International experience can help Mongolia choose its future path: U.S. Ambassador

"Mongolia will determine the choices it makes about its own future, but international experience, both good and bad, can also be helpful and offer useful and important insights as Mongolia learns from both the successes and failures of others." This was said by U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia Jonathan Addleton at a public forum organized earlier this month by the Educational Advising and Resource Center in Dalanzagad, capital of Mongolia"s South Gobi province.

Ambassador Addleton noted much change since his last visit to the province in 2001. "At that time," he said, "I was country director for USAID [United States Agency for International Development] and we were involved in a number of programs including the Gobi Initiative, the establishment of the XacBank, and the revitalization of the Khan Bank." Today "the mining sector in particular looms large and presents tremendous opportunities as well as enormous challenges".

One of those challenges is environmental protection. "That includes the preservation of not only the rangeland, but also the water beneath it and the blue sky above it," he said. "It is also important to maintain not only the natural environment but also the cultural integrity of the Gobi, maintaining and even strengthening the traditions that help define communities and bring them together."

Another challenge is to ensure that the South Gobi economy is not one dimensional, relying only on mining to the exclusion of everything else. Rather, other elements of the economy – including trade, tourism, cashmere and the production of goods and services – also remain essential.

Good governance is also important to the region"s development. This refers, among other things, to the quality of the various institutions that help manage and shape change. "As international experience suggests," said Ambassador Addleton, "these key institutions need to be fair, open, transparent, and display integrity."
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RiverMovements.org Newsletter - 2010.05.31

Dear All,
I’m very delighted to inform you a brief update on the River Movements’ activities. The United Movement of Mongolian Rivers and Lakes (UMMRL) and the Water Agency are still working on delineating the boundaries which will be prohibited mining operations throughout the country including about 350 soums1 and 21 aimags2. There are several joint teams including representatives from environmental NGOs, local people and government officials; they have currently worked in 16 aimags. This work will end by middle of June. Then a all teams will collect the conclusion will be reached of delineating boundaries and it will clear how many mining licenses will be revoked according to the law.
Concerning another draft law:
The UMMRL has developed another draft law which amend the law on Environmental Protection in article 4.1.2 and in article 32.1.1. According to existing law on Environmental protection in article 49.2 soum and district governors have a right to apply to the court for compensations of expenses from person in breach. According to the draft law, local people and civil organizations have a right to apply to the court for compensation all expenses which have destroyed to the ecological balance and natural resources as well as mental losses of the people.

On May 26, 2010, some Parliament members leaded by Mr. P.Altangerel submitted the draft law to Mr. D.Demberel, Speaker of the Parliament.
Others
Mr. D.Ganbold (executive director) and Mr. J.Tudevdorj (member of Board of Directors) participated in the conference called “Rivers of Siberia” which took place in Vladivostok, Russia. Both Mongolian participants presented on separate topics by “Involvement of NGOs to protect rivers and lakes” and “Mining influence on Transboundary Rivers”.
Finally, I will be participating in the Summer Environmental Program of the Tahoe-Baikal Institute. I’ll be in USA and Russia until August 20. Please feel free to contact the River Movements at rivermovements@gmail.com. Ms. Burmaa will replace me between the 05th of June and the 20th of August.


Sincerely yours,
Chimgee



1 Soum is a second level administrative subdivision of Mongolia
2 Aimag is a largest administrative unit; Mongolia is divided into 21 aimaigs. It sometimes translated to province.



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City officials detail the money Ulaanbaatar needs

Prime Minister S.Batbold told donors and international financial organizations at a meeting organized on Friday by city officials that years ago foreigners used to called Ulaanbaatar Asia’s White Diva. Admitting that would be very much a misnomer today, Batbold called for hard work to make Ulaanbaatar a better city to live in. The first step would be to “identify the image that modern Ulaanbaatar wants to present,” he said.

City officials revealed some data about the Capital City, which is home to 1.114 million Mongolians, or 40.5 percent of the total population. Of this number, 70 percent are under 35. Half of the 210 secondary school buildings do not meet standards. Many schools do not have sports facilities. Not one new kindergarten has been built in the last 20 years. Of the 274 now in use, 65 do not have any open area where children can play, 37 have no water supply. The number of children born every year in Ulaanbaatar is between 27,000 and 30,000 on an average, but only 40 percent of them attend kindergarten, and the rest are cared for by grandparents. Deputy Mayor Ts.Tsogzolmaa said the city needed at least 64 new kindergartens, particularly for children under 3.

USD20-25 million will be needed to set up kitchens to prepare the midday meal for schools pupils, USD 17-20 million for new maternity centers, USD$20-25 million for a diagnostic center, and USD1-2 million for training of nurses and doctors.

The City General Manager Ts.Gankhuu said the population of Ulaanbaatar has been annually increasing by 30 percent for the last 9 years. The city’s infrastructure was built for a maximum of 500,000 residents and is bursting at the seams. The MNT 120 billion received last year from the Development Fund was spent on building new sewage and drainage.

The main road in the city is planned to extend from Gachuurt to the 22 post check, a length of 27 km. USD185.5 million will be needed to build this and the expense for other roads has been estimated as USD458.1 million investment. There would be special roads for cyclists and disable people.
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Chinese PM’s visit will further strengthen ties

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao"s two-day visit to Mongolia beginning tomorrow will help take forward bilateral good-neighborly relations based on mutual trust, Chinese Ambassador to Mongolia Yu Hongyao has told Xinhua news agency. The visit is the first by a Chinese premier in 16 years and also the first by Wen as premier.

It is expected to strengthen the mutual understanding and trust between the two peoples, as well as bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields. Wen will hold talks with his counterpart S. Batbold, and meet President Ts. Elbegdorj and Parliament Speaker D. Demberel to exchange views on bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common concern.

A number of trade and economic cooperation agreements will be signed. Ambassador Yu said that in recent years, thanks to the joint efforts of both countries, ties have developed continuously, with mutual political trust being deepened, trade and economic cooperation widened, and people-to-people and cultural exchanges increased.

The Chinese government attaches importance to developing ties with Mongolia, and highly respects Mongolia"s independence and sovereignty, and firmly supports the development path chosen by the Mongolian people, the ambassador said. China appreciates the fact that Mongolia views its ties with China as one of its diplomatic priorities, strongly supports China on issues concerning its core interests, and abides by the one-China policy on the Taiwan and Tibet issues, he said.

Bilateral trade rose to USD2.438 billion in 2008 from USD243 million in 1998. After experiencing a decline in 2009 due to the global financial crisis, it is on the rise again this year.

Ambassador Yu said both countries have got tangible benefits from bilateral trade. Chinese commodities have enriched the Mongolian market, while Mongolia"s natural resources exported to China have supported China"s economic development.
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Mongolians celebrated Peacekeepers' Day -photo news

Mongolians celebrated Peacekeepers' Day in the central square of Ulaanbaatar yesterday with sports and Cultural events for the occasion.
Mongolian troops have been serving as UN Peacekeepers in Kosova,Sudan, Siere-Leone, Congo, Western Sahara, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Georgia, Chad, Central African Republic since August, 2002.




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MIAT Airline Strike Called Off

Two-day job “boycott” at the MIAT Mongolian Airline, a national flag carrier, ended last Wednesday with dismissal of its chief executive officers as well as those who went on strike.
At least 1,100 passengers were stranded, and many international flights to Beijing, Seoul, Moscow and Berlin were canceled because of the strike called by around 100 ground engineering and technical inspection staffs of MIAT Airline, who refused to ensure safety of aircrafts of scheduled international flights, and all signed in voluntary resignation letter. As preliminary estimation by MIAT, more than MNT385 million losses have been incurred
MIAT’s management described the strike as a “kidnap” attempt by taking their professional advantage. In order to allow aircrafts to take off for flight, ground engineering and technical staff workers make detailed ground inspection according to international standards and sign in a document ensuring safety of each aircraft leaving. All international flights of MIAT were stopped because none of the technical staff workers refused to ensure safety of scheduled Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

“At the technical inspection department, there are more than 120 workers are working, which we believe too many for an airline company that has three aircrafts in its fleet,” said Kh.Battulga, Minister of Road, Transport, Construction and Urban Development. MIAT has a fleet of two Boeings 737, and one Airbus A310 aircrafts.

The government may cut it down to 30-40 workers. The fired engineers and technical inspectors were immediately prohibited (pictured right) to enter restricted areas of the airport. The strikers claimed that latest appointments made by the management to the professional technical inspection team, as well as cabin crew members are not “highly educated”, and old enough to fit international requirements. Recent incidents of safety failures at the MIAT Airlines are largely connected to those appointments, they said.

The government made a decision on Wednesday to dismiss members of the board of directors together with its executive officers. Chairman of the State Property Committee G.Sugar late Wednesday evening called S.Batmunkh, Director General of the Mongolian Civil Aviation Authority, for an urgent meeting to appoint new chief executive officer of MIAT and its members of the new Board of Directors.

In a closed door meeting that lasted for an hour, new nine-member Board of Directors, led by B.Makhbal, an official at the Ministry of Road, Transport, Construction and Urban Development, appointed Tseyen-Oidov Orkhon to work as Chief Executive Officer of the MIAT Airlines. Orkhon, 43, worked as Head of the Marketing Department of the MIAT Airlines since 2009. He graduated from Civil Aviation Academy in Leningrad (former name of today’s St.Petersburg, Russia) in 1990.

