Monday, 21 April 2014

No questions allowed at Nazarbayev's briefing in Prague

ČTK |
24 October 2012

Prague, Oct 23 (CTK) - Journalists could not ask any questions at the briefing after the meeting between Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and his Czech counterpart President Vaclav Klaus Tuesday.

According to CTK's information this was demanded by the Kazakhs.

Earlier Tuesday, Nazarbayev started his two-day visit to Czech Republic.

The delegation is expected to focus on economic issues, including supplies of gas and petrol to the Czech Republic.

Nazarbayev is heading a strong delegation including four ministers, two governors and 45 businessmen.

Kazakhstan offers contracts worth 250 million dollars to Czech companies. Kazakhstan is the third biggest supplier of petrol to the Czech Republic.

Nazarbayev was welcomed by about 100 young Kazakhs at Prague Castle, the seat of Czech head of state where the meeting was held, waving Kazakh flags.

On the other hand, a group of Kazakh activists sent an open letter to Czech politicians asking them to take into account gross violations of human rights in Kazakhstan during their talks with Nazarbayev.

Klaus said at the press briefing the Czech Republic considered Kazakhstan a "dynamic, growing, stable economy and a stable country" and that it wanted to strengthen bilateral economic relations.

"There are no serious problems between our two countries we would have to resolve," Klaus said.

"In the past years, we were developing in a rather parallel way. We were leaving the socialist economy, implementing the market economy," Nazarbayev said.

"In this respect, Mr Vaclav Klaus was for me personally an outstanding example of how to implement the reforms rapidly, while the people sustained them and did not suffer," he added.

The journalists only watched the two countries' representatives signing two agreements on cooperation in the military and health spheres and heard the speeches delivered by the two heads of state.

A group of Kazakh activists living in the Czech Republic pointed to last year's reprisals in the town of Zhanaozen in which 16 people died and tens of others were injured after clashes with police.

A court then sentenced Vladimir Kozlov, leader of the opposition party Alga! (Forward), to seven and a half years in prison for incitement to the unrest.

Due to this, the USA criticised Kazakhstan for abuse of the judiciary.

"As representatives of Kazakhstan's civic movements, we call on politicians of the Czech Republic not to barter insistence on human rights protection for trade interests and to support us in the struggle for a Kazakhstan in which one can live without fear of reprisals and political persecution," the 15 Kazakh activists and journalists said in letter that CTK has at its disposal.

Nazarbayev has been ruling in Kazakhstan for over 20 years.

Critics say his regime is dictatorial and undemocratic. The January elections were clearly won by Nazarbayev's party Nur otan (Fatherland's Ray of Light).

Foreign observers said the elections were undemocratic.

The nation is dominated by an intertwined system of kinship and clan links through which the revenues from tremendous gas resources are redistributed.

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