July 8, 2008

Senior Kazakh, Uzbek Officials Discuss Gas Supplies, Free Trade Zone Creation

Excerpt from report by state-owned Kazakh news agency Kazinform

Tashkent, 8 July: Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Umirzak Shukeyev and First Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Rustam Azimov are holding a meeting in Tashkent, the Kazinform news agency reports.

Gas supplies to consumers in South Kazakhstan Region, water resources and the creation of a free trade zone are among issues being discussed.

"The Central Asian region, its viability and stability depend on our cooperation in many respects," Shukeyev said in his greetings.

The Kazakh team includes the chairman of the agency for regulating natural monopolies, Nurlan Aldabergenov, the chairman of the Agriculture Ministry's committee for water resources, Anatoliy Ryabtsev, the deputy minister of industry and trade, Zhanar Aytzhanova, the president of the KazMunayGaz joint-stock company, Serik Burkitbayev, the governor of South Kazakhstan Region, Nurgali Ashimov, the Kazakh ambassador to Uzbekistan, Zautbek Turisbekov.

The Uzbek side includes the heads of the Ministry for Foreign Economic Relations, Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, the Uzbekneftegaz [Uzbek oil and gas] national holding company, and the State Customs Committee and so on.

[Passage omitted: trade between the countries was over 1.4bn dollars in 2007]

Originally published by Kazinform, Astana, in Russian 1027 8 Jul 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Central Asia. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.