Another group of aviation officers at the Mongolian Civil Aviation Authority, who claimed they represented more than 1,000 workers, have joined their voice in the protest demanding a management reform at the authority.

All international flights have resumed normal operation on Thursday after the government invited ground engineers and technical staff workers from South Korea to ensure safety of passengers
source: The Ub Post
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Geopolitics queers the pitch for those wishing to do business in Mongolia

Mongolia sits atop billions of dollars of mineral wealth and its economy is poised to grow rapidly, but foreign investors are finding that geopolitics hangs heavy over business in a nation caught between China and Russia, says a Reuters analysis. Few companies are more aware of the perils of investing in Mongolia than Canadian miner Khan Resources, now battling the might of Russia for the rights to a uranium deposit in the country"s remote northeast.

Khan"s licenses for the Dornod uranium property were cancelled after what it alleged to be a show of muscle by Moscow and Russia"s state-owned ARMZ Uranium, and it has now filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the decision. But Khan itself had been planning to sell out to the state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), raising perennial Mongolian fears about Chinese dominance. However, the Chinese company dropped the planned acquisition last week. "We are right in the middle of a geopolitical war," said Grant Edey, a Khan company director, shortly after filing the lawsuit.

Khan insists it did all it could to comply with a series of changing ownership and registration requirements in Mongolia, but T. Bayarbayasgalan, the head of licensing at the country"s new Nuclear Energy Agency, said it did not do enough. "The company was raising capital in the name of Mongolian uranium resources, and the main reason why the licenses were cancelled was because it had violated many of our laws," he said. In particular, Khan violated an article in the new Nuclear Energy Law which stipulates that a company needs the permission of the Mongolian authorities if it intends to transfer its shares, he said.

Mongolia broke away from the crumbling Soviet system in 1990, and while it is struggling to stay neutral between its two giant neighbors, it may still be amenable to some Russian persuasion. China, on the other hand, relinquished any claim to Mongolia in 1950, but has done little to allay suspicions that its economic dominance could lead to political hegemony.

More than 70 percent of Mongolia"s exports went to its southern neighbour last year. The bulk of Mongolia"s oil is being produced by Chinese firms and most of the big projects now being developed -- including Ivanhoe Mines" USD5 billion copper-gold project at Oyutolgoi -- are also counting on surging Chinese demand. Plans are also under way to develop the Tavantolgoi coking coal mine, the world"s biggest untapped deposit of its kind. Project financiers are eyeing development of railroads to link the country"s major energy resource centers to energy-hungry markets in the north and south.

But it is always more than mere economics in Mongolia, economists and analysts say. "A country like Paraguay would die to have a market like China on its border, but there is this concern about the imbalance of populations and power," said Peter Morrow, chief executive of Khan Bank, one of the country"s biggest lenders.

Alan Wachman, an expert in Mongolian politics at Tufts University in the USA, says China has done nothing to Mongolia to warrant this level of anxiety. "But when I press Mongolians about this, they say there are plenty of people in China who say that Mongolia is fundamentally Chinese and that this suggests an intention that has to be taken seriously," he said. "They ask what are we to do given our size and power if the Chinese begin to act on it? It puts this whole thing in the realm of emotions rather than any kind of rational analysis."

More than 70 percent of Mongolia"s exports went to its southern neighbour last year. The bulk of Mongolia"s oil is being produced by Chinese firms and most of the big projects now being developed -- including Ivanhoe Mines" USD5 billion copper-gold project at Oyutolgoi -- are also counting on surging Chinese demand. Plans are also under way to develop the Tavantolgoi coking coal mine, the world"s biggest untapped deposit of its kind. Project financiers are eyeing development of railroads to link the country"s major energy resource centres to energy-hungry markets in the north and south.

At Khan"s Dornod property, Russia to the north and China to the east are visible from the nearby hilltops, illustrating the company"s fragile position as well as the country"s. Khan bought the abandoned Russian property of Dornod around a decade ago, company director Edey said, after coming to an agreement with the former owners and the Mongolian government.

But Russia has since sought a greater stake in a national uranium reserve estimated at 1.2 million tons. An agreement to explore the material was signed in 2008, and ARMZ last year set up a joint venture with Mongolia"s MonAtom to develop Dornod -- even though Khan Resources was already there. "They are now acting like they never sold them," said Edey.

While China"s CNNC had expressed interest previously, Edey insisted Khan"s legal problems long pre-dated the Chinese company"s involvement. Khan"s shares were already in freefall as a result of the licensing issues, prompting ARMZ to table a hostile acquisition bid and leaving Khan with no choice but to seek out a "white knight". In the end, a company like Khan didn"t have the clout to fight its own corner or negotiate the complex political challenges that face Mongolia.

A global intelligence analyst says, "Mongolia was looking at this push around the world to build new nuclear reactors and wanted to be the one controlling the sale of this resource, but it also wanted to offer it to Russia in return for a balance of power against China. In the end the Mongolian situation is one of excessive insecurity. It could be very realistic from a Chinese businessman"s perspective that this is pure business, but if you are Mongolian, how can you take the risk of putting even more of your business in the hands of the Chinese?"
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Tavan Tolgoi Draft Submitted to Parliament

Best interests for the nation will be highest priority in choosing strategic investor of Tavan Tolgoi project, reaffirmed Minister of Minerals and Energy D.Zorigt. “No any side will be given advantageous rights. Each of them will have equal chance to win,” he said. But he admitted that there is growing demand to push national producers and national-level large businesses into growth under umbrella of this project concept.


Currently there more than ten international mining giants lined up against youngest “Mongol-999” national consortium, that joined over 1500 private Mongolian businesses, hoping to get a slice of the high grade coking coal mine located in Omnogobi province.

The government submitted on Thursday a package of documents to the State Great Khural (Parliament) for approval, which includes a draft changes to the Minerals Law, draft investment agreement, and several draft resolutions of the Parliament. The package also includes draft documents of preliminary selection of potential winner.

The draft investment agreement, that has 19 articles, and 144 clauses, will be signed by Erdenes MGL, a state corporation that owns license of Tavan Tolgoi, and Minister of Finance, Minister of Nature and Environment, and Minister of Minerals and Energy from the side of Mongolia’s government with investor side. The sides may include Minister of Road, Transport, Construction and Urban Development.

National Security Council, which consists of President Ts.Elbegdorj, Speaker of Parliament D.Demberel and Prime Minister S.Batbold, released a number of recommendations last week to the government to retain 100 percent ownership of the Tavan Tolgoi mine under a publicly listed state-owned corporation, and to announce investor in open and transparent manner. The council strongly advised the government to interrelate Tavan Tolgoi project development closely with southern Gobi regional development plan.

Mongolia over the course of last weeks saw hot public debates centered around infrastructure developments of the Tavan Tolgoi project, especially around its railway policy-whether it would be broad or narrow gauge line.

The government stated that it will carefully watch following factors in the selection process: experience, financial capability, availability of environmentally friendly technology, rehabilitation plan, social responsibility, employment creation, regional infrastructure developments, water survey and water usage, and end price of coal products. Urban planning and industrial complexes (of European standard) around the major project would also be linked to regional policies.
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President attends Buddha’s birthday celebrations at Gandan-photo

Thursday was the anniversary of the day according to the lunar calendar when the Buddha was born, received enlightenment, and also attained nirvana. President Ts.Elbegdorj attended the celebrations at Gandantegchinlen, the main Buddhist Monastery in Ulaanbaatar. Among those who attended the prayers there was the IX Bogd Jivzundamba who lives with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India and is visiting Mongolia for a month.

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RPT-UPDATE 1-Ivanhoe takes steps on Mongolia mine financing (Repeats to widen distribution)

* EBRD, IFC consider financing Mongolian copper-gold mine

* EBRD, IFC may provide up to $300 mln each

NEW YORK, May 21 (Reuters) - Ivanhoe Mines (IVN.TO) said on Friday it has signed a preliminary agreement with two international financial institutions that are evaluating a major financing package for the construction of the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in southern Mongolia.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank Group's International Finance Corp (IFC) will consider providing a two-part package to help finance the $4.6 billion project, which is expected to provide a large boost to the Mongolian economy

The EBRD and the IFC will consider providing up to $300 million each in project financing, while mobilizing a further $1.2 billion from commercial lenders, Ivanhoe said in a statement.

In October, the Mongolian government signed a long awaited deal giving Ivanhoe and its partner, Rio Tinto (RIO.AX) (RIO.L), the final go-ahead to develop the Oyu Tolgoi project. The Mongolian government is a junior partner in the project.

Ivanhoe said it has also received expressions of interest from export credit agencies that are interested in providing up to $500 million in direct project debt financing. (Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
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Mongolia beating Ireland on broadband speeds

Ireland's broadband speeds continue to compare badly with international standards.

A new global survey from test company Ookla show that the average download speed in Ireland is 6mbits. Most EU countries are averaging well over 10mbits.

Ireland comes 41st on the download index, which is headed by South Korea and Latvia. The country only manages 60% of the EU average download speed performance with Spain, Italy, Malta and Cyprus now the only EU 27 states that fare worse than Ireland.

