East-West energy corridor along the route Eskene-Kuryk-Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan.
The press release explained that oil would be transported through the future
Eskene-Kuryk pipeline on the Kazak Caspian coast to oil terminal from which
tankers will sail to Azerbaijan, after which the oil will be transported through
the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.
"It is planned that the KCTS will initially transport 25 million tonnes of
oil per year to be subsequently increased to 38 million tonnes per year, the
press release said.
According to the press release, designing, building and launching the KCTS is
planned to coincide with the start of production at the Kashagan field in
Astana, Rome vow energy resources diversification
Italy is a major investor to Kazakstan's oil and gas sector. Italian company
Ajip participates in the development of Karachaganak - the largest gas deposit
in the west of Kazakstan. Another Italian company, ENI, leads an international
consortium Agip KCO which is involved in the development of major Caspian oil
field Kashagan. Italy's ambassador to Kazakstan, Bruno Antonio Pasquino, talked
to New Europe correspondent Kulpash Konyrova about diversification efforts and
Italy's plans in the resource-rich state.
What are Italy's plans with regard to diversification?
Diversification of routes is on the agenda of both Europe and Kazakstan. During
my meeting with the new Minister of Foreign Affairs Marat Tazhin, he said, 'Your
goal is our dream', because the bulk of the Kazak oil and gas supplies currently
go through Russia. However, the situation today is such that diversification of
energy supplies is not possible without diversification of politics. No energy
route can be completed without a political decision. A vivid example of that is
the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan project (BTC). It is the first oil pipeline bypassing
Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. But the construction of an oil and gas pipeline on
the bottom of the Caspian Sea which could transport crude from the
above-mentioned Kashagan in 2009 is directly subject to a political decision of
five littoral states. Fifteen years have passed since Kazakstan became
independent, but the issue of division of the Caspian Sea still remains
This is exactly why Italy talks about diversification of energy supplies in
conjunction with the diversification of politics. The former cannot be achieved
without the latter.
The search for alternative types of energy has also appeared on the agenda. I
plan to propose to the Kazakh Minister of Ecology to combine the efforts of the
Italian and Kazakstan companies in extracting energy from industrial waste. A
lot of such waste has accumulated in Kazakstan. Italy has succeeded in the
development of new technologies. I know that the current minister of ecology,
Mr. (Nurlan) Iskakov, has shown himself as a champion of ecology. I plan to
invite him to visit some of our plants to see how our scientists can help in
receiving energy and clean water from waste.
What is the reason for delayed production from Kashagan? What are the
difficulties that ENI is facing?
During the two months that I have worked as an ambassador to Kazakstan I have
visited the oil field twice. The specialists have identified two reasons. The
first reason is geographical. It means that they have to establish with
certainty the location of oil and gas. Kashagan is the world's largest field,
and it has not been determined so far whether it is or it is not offshore. The
water level over the field is very low, only four metres, so it is impossible to
install an offshore platform there. At the same time, the field is not onshore
either. This is why the consortium needs to build big and reliable islands to
accommodate minimum 600 to 700 personnel, as well as buildings and the drilling
equipment. In the local climate conditions, it is only possible to build such
islands when the temperature is above minus 20 C° to avoid icing. In short, it
is an ambitious project.
The second reason is the high concentration of sulfide gas. A 0.9 percent
content of this gas in the atmosphere is a lethal doze. Here it is 20 percent.
This means that maximum safety should be provided for the people who work and
live in the area. A little leak of the gas may kill the entire town of Atyrau.
ENI has a worldwide reputation for the most stringent safety rules. It is better
to be behind schedule but to be sure that all works are done in accordance with
The Kazak media has been talking a lot lately about tightening control over oil
companies. What are your thoughts?
The Italian law is known as the most stringent law in the world. To participate
in a tender, a company in our country must present a conformation from the
ministry of internal affairs that it has no connection with the mafia. This rule
is a norm. Each firm should show who stands behind it. So the Italian government
regards the new requirements of Kazakstan with due respect.
Astana, Berlin seek stronger business ties
Kazakstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev visited Germany on January 30 meeting
with his German counterpart Chancellor Angela Merkel, the country's federal
president and business leaders to discuss growing ties between the two
"We have agreed to improve and broaden cooperation on energy matters,"
Merkel told a press conference in Berlin on January 30 after talks with
Nazarbayev. Merkel offered German expertise to help Kazakstan develop its huge
natural resources, which, besides oil and gas, include steel, copper and zinc.
Today Germany, Europe's biggest economy buys about 33 percent of its oil and 42
percent of its gas from Russia.
Kazakstan is estimated to hold 100 billion barrels of oil and more than 200
trillion cubic feet of gas. Kazakstan's Kashagan oil field, one of the five
biggest in the world, will produce an average of 1.2 million barrels a day
between 2010 and 2041, Uzakbai Karabalin, president of KazMunaiGaz national oil
and gas company, said.
"Kazakstan is a very rich country and German business has great interests
in promoting its economic development. We have a lot of common interests, and we
would like to be the driving force for Kazakstan's relations with the EU,"
Merkel said. She added that 40 percent of Kazakstan's population still live on
farming. "There's a chance for our export businesses," she explained.
Merkel, holder of the European Union's six-month presidency, said the bloc wants
to compete with Russia and China for greater influence in Central Asia. Germany,
which also holds the chair of the Group of Eight industrialized nations, will
"very deliberately" pursue cooperation with Central Asia, the German
Nazarbayev said Kazakstan is "the key market" for German companies in
Central Asia since bilateral trade equals US$5.2 billion a year. Kazakstan has
already invested more than USD one billion in Germany, while German companies
have invested US$2.2 billion in Kazakstan's growing economy.
Kazakstan's links to Germany are historical. During the Soviet days, many ethnic
Germans in Russia found themselves exiled to Kazakstan where they quickly became
a valuable part of the local community. After Kazakstan's independence in 1991,
large numbers of ethnic Germans repatriated themselves back to Germany creating
an even stronger bond.
Several major private deals were signed during the visit including the 100
million Euro agreement between the Kazyna Sustainable Development Fund and
Thyssen Krupp, one of the world's largest steel manufacturers, to build a
metallic flint plant in Kazakstan.
During the visit, Nazarbayev also promoted Kazakstan's bid to chair the
Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) winning the support
of the Chancellor. Kazakstan's efforts to improve public safety, tackle human
rights abuses and promote legal structures should earn the country the OSCE
chairmanship, he said adding "we're doing a lot and have a claim to the
OSCE chair." Merkel expressed support for Kazakstan's bid, saying Germany
"can live" with the country in the OSCE chair "provided it
carries on with reforms."