All Over the Globe

Astana Discusses Kazakhstani-American Partnership under the Program MNT

Daniel FERRO

ASTANA, Jan 27

(THE GLOBE)

The US official delegation headed by the deputy of the US Minister of Energy Rose Gotmuller is in Astana with the official visit.

The delegation consists of representatives of the Minister of Defense, the US State Department, officers from the US Embassy to Kazakhstan and technical experts from the US national laboratories.

The visit was agreed at the sixth meeting of the joint American-Kazakhstani commission held in December 1999 in Washington under the chairmanship of President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbaev and the US Vice President Albert Gore.

On Thursday, January 27, US delegation spokesmen met the head of the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Trade of Kazakhstan Vladimir Shkolnik.

On the same day at the joint press conference Shkolnik announced the results of the meeting and objectives of the above-mentioned visit. According to Shkolnik, the main objective of the visit was to discuss the American-Kazakhstani partnership under the program on Mutual Narrowing the Threat (MNT).

Shkolnik said that during the MNT meeting they discussed ways of settlement of the problem of exhausted fuel of the nuclear reactor BN-350 in Aktau (western Kazakhstan), working out of the international pilot project on exploitation of this reactor, as well as some other problems connected with the liquidation of consequences of nuclear tests in Kazakhstan and to renew the ecological balance in the region of nuclear tests.

In his own turn, R. Gotmuller said that since 1993 the total aid to Kazakhstan by the USA regarding nuclear disarmament came to about US$ 50 million per year. From the above-mentioned moment, the republic received US$ 500 million, she said.

According to Gotmuller, the total value of closing-down of the nuclear reactor BN-350 will be US$ 85 million. The corresponding works will be executed for a long time.

Replying to journalists’ questions, R. Gotmuller also said that on the whole the incident with the fighters MIG-21 supplied by Kazakhstan to North Korea positively affected the export monitoring of weapons in Kazakhstan. In the result, she added, Kazakhstani-American cooperation on supervising weapons livened up.


Taiwan’s presidential candidate’s peace gesture to China

TAIPEI, Jan 27 (AFP)

Taiwanese presidential hopeful Chen Shui-bian — a supporter of independence for the island — offered an olive branch to China Thursday saying reunification with the mainland was not ruled out.

“I would not unilaterally change the national status or the name of the country. Or I’ll not declare Taiwan independence,” Chen, of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said in an interview with the Insight news program of the Cable News Network (CNN).

“If elected, I would not put the state-to-state relationship theory into the constitution. I will not make such a proposal,” said Chen.

“We would be willing to engage in some kind of peace agreement with China. But we also insist of course any change in the status quo as we say ultimate result is open-ended and that includes the reunification,” Chen said.

“We do not exclude this possibility,” he added.


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