The upload speed figure is even worse with Ireland scraping in at 61st on this ranking as it only manages 40% of the EU average (1 mbit upload compared to 2.5mbits across the European Union). Only Greece, Spain, Italy the UK and Cyprus saw a worse performance.

Ireland comes in 65th position on the quality list, with countries with better quality broadband including every other EU country and the three poorest countries in Europe - Serbia, Albania and Moldova. Russia tops the list, followed by Romania and Portugal.

In conducting this survey Ooka carried out 1.5 billion individual broadband tests globally. 800,000 were carried out in Ireland and were conduced by the end user from their own computer or smartphone.

'Importantly these results include recent market developments,' commented Ireland Offline Chairman Eamonn Wallace.

After upgrades from the likes of Eircom and UPC, Mr Wallace says that Ireland has still fallen behind the likes of Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Greece as well as Mongolia.
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G.Zandanshatar Meets German Foreign Minister

Mongolia’s Foreign Minister G.Zandanshatar, who paid working visit to Berlin, met with Federal Foreign Minister of Germany Guido Westerwelle.

Foreign Minister Zandanshatar emphasized that Germany was Mongolia’s most important political and economic partner in Europe. He hoped to further expand bilateral trade relations and German investment in Mongolia.

German Federal Minister Westerwelle underscored the potential for economic cooperation between the two countries. In particular, the areas of renewable energy, logistics as well as transport and mining offered opportunities for deeper cooperation.

Minister Westerwelle also thanked for Mongolia’s commitment in Afghanistan.

“The 42 Mongolian soldiers stationed at the German base in Feyzabad in North-Eastern Afghanistan were making a valuable contribution to Afghanistan’s stabilization,” Westerwelle said.
He also welcomed Mongolia’s decision to commit to becoming a nuclear weapon-free zone and commended Mongolia as a reliable partner on the international stage.

source:The UB Post
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Stoke Newington's Hackney Gentlemen's Racing Club on rally to Mongolia

A group of intrepid friends from Stoke Newington will be driving 10,000 miles across 18 countries in a clapped-out rally car next month to raise money for children's charities.

Matt Treadgold, 29, and his teammates Alexa Taylor, 26, Mark Minchin, 29, and Steve Wong, 39, will be squeezing into a tiny one litre car bought on the internet to travel from London to Mongolia on July 4.

The friends, calling themselves Hackney Gentlemen's Racing Club, will be tackling mountains, deserts, bad roads and no roads on the Mongol Rally to raise £3,000 for three charities - Haven House Children's Hospice, Christina Noble Children's Foundation and the Esther Benjamin's Trust.

Matt, who lives in Alkham Road, Stoke Newington, said: "We don't have a detailed route planned, any real mechanical experience and don't speak any languages.

"We just thought as a joke, it would be really fun - then when the time came to sign up, we thought why don't we just take the plunge?"

The four adventurers have put most of their efforts so far into preparing their car, which they bought for £700, but are now looking forward to hitting the road.

"We are a little bit nervous but it is going to be a fantastic time," said Matt, who works for the Home Office.

The team want residents and businesses in the borough to back them in their gruelling challenge.

"Hackney has got quite a strong community and we really wanted to incorporate that within our team.

"We want to do as much as possible for the community to get behind us."

To sponsor Hackney Gentlemen's Racing Club, go to www.hgrc.org.
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New railway is essential: D.Ganbold

Ulaanbaatar Deputy Mayor D.Ganbold was for four years head of the Railway Authority when he prepared several proposals for railway development. He answers questions on the proposed railway policy.

The new policy is now being discussing in Parliament…

Yes. We had prepared three such documents but not one was approved. Let us see what happens this time.

How did these earlier documents differ from the current one?

The key issues are the same. Railway is a basic sector, connected to national security. I said in 2004 that we did not have the railway to meet the demands of rapid economic growth. Our Railway Law applied only to railway traffic. All other issues were governed by the agreement between the two governments in 1949. Many of the terms of this agreement have become irrelevant after 60 years. We prepared a wider new law and Parliament adopted it.

The proposals that were not approved were related to the mining deposits?

Yes. The years from 2006 to 2008 saw economic growth everywhere in the region and Ulaanbaatar Railway could not handle all the import load. Engines kept breaking down and foreign companies refused to transport their goods through Mongolia. The freight volume increased 2-3 times and three new engines have been acquired. That is all.

It is clear that Mongolia needs a new railway. What was built in 1949 has served us well but it cannot be expected to meet present-day needs. To avoid any mountain and river, the 1,100-km railway from Zamyn-Ud to Naushki does not go straight, making it difficult to pick up high speed. It is impossible to expect this railway to carry the mining ore.
source: www.news.mn
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Doing business in Mongolia a tightrope walk

Mongolia sits atop billions of dollars of mineral wealth and its economy is poised to grow rapidly, but foreign investors are finding that geopolitics hangs heavy over business in a nation caught between China and Russia.
Few companies are more aware of the perils of investing in Mongolia than Canadian miner Khan Resources, now battling the might of Russia for the rights to a uranium deposit in the country's remote northeast.

Khan's licences for the Dornod uranium property were cancelled after what it alleged to be a show of muscle by Moscow and Russia's state-owned ARMZ Uranium, and it has now filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the decision.

But Khan itself had been planning to sell out to the state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), raising perennial Mongolian fears about Chinese dominance. However, the Chinese company dropped the planned acquisition last week.

"We are right in the middle of a geopolitical war," said Grant Edey, a Khan company director, speaking to Reuters shortly after filing the lawsuit.

Khan insists it did all it could to comply with a series of changing ownership and registration requirements in Mongolia, but T. Bayarbayasgalan, the head of licensing at the country's new Nuclear Energy Agency, said it did not do enough.

"The company was raising capital in the name of Mongolian uranium resources, and the main reason why the licenses were cancelled was because it had violated many of our laws," he said.

In particular, Khan violated an article in the new Nuclear Energy Law which stipulates that a company needs the permission of Ulan Bator if it intends to transfer its shares, he said.

Mongolia broke away from the crumbling Soviet system in 1990, and while it is struggling to stay neutral between its two giant neighbours, it may still be amenable to some Russian persuasion.

China, on the other hand, relinquished any claim to Mongolia in 1950, but has done little to allay suspicions that its economic dominance could lead to political hegemony.

More than 70 percent of Mongolia's exports went to its southern neighbour last year.

The bulk of Mongolia's oil is being produced by Chinese firms and most of the big projects now being developed -- including Ivanhoe Mines' $5 billion copper-gold project at Oyu Tolgoi -- are also counting on surging Chinese demand.

MORE THAN ECONOMICS

Plans are also under way to develop the Tavan Tolgoi coking coal mine, the world's biggest untapped deposit of its kind.

Project financiers are eying development of railroads to link the country's major energy resource centres to energy-hungry markets in the north and south.

But it is always more than mere economics in Mongolia, economists and analysts say.

"A country like Paraguay would die to have a market like China on its border, but there is this concern about the imbalance of populations and power," said Peter Morrow, chief executive of Khan Bank, one of the country's biggest lenders.

Alan Wachman, an expert in Mongolian politics at Tufts University, says China has done nothing to Mongolia to warrant this level of anxiety.

"But when I press Mongolians about this, they say there are plenty of people in China who say that Mongolia is fundamentally Chinese and that this suggests an intention that has to be taken seriously," he said.

"They ask what are we to do given our size and power if the Chinese begin to act on it? It puts this whole thing in the realm of emotions rather than any kind of rational analysis."

At Khan's Dornod property, Russia to the north and China to the east are visible from the nearby hilltops, illustrating the company's fragile position as well as the country's.

Khan bought the abandoned Russian property of Dornod around a decade ago, company director Edey said, after coming to an agreement with the former owners and the Mongolian government. But Russia has since sought a greater stake in a national uranium reserve estimated at 1.2 million tonnes.

An agreement to explore the material was signed in 2008, and ARMZ last year set up a joint venture with Mongolia's MonAtom to develop Dornod -- even though Khan Resources was already there.

"They are now acting like they never sold them," said Edey.

While China's CNNC had expressed interest previously, Edey insisted Khan's legal problems long pre-dated the Chinese company's involvement. Khan's shares were already in freefall as a result of the licensing issues, prompting ARMZ to table a hostile acquisition bid and leaving Khan with no choice but to seek out a "white knight."

In the end, a company like Khan didn't have the clout to fight its own corner or negotiate the complex political challenges that face Mongolia, said Rodger Baker, director of east Asia analysis with global intelligence company Stratfor.

"Mongolia was looking at this push around the world to build new nuclear reactors and wanted to be the one controlling the sale of this resource, but it also wanted to offer it to Russia in return for a balance of power against China," he said.

"In the end the Mongolian situation is one of excessive insecurity," he said.

"It could very realistically be from a Chinese businessman's perspective that this is pure business, but if you are Mongolia, how can you take the risk of putting even more of your business in the hands of the Chinese?"
source:Reuters
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Kazakhs maintain culture and tradition in Mongolia

ULAANBAATAR: Mongolia is largely a homogenous country, but pockets of ethnic minorities can still be found on its vast landscape.

The numbers of one such minority - the ethnic Kazakhs - appears to be fast dwindling.

In the outskirts of Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar is a Kazakh community.

