Thursday, August 31, 2006
KAZAKHSTAN: PRESIDENT NURSULTAN NAZARBAYEV HEADS FOR KENNEBUNKPORT FOR A WEEKEND WITH THE BUSH FAMILY
With Kazakh's Visit, Bush Priorities Clash
Autocrat Leads an Oil-Rich Country
By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 29, 2006; Page A01
...the trip will take place in late September. A spokesman for former president George H.W. Bush confirmed that Nazarbayev will visit Kennebunkport as part of his U.S. stay. "An old friend of his was in the U.S. and he extended an invitation,"
Kazakhstan, a vast nation of 15 million on the Central Asian steppe, has emerged as an increasingly important player in the world energy market. With the largest crude oil reserves in the Caspian Sea region, Kazakhstan pumps 1.2 million barrels a day and exports 1 million of that. The Kazakh government hopes to boost production to 3.5 million barrels a day by 2015, rivaling Iran. U.S. and Russian companies and governments have competed for access to its oil.
U.S. prosecutors have charged businessman James H. Giffen with steering $78 million in bribes to Nazarbayev and one of his former prime ministers in the 1990s in exchange for influence in oil transactions.
Giffen's attorneys have argued that he is not guilty because his actions were sanctioned by the U.S. government. Giffen says he disclosed his activities to agencies including the CIA and was encouraged to continue for national security reasons. The Justice Department is appealing a court decision allowing the defense. The case is scheduled to go to trial Jan. 16
Posted by Jesus Reyes at 12:01 AM