- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 8, 2001

Kazakh opposition figure gets 10-year sentence
ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Former Kazakh Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin was sentenced in absentia on Thursday to 10 years in prison on charges of abuse of authority and taking bribes.
Mr. Kazhegeldin, a vocal critic of President Nursultan Nazarabyev, was convicted by Kazakhstan's Supreme Court of charges of abusing his authority, taking bribes and illegally possessing weapons.
Mr. Kazhegeldin, who heads the Republican People's Party and lives in self-imposed exile abroad, was ordered by the court to compensate the state for losses of around $11.3 million.

Kyrgyz lawmakers nix Uzbekistan accord
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — Lawmakers have refused to ratify a military cooperation accord with Uzbekistan amid concern over the heavy-handed actions of the more powerful former Soviet republic, a Kyrgyz deputy said this week.
"It is unthinkable that the army of a totalitarian regime should help a country that has chosen the path of democracy," said lower house Deputy Tursunbai Bakir-ulu.
The agreement, signed last year by Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev and his Uzbek counterpart, Islam Karimov, calls for concerted military action against international terrorism, according to Russia's Interfax news agency.
Speaking after parliament voted down ratification on Tuesday, Mr. Bakir-ulu referred to Uzbekistan's decision to unilaterally mine its border with Kyrgyzstan last autumn amid fears of Islamic extremist attacks.

Nepal's new king endorses democracy
KATMANDU, Nepal — In his first interview since coming to power, the new monarch, King Gyanendra, said this week he is happy to work within the country's system of multiparty democracy.
The monarch also said it was up to the elected representatives of the people to decide what kind of government the country should have. Opposition leaders had voiced fears that the king, who ascended to the throne in June after his brother, King Birendra, and nine other royals died in a massacre at the royal palace, wanted to see a return to absolute monarchy.
"My own conviction is that all should be given the opportunity for feeling that they are living in a free, democratic society," the king told the weekly Rastrabani.

Weekly notes …
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee is to visit Russia, Australia, Singapore and Japan this year. He also is scheduled this month to visit the United States, where he will meet President Bush and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Mr. Vajpayee is to leave for New York on Sept. 20 to attend the opening session of the U.N. General Assembly. He will meet Mr. Bush on Sept. 24 and Gen. Musharraf the next day on the sidelines of the U.N. session, Indian officials said. … Some 50,000 invitations have been prepared for those wishing to attend Sunday Mass in Astana on Sept. 23 during Pope John Paul's Sept. 22-25 visit to Kazakhstan, a Roman Catholic spokesman announced.

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