The 800 families living there are mainly miners who migrated from western Mongolia since the 1940s.

Even though many of them have never lived in Kazakhstan, they have maintained traditional Kazakh customs, lifestyles and traditions.

One of these is a household which produces traditional Kazakh carpets and embroidery.

Tulkbai Sailau, Kazakh minority in Mongolia, said: "I have lived in this area for over 40 years. I have five daughters and a son. All my daughters know how to sew and knit."

Mongolkhan Aksakal, Kazakh religious leader, said: "Kazakhs moved to Mongolia a long time ago so they preserve the culture and tradition much better than those in Kazakhstan. When they go back to Kazakhstan, they teach their tradition and culture to Kazakhs living in Kazakhstan."

There are regular interactions and exchanges between Mongolian Kazakhs and those living in Kazakhstan.

Mongolian Kazakhs are predominantly Muslims, but many were unable to practice their faith during the Soviet era, because of Stalin's crackdown on religion.

More than 200 years ago the advance of the Russian empire troops had forced many people from Kazakhstan to settle down in neighbouring countries, including Mongolia where they have formed a tightly-knit community.

But with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, the ethnic Kazakhs in Mongolia have also been swept up in the sea of changes.

One of the key changes includes an incentive scheme by the Kazakhstan government to attract ethnic Kazakhs around the world to return to their ancestral country.

The scheme is aimed at boosting Kazakhstan's economic growth and to address an earlier demographic imbalance, where ethnic Kazakhs were a minority in their own country.

Purev Oyunchimeg, Commission of National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia, said: "By 2008, over 30,000 ethnic Kazakhs moved to Kazakhstan, 368 wanted to restore their Mongolian citizenship while 176 wanted to give up their Mongolian citizenship. Since Mongolia does not recognise dual citizenship, they have to give up their Mongolian citizenship if they leave for Kazakhstan."

Although many Kazakhs say they leave Mongolia for the better prospects in Kazakhstan, some are happy to stay put.

Tulkbai Sailau added: "There is a saying that one's motherland is the place where one is born. I'm happy here even though there are problems like unemployment, and not having access to markets for my carpets and embroidery."

Ethnic Kazakhs in Mongolia say there are few political pressures and hardly any discrimination against their minority status.

And even though many Mongolian Kazakhs are Muslims, they get along well with the predominantly Buddhist Mongolians.

Although Kazakhstan is keen to reach out to its Kazakh Diaspora, economics - and not necessarily cultural identity - will ultimately decide if ethnic Kazakhs choose to stay in Mongolia, or return to their ancestral homeland.
source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com
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MIAT cancels international flights following staff strike

A strike by technical staff led to the cancellation of this morning’s MIAT flight to Seoul. J.Bat-Erdene, State Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Construction and City Planning, some 90 workers are involved. If they continue to refuse to work, replacements will be brought in, but it may take some time to assemble a properly qualified team.

The workers are protesting against the decision yesterday of the MIAT Executive Board to dismiss the head of Technical Department, Yo.Enkhtur, following damage to one wing of an A310-300 Boeing during maintenance work. The board felt that such negligence was unacceptable, particularly as the airline planned to increase the number of its international flights from June 1 to meet the demands of the tourist season.

Enkhtur denied the charge of negligence and claimed that 94 of the 120 workers in his department have refused to work until their demand for a fair decision is met.

A later flight to Beijing was also cancelled. Arrangements are being made to carry passengers on both flights by other airlines.

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Khan Resources Admits CNNC Decision

In the recent development around resource “war” on Mongolia’s uranium district, Canadian Khan Resources, which holds interests in main uranium properties in the eastern part of the country, announced on May 21 that CNNC Overseas Uranium Holding has failed to obtain an approval for its offer to acquire all of the common shares of Khan at C$0.96 in cash per share.


China’s National Energy Administration did not approve the transaction offer, no reason of which was given in the notice, Khan stated.

Mongolian Government last year invalidated main licenses of Khan Resources over several violations of licensing affairs under Nuclear Energy Law. Earlier Mongolian government and its nuclear arm, Nuclear Energy Agency, notified CNNC and related Chinese government bodies not to accept transaction bids as the licenses has been annulled.

Mongolia may develop its uranium resources with Russia as it agreed to Russian government and its state-owned corporations to establish a joint venture, and, in return, to built small and medium size nuclear power plants on the territory of Mongolia.

source: The UB post
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Trade Union Urges Gov’t to Stop Manpower Export

Trade Unions last week appealed the government not to send migrant workers to South Korea as the country’s major mining projects would soon create tens of thousands of homeland jobs.


Thousands of Mongolians lined up last week at the outside of Ulaanbaatar’s social insurance offices, hoping to get job that will be paid by the minimum wage of Korean government standard, around US$1,000 a month. More than 20,000 applicants got registered in few days for the vacant position of 3,100 jobs in South Korea’s small and medium sized enterprises.

The government has yet to respond to demand of Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions to put maximum annual quota for the export of manpower. The trade union demanded legal form of national manpower planning – estimating future demand by skill level and numbers of workers.

Applicants are required to be Mongolian citizen at the age of 18-39, and no previous criminal record. “Those who are medically qualified will take Korean language test in June,” said an officer of the government-accredited manpower export agency.

Last October, Mongolian government signed multi-billion dollar investment agreement with Canadian Ivanhoe Mines company over largest untapped copper and gold deposit Oyu Tolgoi that will create more than 10,000 long-term direct and indirect jobs for Mongolians in its preparation phase before its full scale production in 2013.

Project developers also signed an additional job creation protocol last April with the Government of Ulaanbaatar to create 3,000 temporary jobs for the residents of the capital city, mainly low-skilled jobs of keepers and cleaning of public facilities that will be paid MNT300,000 a month (approx. US$210).

Not only Oyu Tolgoi, but also Tavan Tolgoi high-grade coking coal mining project is on the verge of start as the government is in negotiations with potential developers including world coal mining giant Peabody as well as newly-established national consortium Mongol-999.

In South Korea, there are more than 35,000 Mongolians, largest number of population outside home country, reported to be living and working both legally and illegally. Remittance inflow by Mongolians living in South Korea to their homeland makes significant portion of foreign currency market.
source: The UB Post
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Mongolian Folk Art for UNESCO

UNESCO registered Mongolian traditional arts including national long song, Mongolian Tuuli (epic), morin khuur (horse head fiddle), biyelgee (Mongolian folk dance) and tsuur (bagpipe) and handed a confirmation for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural heritage in National Museum of Mongolia on May 24.


The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science; Center of Cultural Heritage; UNESCO National Commission of Mongolia and the National Museum of Mongolia opened jointly an exhibition to be named “Mongolian cultural heritage enrolled World” within the framework of measure to hand a confirmation in the National Museum of Mongolia between May 21 and 23.

There were so many different tsuur, morin khuur, rare photos and portraits of famous Mongolian morin khuur players and readers an epic in the exhibition. Also, there were books and videos about history of Mongolian national long song and biyelgee.


source: The UB Post
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Ivanhoe seeking EBRD, IFC funds for Oyu Tolgoi

Ivanhoe Mines has said it is in talks with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corp. for financing to build its Oyu Tolgoi mine. It has signed a joint mandate letter with the big financial institutions which will consider providing a two-part package including up to $300 million from each organization and $1.2 billion from commercial lenders under a "B loan" structure.

Ivanhoe Mines said it also has received expressions of interest from export credit agencies to provide up to $500 million in direct project debt financing. A recently released development plan estimated that the initial capital cost required to achieve first production from the open-pit mine is $4.6 billion, the company said.

"Securing the proposed financing package — and combining it with possible additional subscriptions of more than US$1 billion through our existing agreements with Rio Tinto and the funds from our cash position that are earmarked for project development expenditures — would advance Ivanhoe a long way toward completion of the construction of the Oyu Tolgoi mine," Ivanhoe executive chairman Robert Friedland said.

The company sais options to raise the rest of the cash required to build the project includes additional potential debt, equity offerings, a credit facility, the sale of subsidiaries, equity investments, project financing and various corporate transactions.

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MPs consider new legal status for Ulaanbaatar

Parliament discussed on Friday revising the legal status of Ulaanbaatar, following the big rise in its population in recent years. Migration from rural areas has, according to M.Enkhbold who proposed the draft amendments, has increased the population of the capital city by 471,500. It is now one of the 477 cities in the world with more than one million people. It also has 50 percent of the total Mongolian population and 70 percent of the country’s urban population.

MPs discussed issues of the rights and duties of the capital’s citizens in the new situation, levying taxes on newcomers, and even introducing a capital citizens’ tax and an air pollution tax. Organizing regular meetings of the citizen’s representatives of Ulaanbaatar was suggested. Some MPs proposed that Ulaanbaatar should have its own separate budget, and its Mayor and the city administration should be given a higher legal status, with the Mayor treated as the chairman of a citizen’s representative assembly. MPs noted that only 50 percent of the tax income of the capital city remains in its own account and can be used for the city’s development. E.Bat-Uul proposed to increase this amount to 66 percent by transferring only 34 percent of capital city’s tax income into state budget income. J.Batsuur, however, warned that aimags will make similar demands if the capital city is allowed to levy its own taxes.

Ts.Bayarsaihan suggested raising finance for Ulaanbaatar by issuing bonds. A.Tleikhan said that many people prefer to live in the capital as prices of goods and services are less here. Migration can be controlled if life in rural areas was to be cheaper.

In 2004, 74,847 people from rural areas, which is the population of almost one aimag, were registered in Ulaanbaatar. The population of Ulaanbaatar rose by 28,000 in 2005 and 2006 and by 33,000 in 2007 and 2008. The recent dzud will make for another wave of migration to Ulaanbaatar.

Sh.Saikhansambuu proposed to raise the status of the Governor of Ulaanbaatar to equal to that of a member of the Government. Kh.Badelkhan inquired whether the capital would be shifted to Tuv aimag and was told by G.Munkhbayar there was no chance of that in the coming 50 years. Ya.Batsuuri was against having the capital city’s representative offices abroad, saying, “Why do we have embassies?” The Governor of Ulaanbaatar explained that representative offices would be different from embassies. MPs decided to hold further discussions on the issue.
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HERDER FAMILIES TO RECEIVE MONEY

Wednesday's cabinet meeting allowed M.Enkhbold, the Deputy Premier and Head of the State Emergency Commission (SEC), to grant MNT 300 thousand to each of herder families that have lost all livestock due to zud disaster. The money is allotted from a non-refundable aid the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has given Mongolia.
In accordance with an agreement with the ADB, total of MNT 2 billion 572 thousand 800 will be granted to these 8,576 families living in Arkhangai, Bayan-Olgii, Bayankhongor, Gobi-Altai, Dornod, Dundgobi, Zavkhan, Ovorkhangai, Omnogobi, Tov, Uvs, Khovd and Khovsgol aimags. In addition to it, these aimags' emergency sections will receive 20 Russian "UAZ-31512" jeeps costing MNT 366 million and 10 Russian-made vans costing MNT 185 million. These vans have been equipped with necessary facilities of MNT 96.2 million.
The government also decided to distribute six deinfection apparatuses (MNT 240 million) to these aimags in order to prevent human and livestock infectious diseases, terminate livestock carcasses and to make sterilization and disinfection.
As of today, the country has lost 8.1 million heads of livestock, 90 per cent of this livestock have perished in Ovorkhangai, Zavkhan, Gobi-Altai, Dundgobi, Khovd, Arkhangai, Bayankhongor, Bayan-Olgii, Uvs, Tov, Omnogobi and Khovsgol aimags. Due to the disaster, 8,576 rural families have lost all livestock--the only source of living, 32,756 families have lost at least 50 per cent of their animals, and 1,400 families have moved to centers of aimags and soums.

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SouthGobi Suspends Mongolia Mine Rail-Link Plan

SouthGobi Resources Ltd, the coal miner backed by China’s sovereign wealth fund, halted plans to build a rail link between its pit in southern Mongolia and the Chinese border because of uncertainty over government policy.


The Canada-listed company will concentrate on upgrading a road link in the deserts to the border, Chief Executive Officer Alexander Molyneux said on a conference call with analysts and reporters. The Mongolian government is reviewing the nation’s entire railways policy, Molyneux said. Coal from the mine is now trucked to the border.

Landlocked Mongolia is examining its railway policy as it seeks greater control over its assets. The nation, which shares a border with China and Russia, has some of the world’s largest untapped reserves of gold, copper and coal, and development of the resources has been hampered by poor transport infrastructure.

“Given the question marks over rail policy, we decided to suspend work on the rail link,” Molyneux said. SouthGobi had earmarked US$150 million to develop rail and road links near its Ovoot Tolgoi mine.

A railway was not “essential” as the mine is only 42 kilometers from the Chinese border and a road link would be cheaper, he said. The investment may also be premature because Mongolia is debating rail routes, the gauge of lines and the ownership of future links, said Molyneux.

source:Bloomberg
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MNT 300,000 for every herder family with total loss of livestock

Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the National Emergency Commission M.Enkhbold has revealed how the MNT 3.4 billion (approximately USD2.5 million) given by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for dzud relief will be used. Altogether MNT 2,252,800,000 will be allocated to 8,576 rural families of Arkhangai, Bayan-Ulgii, Bayan-Khongor, Gobi-Altai, Dornod, Dundgobi, Zavkhan, Uvurkhangai, Tuv, Uvs, Khovd and Khuvsgul who have lost all their livestock, or around MNT300,000 to every family.

The rest will be spent on providing automobiles and equipment to dzud-ridden aimags to improve health and social welfare services and strengthen local capacity in emergencies. MNT366 million will be used to buy 20 Russian-made UAZ-31512 cars, MNT 185 million to buy 10 vans for Emergency departments of the 10 aimags, MNT96.2 million to equip these cars with radio communication devices, and MNT240 million will be to buy six vehicles to be used for sanitation and removal of animal carcasses.

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Batbold holds wide ranging talks with visiting Czech Prime Minister

Jan Fischer, who arrived in Mongolia yesterday on the first visit here by a Prime Minister of the Czech Republic since 1993, has held long ranging talks with Prime Minister S.Batbold. The visit takes place on the 60th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relationship between the two countries.

Welcoming his guest, the Mongolian Prime Minister expressed his confidence that the visit will strengthen the relationship between the two countries and hoped the Czech Republic will act as a bridge between Mongolia and the EU. He wanted to learn how the Czech attained European Union standards in a very short time. Once Mongolia could do this, it will receive international trust and that, together with reduced production costs, will help the Mongolian economy to grow. It will help increase Mongolia’s trade cooperation with EU countries where Mongolia can export 7,200 types of products without paying customs duty. He also asked for the Czech Republic’s support in getting Mongolia’s name deleted from the European Commission’s list of countries with a non-market economy.

The discussions covered wide areas of politics, trade, economy, defense, infrastructure, energy, environment, agriculture and health. Bilateral trade has kept increasing in the last three quarters. Stressing the need for more cooperation between small and medium sized companies of the two countries, Batbold called for wider collaboration in defense, science, education, and urged the Czech Republic to allow more Mongolian students to attend higher education institutes there.

The two Prime ministers compared notes on the progress and impact of ongoing joint projects and programs and agreed to work on three projects in the near future. These are on water supply to Erdenet city, renovation of equipment in electricity plants, and building 100,000 household apartments. Batbold wanted cooperation in environmental issues, risk management in the mining sector, and water purification.
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FOREIGN MINISTER LEAVES FOR GERMANY

Minister of Foreign Affairs G.Zandanshatar has left Mongolia to pay an official visit to the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) May 18-22 at invitation of Mr Guido Westerwelle, the Foreign Minister of this country. This visit is the first one since 1999 when that times Mongolian Foreign Minister paid a visit.
Mr Zandanshatar will attend a ceremony of granting a sample book published for the 10th anniversary of the Association named "Friends supporting opera". He will address the Mongolia-Germany business forum to run in frames of the program of providing Mongolia's external relations with economic contents. The two sides are attaching a great importance to this forum.
Dr. Peter Ammon, State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office, and Mrs Ute Kumpf, a deputy head of the Germany-Central Asian Parliamentary Faction of the Bundestag, will give a banquet to the Mongolian Foreign Minister.
A meeting is expected between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries, then Mr Zandanshatar will meet Bernd Pfaffenbach, the State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, and Mrs Anke Fuchs, the president of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.
In accordance with the program of the visit, the Foreign Minister will meet Dirk Niebel, the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, on May 20. In addition to it, Mr Zandanshatar plans to visit the Commerzbank AG and to deliver a report themed "Economic development of Mongolia-opportunity to cooperate with German economics, present situation and prospective". The same day, he will hold meetings with Ruprecht Polenz, a head of Bundestag's Standing committee on foreign policy and its members, and with Stanislaw Tillich, the Minister-President of the Free State of Saxony.
Ending his visit, Mr Zandanshatar will meet Mongolians who are living and studying in Germany.

source: www.montsame.mn
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Itochu targets Mongolian coal to expand trade

Itochu Corp., Japan’s fourth-largest trading company, has invested in Winsway Coking Coal Holdings Ltd. to secure coal from Mongolia, stepping up competition with China and Russia for the steelmaking ingredient as prices jump, says a report by Bloomberg.

Itochu joined a group led by Hopu Investment Management Co., the $2.5 billion fund run by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner Fang Fenglei, in investing in Winsway with the purchase of $10 million of convertible debt last month, Ken Tezuka, manager of the company’s coking coal section, said in an interview in Tokyo. Winsway, based in the British Virgin Islands, transports coal from Mongolia to China.

China Shenhua Energy Co. and Russia’s government-run ARMZ Uranium Holding are seeking access to coal and energy assets in Mongolia, the home of some of the largest undeveloped mineral resources in the world. Itochu wants to add Mongolian assets to its operations in Australia, Indonesia and North America as prices climbed to a near record this year.

“The current levels enable Mongolian coal to sufficiently compete against coal produced in other regions,” Tezuka said May 14. “Mongolian coal wasn’t viable to export when prices were around $30 and $40” a metric ton.

Winsway has expanded sales recently by investing in trucks to carry coal from mines in Mongolia, including one close to the $2 billion Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit, Tezuka said.

Mongolia’s coal exports to China may climb to about 12 million tons this year from 8.5 million tons in 2009, Alexander Molyneux, the chief executive officer of SouthGobi Energy Resources Ltd., said last month.

China bought about 4 million tons of coal in total from Mongolia in 2008 out of national production of 10 million tons, according to a March 18 statement released by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Mongolia will develop its biggest untapped uranium field in a venture with Russia. State-owned KOO MonAtom will hold at least 51 percent in a venture with ARMZ Uranium and possible partners from Japan or China, Bayarbayasgalan Tudevbazar, nuclear materials chief of Mongolia’s Nuclear Energy Agency, said last month.


source: www.news.mn
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Three Mongolians appointed to OT Board

P.Tsagaan says Mongolians should benefit from mining sooner

On May 5, the State Property Committee appointed three authorized members to represent Mongolia on the Board of Directors for Oyu Tolgoi LLC. N. Bagabandi former President of Mongolia, P.Tsagaan advisor to the current President, and Ch. Ganbold, Head of the Board of Directors of Xac Bank were appointed. P. Tsagaan told the MONTSAME reporter, “Oyu Tolgoi Project is a large scale project. Establishing the project is an act of resolving legal and political matters first. However, I think that people who represent the Mongolian side in the project are responsible to expedite work so that Mongolia can implement and enjoy the actual benefits from the project sooner. Being appointed to this position, I am bearing very important responsibilities.” He also underlined the importance of considering national independence, security and foreign policy, and in particular, avoiding too much dependence on one country, and being separate from other countries, as well as revering friendship with countries while bringing foreign investment to national strategic deposits. To determine the other two members to represent Mongolia, P. Tsagaan said, “I think that former President N. Bagabandi is a realistic person. I was Finance Minister when he was President. Actually, people know he is diligent. For Ch. Ganbold, he is well educated and a good manager. We collaborated in the cultural field. He could gain success in careers within a short period and became head of the Board of Directors of Xac Bank. Therefore it means he has been selected with high criteria. He is not a ‘freshman’.” He did not confirm information of some sources about receiving salaries of USD 40,000. He said, “It may be at that rate for a whole year. If not, it means we will be getting a higher salary than the US President. I do not know about it. I think we may be given fixed pay if we work hard. I’m not doing this for the high salary. I am receiving a trusted responsibility for doing right things for Mongolians, agreeing with foreign investors and protecting the national interest. It is a very responsible job. Of course it is very difficult. For me, I previously worked as head of the Board of Directors of Mongolian side at the Mongolrostsvetmet Joint Venture. In that period, I disagreed and agreed with the Russians many times and resolved issues positively. Ownerships of the two sides were 49x51. However in the Oyu Tolgoi Project, the proportion stands at 34x66. It is too unbalanced. I think that the investor is experienced and civilized in following Mongolia’s history, culture, legislations and agreements and obeying the agreement properly. Although there is nothing to fear, a minority is a minority. There is a lot to do. I believe my experience and knowledge studied and gained thanks to the Mongolian people in the past is needed. I will try hard"

source: The Mongol Messenger" newspaper
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President attends V-Day anniversary in Moscow /photos/

President Ts.Elbegdorj and leaders of multiple nations gathered in Moscow to honor the 65th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War
 On May 9, a celebratory event for the 65th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War was held in the Russian Federation and former Soviet Union countries. Numerous respected foreign top officials were invited to the ceremony, including Tsakhia Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia, Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France, Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, Hu Jintao, President of the People’s Republic of China, Shimon Peres, President of Israel, as well as Presidents of Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Czech, Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Latvia, Estonia, and Central Asian nations, and T. Jagland, Secretary General of the European Council. President Elbegdorj was accompanied by Defense Minister L. Bold and Foreign Policy Advisor L. Purevsuren. On May 8, the day of his arrival in Moscow, President Elbegdorj visited the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, and met with veterans of the Great Patriotic War at the Embassy of Mongolia in Moscow.

9 was the 65th anniversary of the victory. President Elbegdorj attended the main event of the anniversary, an extensive military Parade on Red Square in Moscow. The march commanded over 10,000 military personnel, and about 300 military techniques, as well as military units from the allied nations of the Second World War such as the USA, Great Britain, France, in addition to former Soviet Union countries. The parade was concluded with the famous Russian song, ‘Deni Pobedy (Day of Victory)’. After attending the Parade at Red Square, the foreign dignitaries walked to Alexandrovsky Garden where a tribute was paid to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. As part of his attendance for the ceremony, President Elbegdorj and Minister of Defense, L. Bold visited the Central Museum for the Victory of the Patriotic War at Poklonnaya Mountain. The Museum is comprised of a number of halls and display rooms including the Hall of Fame of Heroes, the Hall of Tribute to Soldiers, and halls dedicated to the blockade of Leningrad, battle for Stalingrad, Moscow suburb battles, and the battle for Berlin. This is the world’s largest museum with rare documents on World War II. Exhibits and documents associated with Mongolia and the Mongolian people occupy a special place in the Museum. In particular, the Museum deposits the resolution of the joint session of the MPRP Central Committee Chairmen, the Members of the Presidium of the State Baga Khural of the MPR and the Council of People’s Ministers, held on June 22, 1941, the first day Nazi Germany declared war on the USSR. The resolution resolutely condemned and blamed the aggression of German fascists by the USSR and declared that the Mongolian people would ‘Dedicate all to the fronts, all for the victory’. Describing a skin coat, kept in a glass case, Lieutenant General V. I. Zabarovsky, Director of the Museum, said: “The victory of our soldiers in the battle for Moscow which occurred in the fierce winter, was in part thanks to the 15 thousand pieces of skin coats, felt boots and skin gloves that were presented by the Mongolian people”. Many photos displayed in the Museum show the ‘Revolutionary Mongolia’ tank squad and air force escadrille, accepted with gratitude and joy at the fronts of the Great Patriotic War. On May 8, President Elbegdorj held a meeting with veterans and paid them his respect. Present at the meeting, were Russian and Mongolian veterans who battled in Khalkh Gol Battle and Patriotic War, state figures who played valuable role in strengthening bilateral friendship in both times of war and peace and current high level officials of Russian armed forces. To open the meeting, Mongolia’s Ambassador to Russian Federation D. Idevkhten said, “This day is a very special day in the history of humanity. That’s why the Victory of the Great Patriotic War was not only a victory for the then Soviet Union, but for all mankind.”
source: The Mongol Messenger" newspaper
D.Medvedev and Ts.Elbegdorj
V.Janibekov and Ts.Elbegdorj
WWII Veteran meets the Mongolian President
Mongolian and Russian military generals reunite

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Boroo Gold tops the list by paying Tgs40 billion in taxes

Boroo Gold Company’s President John Kazakoff, the largest tax contributor in
Mongolia
Boroo Gold Company was named as the first biggest tax payer in Mongolia, contributing Tgs 40 billion in taxes for 2009. It means the company paid an average of Tgs 200 million per day. Other ‘Top tax payers’ are Tavan tolgoi joint stock mining company (JSC), – Mobicom LLC, mobile phone operator, — Spirit & Bal Buram, beverage and alcohol producer, — NIC, fuel importer,— Mongolyn Alt LLC, mining company, — and Mongol tamkhi Co LLC, tobacco producer.
General Taxation Authority of Mongolia names the best tax payers every year, considering their contribution to the budget as taxes, no breach of tax laws, payment of taxes in due time, and the increase of amount, paid in taxes. On May 7, the General Taxation Authority of Mongolia granted largest tax payers the certifications. GTA granted GEM International LLC the title “Best tax payer of 2009” and handed over certificates for “Reliable tax payer” to other 98 companies. Companies including Bayandulaan-Uul LLC of Selenge Aimag, “Tsetsiih Trade” LLC, “BSB Service” LLC, “Takhi Co” LLC, “Alkhana Trade” LLC, and I&R Mongolia, were authorized to use the label ‘Reliable tax payer".

In the awarding ceremony, Ts. Oyunbaatar, Chairman of the GTA said that companies and organizations paid Tgs 941 billion in taxes during 2009 in spite of the economic crisis.
He said that GTA managed to collect Tgs 372.7 billion in the first 4 months of 2010, or Tgs 72.7 billion greater than expected. The best tax payer Boroo Gold LLC (“BGC”) was founded in 1997 and carries out gold mining operations on the Boroo hard-rock gold deposit in Bayangol Soum of Selenge aimag. Boroo Gold paid Tgs 7 billion in 2004, Tgs 10 billion in 2005, Tgs 18 billion in 2006, Tgs 43 billion in 2007 and Tgs 41 billion in 2008. John Kazakoff, President of Boroo Gold, said that Mongolian taxation is reasonable except for the 68 percent windfall profit tax, the taxation environment is stable. He said, “BGC is not a company that only digs gold. Since its operation in Mongolia ,BGC introduced new technology, new approach, and new management in Mongolia. We are ready to start Gachuurt project for hard rock deposit of gold in 2010, making all necessary documents ready and submitting them. We are waiting for approval from the Mongolian government. If the government of Mongolia gives the company operational approval for the project, all relevant taxes including WPT of 68 percent will be applicable. The company will establish a bio-oxidation plant if the company is successful in obtaining an acceptable agreement for Gachuurt with the Government of Mongolia. It will require about USD100 million for equipment and machinery. The company is also waiting for a final operating permit for its heap leach facility. These advanced technologies are new in Mongolia. The Company is reasonably confident that the economic and development benefits resulting from its exploration and development activities will go to Mongolians by increasing the number of Mongolian workers, their salary, and chance of Mongolian companies to benefit. BGC closely cooperates with local authority, assisting to develop infrastructure and helping schools and hospitals. The company invests about USD 1 million to Bayangol and Mandal soums of Selenge Aimag each year. The company founded a Social Development foundation in Selenge Aimag and has successfully implemented about 150 projects with a total cost of Tgs 5 billion from 2004 to 2009. “ We are willing to operate in Mongolia for long term by contributing taxes to the economy, introducing new technology, and professionally upgrading Mongolian workers.” said Mr Jonh Kazakoff. From 2004-2009, BGC earned Tgs 1 billion,114,049.1 million in revenues from gold sales and paid Tgs 161,981.5 million to state and local budgets in tax. Given the amount, BGC has paid in taxes to the State Budget, Boroo is listed as the second highest taxpayer of the country in 2007 and, the third highest in 2008. General Taxation Authority chairman Ts. Oyunbaatar said that Mongolian taxation organization is successfully implementing a reform to re-organize the taxation organization from a state administration agency to a public service organization. He said, “To achieve this task, GTA is mplementing four programs. Some positive signs are seen. Tax payers are happy that the service of the taxation organization is improved and becoming fast,communicative and fair. Currently 60 to 70 percent of tax payers in Mongolia already submit their taxation report via e-taxation service. We intend to improve the quality of services by taxation organization to an internationally–accepted level by abolishing bureaucracy and proneness to corruption and introducing new, transparent, fast, responsible approaches.”
source: Mongol Messenger newspaper
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“We Will Develop Tavan Tolgoi on Our Own Resources”: D.Bat-Erdene

One of important events happened in the country’s mining industry over the past half year became the establishment of “Mongol-999 National Consortium” Ltd, the first-ever attempt by national firms to develop domestic mineral deposit with own resources.

Daily News newspaper has interviewed D.Bat-Erdene, chairman of the Governing Board of “Mongol-999 National Consortium” Ltd.
How many companies did merge to “Mongol-999 National Consortium” Ltd so far?
In less than ten days, 1,550 national companies have registered. There are 5,000 national companies running active businesses in Mongolia. “Mongol-999 National Consortium” Ltd is open for all of them to register and become a shareholder.

What your National Consortium can benefit to Mongolian people?
There is a wrong trend newly emerged in Mongolia that people work for a political party that won elections, that is more powerful and wealthy and that can promise more in terms of income and personal career of that person. If such system remains regulating all social and economic life of the country, the future of our children cannot be so bright. In order to address this problem, we, the owners of some national companies, have decided to set up a consortium of national taxpaying companies, as we already know what does the responsibility and accountability mean. First, we thought of uniting 999 national firms for our consortium. But we have found out that our project was a long-lasting demand by the people. Numerous national companies have supported and united themselves to the consortium. This is the first and significant step showing that Mongolian businessmen can come together to start a community-beneficial activity using own resources. There is no economic generation in Mongolia because few big companies are linked with politicians and the two shares same interest and pocket. We have a realistic opportunity and possibility to establish a big national company of which every citizen is shareholder and provide the country without external credits and assistances.

Do you think it is possible that not only companies but also individuals can be a part of this?
We held the first meeting of founders and shareholders on May 5. The meeting held in a very organized and fruitful way. There is an understanding that only public organizations and political parties can hold meetings. Our meeting showed that the most organized and responsible people are our company owners. In total 1550, national companies registered as founders. More and more companies are waiting to register to “Mongol-999 National Consortium” Ltd as shareholder. At the founders’ meeting, we considered a version to issue shares with a cheap nominal price with the purpose of making every citizen of Mongolia a shareholder. At the present, one company holds shares of MNT1 million. It is possible that registered capital of the national consortium amounts MNT5 billion if 5,000 national companies register to Mongol-999.

Then isn’t it not open for individuals?
It is right but for today. In the future, systematic actions will be taken to make each citizen of Mongolia shareholders. We want to show national solidarity based on a thing that Mongolians are capable of. That is exactly the Tavan Tolgoi. There is no need of foreign specialists and foreign credits to develop this mine. We have already lost the Oyu Tolgoi to foreigners. We cannot give the Tavan Tolgoi to foreigners. The Cabinet and the Parliament financed by Mongolian taxpayers is going to make the tender bid for Tavan Tolgoi Mine without announcing it to Mongolian people and businessmen, only giving invitation to some eleven foreign companies. It is strange that they don’t want national companies in this tender bid. It is possible that Mongolian citizen look wealthy like Arabians. It is not acceptable that officials illegally become rich by taking shares from foreigners. Let us share the profit from our own natural resources equally and live wealthy.

Is it possible that few big companies like Ajnai company that you own, will have more priority in the “Mongol-999 National Consortium” Ltd and serve for interest of few companies?
It is not possible. Ajnai Company has only one million tugrug shares like other member companies do. 1,550 companies have equal rights and none of them has a priority. As a person who leads the management of the company operating near the Tavan Tolgoi Mine, I know better than others that we, Mongolians, are capable of doing the coal exploration on our own among other mineral explorations. Today “Tavan Tolgoi” Ltd, whose 51 percent is owned by local administration, distributes dividend of MNT55,000 per share. In recent years it distributed about MNT10,000 per share. It is the dividend that never been in Mongolia before. There is no foreign investment and foreign specialists. Thus, why the politicians want foreign companies take the Tavan Tolgoi, when we, Mongolians, have managed to achieve such results without the help of foreigners.

The community has different understanding about those elected in the Governing Board. Following this, people are afraid that the good initiative may go wrong way and that it might become a play by a group of people? What would you say about that?
I felt so much confidence when 1550 companies came together on May 5. I felt that we are doing right thing for the future of our children’s. Our Mongolian scholars and experts have proven that how much we can benefit from the Tavan Tolgoi mine if we can properly use the Tavan Tolgoi resource with own resources. The investment by some 2000 national companies can easily collect many billion dollars, which is believed affordable only from foreign resources. We must take this opportunity. Do we really need the country that relies on government allowances and pensions, that shares income with foreigners and that is full of agents of mineral licenses. Indeed this is the reflection of foreigners’ policy attempting to dampen the future of Mongolia and make us a weak nation. Why we should share our profit with foreigners, we are fully capable of uniting our money and resources and doing work on our own and making profit for ourselves only. Instead, we must share it with our future generation. If we won’t do that now, Mongolia will no longer exist.
There are different people among our shareholders. The society can make anyone black or white. We cannot move forward and there can be no talk about national unity if we sort out each other into bad or good. We decided that there is no censure or criterion for Governing Board members.

Do you think you can find a common language with authorities?
The government that works for its country and people must understand any goodwill initiative intended for the sake of Mongolian people. It is true that every new thing is always difficult. We do know and must work being aware of that we would face many counter activities against our initiative both from externally and internally.

Is there any guarantee that none of you will fall under the influence of a political pressure?
There can be no interest of any political party or force. Otherwise, our efforts will crumble. Truly speaking, foreigners’ policy towards Mongolia looks like willing to help Mongolia develop its country. Indeed they are trying to disturb our unity against our independence. Only few people in power, who take shares for granting our resources to foreigners and become wealthy, cheat the people by distributing cash allowance once in a four year, leading to national poverty. That is how our future is seen. Falling under the influence of a political party or force under such circumstance would be a suicide.

Can the unification of national companies raise the money sufficient to develop the Tavan Tolgoi Mine to 100 percent?
Totally possible. We don’t want foreign money when we have own mineral resource. As for foreign companies, money is the right to buy this resource only. It will make MNT300 billion if we sell 6.4 billion tons of Tavan Tolgoi coal at the price of US$50 per ton. But our politicians are just talking about taking 100 million dollar from abroad. We cannot beg foreigners and machinate in order to get small piece of a big cake, when we have wealthy resources. We must stop conspiracy and make it open. Land resource is the one that is no recoverable. In this regard, we must exploit our big deposits to highest economic profits. To ensure this, the play must be open. All businesses of our national consortium, including Governing Board meetings, investments, finances and others, will be open and transparent. I feel that our spirit for the country will be fundament for our national unity.

“Mongol-999 National Consortium” Ltd is an ordinary business entity. How open is the ownership of Tavan Tolgoi Mine to such business entity?
I hope all issues will be settled since it is for the interest of Mongolia. We are working with national mining experts. With respect to money rising, we intend to cooperate with a team from the University of Finance and Economics.
source :The UB Post
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Amai Returns in Mongolia

Recently, Mongolian man J.Zolbayar (nick name is Amai) back in mother land. Amai went for tour and to advertise about Mongolia around the world four years- six months ago.

On May 16, 2010, he organized a meeting with Mongolians in main square of UB and there were Amai’s family, friends, readers of his blog, state honored artist Jargalsaikhan and top model Bolormaa in the meeting, which was held at Sukhbaatar Square.

He paid tribute to the statue of the Chinggis Khaan after the meeting. Amai visited to a total of 69 countries and he said that “I did not want to write about all countries. There were my unknowns so many countries in the world. I think that other Mongolian man will visit to other countries and to advertise about Mongolia”.

But, his journey not finish yet. He is planning to tour to European countries after some break in motherland.

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D.Dorligjav: No mercy to corrupt prosecutors

Parliament last Friday approved the appointment of D.Dorligjav as Prosecutor General, with 92 percent of MPs accepting his nomination by the President. Talking to reporters after the Parliament vote, Dorligjav said his priority will be to ensure that prosecutors at all times abided by the law. The goal of the proposed judicial reforms is to encourage those who work competently and according to proper practice, but at the same time “to show no mercy” to those who bring disrepute to the judiciary and abuse their power.

The reforms program will cover some 20 interrelated laws, as indicated by the President. Piecemeal or ad hoc amendments to individual laws are not being favored. Instead, the emphasis will be on changing the big overall picture. He admitted it will not be easy to change entrenched mindsets but people’s faith in the judiciary must be restored by enforcing that cases are decided strictly on a legal basis, and on no other consideration.

Born in Uvs aimag in 1959, Dorligjav trained as a veterinarian and a lawyer in Mongolia and also attended the Military Politics Institute in Moscow from 1980 to 1983. Among the important positions he has held are Minister of Defense, Chairman of Erdenet Mining Concern, head of the Democratic Party, Advisor to Prime Minister, Secretary General of DP, and head of the President’s Office.

He and his wife have two children.

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Chinese agricultural experts give assistance to Mongolia

Fourteen agricultural experts from Inner Mongolia selected by the Ministry of Agriculture recently left for Mongolia to participate in the two-year China—Mongolia "South-South Cooperation" Project, providing technological aid.

The dispatched experts will work in eight regions in Mongolia, and provide expert technical aid focusing on animal feed production, livestock farming, plant protection, agricultural irrigation, facility agriculture, agricultural machinery, and food inspection, and will help make important breakthroughs in terms of agricultural and pastoral technologies in Mongolia.

By People's Daily Online
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Mongolia Celebrates Its First Planting Day

Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj planted trees in the yard of a kindergarten in the capital city of Ulan Bator on Saturday, marking the country's first Planting Day.

According to a decree issued on April 16, 2010 by the president, Mongolians are to plant trees on every second Saturday of May and October.

It was estimated 35,000 trees would be planted throughout the country on Saturday.

"The most important work after planting trees is that we must take care of the trees as we take care of our infants," the president said in his speech.

Mongolia is a country with a fragile ecological environment and a low forest coverage rate. Almost 72 percent of its total land has turned into desert, and about 90 percent of its grassland, which once fed its cattle, has badly deteriorated.

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Discover Mongolia 2010 to Take Place on September 8-10, 2010

he Organizing Committee of Discover Mongolia is pleased to announce that the 8th annual International Mining Investors Forum shall take place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on September 8-10, 2010.

(PRWEB) May 15, 2010 -- The Organizing Committee of Discover Mongolia is pleased to announce that the 8th annual International Mining Investors Forum shall take place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on September 8-10, 2010.

“Mongolia is an exciting frontier in minerals industry where world class deposits are being discovered. Among them are the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold deposit and Tavan Tolgoi- the world’s largest undeveloped coking coal deposit and many others” said Mr. Ankhbayar Gurdorj, Chairman of the Organizing Committee.

Mongolia welcomes investment in minerals business, and “Discover Mongolia” International Mining Investors Forum remains as a resourceful base to launch and expand businesses, establish new contacts, learn of the latest developments and make deals.

In 2009, the 7th “Discover Mongolia” Forum was solely organized by the Mongolian National Mining Association. Yet, this year, the founding members have decided to shoulder the efforts of the MNMA to add more value to the Forum and reinvigorate the business and entrepreneurial spirit of among the participating investors by boosting the quality, content and scope of the Forum events- Mining Conference, “Government Hour” a panel session with Government officials and Government policies in the mineral industry, Investors’ Exchange Exhibition, Mine Tour and a Fishing Tour, the traditional events under the Forum.

Online registration has started at www.discovermongoliaforum.com. There you may also reserve your exhibition space.

About the organizers

The Forum was initiated by a group of proactive mineral consultancies in 2003 – Mine Info LLC and Monrud LLC and since then until 2009, these companies in close cooperation with the Mongolian National Mining Association- the largest professional NGO in Mining had organized the forum.

For more information please contact:

Enkhjin Purevjav Phone: 976-99020607 Fax: 976-11-319761

###

Source : PRWeb
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Parliament Wants Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) to Deal with Big Fish

Mongolian Parliament has organized an open hearing over accountability of public officers, who failed to declare accurate annual assets and incomes. The hearing was the first of its kind since the country’s anti-corruption law was enacted in 2006, and an independent anti-corruption agency was established.
Chairman of the Standing Committee on Justice B.Bat-Erdene last Wednesday heard reasons why those public servants have failed to submit declaration within legal period, February 15 of each year, and opinions of their supervising officers for why not taking accountability measures as prescribed by law: resignation, temporary suspension, and termination of employment.


At the beginning of the meeting, where more than 40 observers were present, J.Batsaikhan, an official at the monitoring and inspection department of the Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC), briefed about latest entries. “Around 99 percent of total 53,016 public officers of Mongolia have submitted their assets and income declarations of last year. 21 of them had inaccurate information over savings, housing, vehicles, shares and incomes they had generated last year,” Batsaikhan said. But the authority admitted that not all of those total public officers are screened for detailed inspection.

MP Z.Enkhbold, who was at the panel, expressed his doubt that only eleven officers were present at the hearing out of total 53,016. He said more high ranking officials could have been called to this meeting.

The first public officers to speak out were G.Bolortuya, a customs inspector of Dornod province; and J.Tuyatsetseg, a tax inspector of Bayangol District Tax Office. “I was sick from year beginning until the end of February in a hospital. It is my fault that I missed the deadline to declare my assets and income. I submitted those three days later,” said G.Bolortuya.
“At that time, my mom was sick, receiving an intensive medical treatment at the hospital. I live with my mom in a ger district. I have nothing to hide from the State,” stated J.Tuyatsetseg in a trembling voice. She acknowledged her fault that she missed legal deadline. Their supervising officials: Chief Officer of the General Customs Office D.Tseveenjav, and Director General of the National Taxation Office Ts.Oyunbaatar told committee chair that Tuyatsetseg’s two month salary was cut by 20 percent, and Bolortuya was given a warning. The committee warned the higher ranking officials a strict implementation of law, not “friendly” measures over sick of leave as there is no such legal paragraphs.

MP D.Oyunkhorol, an only women member at the panel, has criticized the hearing organizers for what she called harassing small officials in low level over corruption while leaving the “big fish” to go unpunished. Her statement was applauded by observers, and ordinary citizens. Some MPs nodded that until the “big fish” were taken to court and punished, they would continue to doubt the IAAC’s independent status. In a question where are “big fish”, anti-corruption agency had not commented.

Ts.Janlav, Governor of Dornod province, was the next person to describe why he did not declare four housings that his spouse owns, and significant shares of Dornod JSC.

As a former private business owner, Janlav said, “My family used to own 270,000 shares of Dornod JSC. I declared those in 2007 declaration. We have sold them in 2007. No longer necessary to declare, I think”. He also declared that he has sold two-storey private house he used to own, and transferred ownership of four housings to his spouse, who also work for public sector and declared in hers separately.

L.Amgalan, Governor of Bayangol District of Ulaanbaatar, said she had misunderstandings how to fill the declaration form. She said she had no intention to hide her properties as she did not know she had to declare her private apartment in Bayangol District. “I understood a form question ‘properties’ as business premises for industrial or service use, not for residence purpose,” Amgalan said. She said that she has transferred Delgerekh LLC to her relative after assumed to public job. “But due to the company chapter has not been rewritten yet, I did not know I was still listed as one of the founders,” added Amgalan, who also said she did not know there were “leftover” cash balance in her Golomt Bank savings account being counted.

Ch.Khurelbaatar, a chief officer of the Cabinet Secretariat Office, who was called to the hearing on behalf of former Prime Minister S.Bayar as supervising officer of provincial governor; and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar G.Munkhbayar as supervising officer of district governor, said that the prime minister and city mayor are no “legally capable” to interfere decision of local legislative bodies who usually make “friendly” conclusion in favor of their governors. Committee chair criticized the local level legislative bodies have no will to fight against corruption.

In following, B.Khurts, an officer of the National Security Council, explained the reasons why he did not declare two private businesses, housings and vehicle that his father bought under his name. R.Bat-Erdene, Director General of MIAT Mongolian Airline, commented 27 cattle he had to declare “Some had already died in the recent dzud disaster, and rest of others has been sold. No animal is left”.

S.Tsetsgee, Director of the Capital City Customs Office, told the Committee Chair Bat-Erdene in shaking voice that she has been working for public sector for the last 27 years, and has “no will” to hide information. The IAAC charged her hiding information about private businesses of her family members. D.Tseveenjav, Director of the General Customs Office, said that salary of Tsetsgee, who repeatedly missed the legal deadline in 2006 and 2007, has been cut by 30 percent, and her ranking was lowered down for one year.

The three hours long open hearing, that was televised nationwide, concluded that the recommendation by IAAC about strict implementation of law has often been “blurred” at higher level of implicated public officers.
source: The UB Post-Leading English News
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