May 16, 1998
  1. Uzbek government's concern over India's nuclear tests

  2. President Karimov visits Almaty for ECO summit

  3. President Karimov meets with Jewish leader

  4. Bulgarian President stops in Tashkent during a flight to and from China

  5. Scheduled meeting of National Security Council

  6. Uzbek and Russian aviation think about their future

  7. Uzbekistan to hold PFP exercises for the second year

  Government's concern over India's nuclear tests
  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan has released an announcement over India's five nuclear tests. "It is with deep anxiety and alarm that Uzbekistan received the announcement on the series of underground nuclear explosions carried out by India. Special concern arises from the circumstance that these tests were carried out in one of the most heavily populated regions of the world, very close to the southern border of the Central Asian states. These actions were carried out at a time when international society is moving towards the banning of production and distribution of nuclear weapons on the threshold of the 21st century. The nuclear tests carried out by India can lead to the escalation of the arms race in Southern Asia, which would have catastrophic and unpredictable consequences for the security and stability not only regionally but globally. In Uzbekistan it is felt that it would be more sensible to use the huge financial and economic resources that are spent on the production of weapons of mass destruction for the social and economic development of countries of the region. Uzbekistan is the initiator of the proposal to turn Central Asia into a nuclear weapons free zone and condemns the nuclear tests carried out by India. Uzbekistan strongly works against the distribution of nuclear weapons in the world. The government of the Republic of Uzbekistan calls on India to take measures to become a signatory to the nonproliferation agreement on nuclear weapons and the freeze on nuclear testing as soon as possible." Tashkent, May 15, 1998
  President Karimov attends ECO summit in Almaty
  President Islam Karimov was in Almaty May 10-11 to attend the fifth summit of Economic Cooperation Organization. ECO was founded in 1992 by Turkey, Pakistan and Iran. Soon the organization expanded on account of the five Central Asian states and Azerbaijan and Afghanistan. Uzbekistan actively participates in the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). At the 5th meeting of heads of state and government of ECO members in Almaty on May 11, President Karimov said: "It is my firm belief that today we cannot avoid the realities of our existence and that of our neighboring countries. The lack of resolution of sharp problems of confrontation and war in certain countries of our region is evident. For many years they have been causing harm to our peoples and states, and the strengthening of cooperation and trust among countries of the region." Speaking about the prospects of cooperation, President Karimov paid special attention to questions of forming a contemporary, developed system of communications. "Without this, today it is impossible to fully use the great economic potential of the region for the benefit of our peoples." He expressed confidence that all states represented at the forum would recognize the great significance of attaining today the development of a transportation network and communications infrastructure. President Karimov noted that if a critical evaluation of affairs in this area is made, that the agreement made in Ashgabat in May 1997 on broadening the transportation network of the region by reconstructing existing and creating new transport routes is far from being fulfilled. "I think that today it is necessary to activate the process of agreeing among the ECO member countries on a 10-year program of action on transport and communications and to put it into practice," said the President. The transcaucasian route is the most important and realistic for Central Asia, guaranteeing access to the European continent through Turkmenbashi, Baku and Georgian ports. "Uzbekistan is interested in access to ports in Pakistan to the Indian Ocean through Afghanistan. Only the ongoing war and instability in Afghanistan prevent this route from being completed." President Karimov mentioned another important problem for ECO members, the problem of the fight against the drug trade. "From the time of independence," he said, "Uzbekistan has made great efforts and concrete steps in the fight against drugs. A sober evaluation of the harm done by drugs makes it necessary for us to unite our efforts in the struggle with this evil." In conclusion, President Karimov underlined that initiatives and practical action should be directed to the solution of economic and humanitarian aspects of mutually profitable economic cooperation. "In my opinion, a most important task is to turn aside any attempts to dominate by any countries," said the President. "If there are such ideas, we should resist them, and make sure that all decisions answer the interests of all member ECO states."
  President Karimov meets with Jewish leader
  President Karimov received a delegation of the Simon Wiesenthal Center headed by its director for foreign relations Shimon Sauels on May 13. President Karimov hailed the work of the organization, noting that this visit is another important step on the road of strengthening relations between Uzbekistan and Israel and international Jewish organizations. "During World War Two, thousands of Jews found shelter in Uzbekistan," said President Karimov. "Up to now, there has been no anti-Semitism in our country. There are many functioning synagogues here as well as a Central Asian seminary. In several of our cities, there are networks of Jewish communities. This shows that there is inter-ethnic accord." The guests gave a high mark to Islam Karimov's peace-making policy. They visited Synagogues in Samarkand and Bukhara The Simon Wiesenthal Center was created in 1977, and unites more than 440,000 Jews around the world. Its main obejctive is to gather information on people who committed crimes against humanity during WWII and to hand them over to the legal authorities. It also fights racism, international terrorism, Nazi propaganda, threats to democracy, and human rights violations. More than a thousand criminals of WWII have been brought to justice.
  Bulgarian President meets Uzbek Prime Minister
  On May 11 President of Bulgaria Petr Stoyanov stopped in Tashkent during a flight to China. Uzbek Prime Minister Utkir Sultonov and Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Komilov met with him at the Tashkent Airport and spoke about issues related to bilateral cooperation. On May 15 on his way back President Stoyanov again stopped in Tashkent and met with Prime Minister Sultonov. but this time the Bulgarian president had some chance to see the city. He visited the Museum of Temurid History.
  National Security Council holds scheduled meeting
  Uzbek and Russian aviation think about their future
  Uzbekistan and Russia continue to cooperate in the field of aviation. An agreement on this was signed by the two presidents during their meeting in Moscow May 5-7. The agreement allows for the concentration of capital for further working out and producing new planes, for certification and marketing, and for servicing. Issues of spare parts, payment for scientific and technical work and certification are included in the document. A financial industrial group is being formed which will include the Ilyushin, Voronezh and Ulyanovsk airplane factories. The agreement touches on questions of joint work on the IL-76MF and IL-176TF. One important point is cooperation on sales of transport Il planes produced in Tashkent, which will be purchased by Russia for the use of the Ministry of Defense and Civil aviation. At present the IL-76MF is in the certification process, which should be finished by the end of the year. In the next 2-3 years, the prospects for transport planes is favorable, and Uzbek planes will be sold on the international market. Marketing negotiations are being carried out with CIS and Asian airlines. Fortis and Feerman Menisk are acting as foreign dealers. One possibility is to sell on installments. A new leasing company Uzavialeasing has been formed to deal with this. By the end of this year the Il-114-100 will be produced with a Canadian Pratt Whitney engine which guarantees more than 6000 hours of flight time. All agreements with foreign airlines such as Boeing and British Aerospace remain functional. It is necessary for the Tashkent Airplane Factory to guarantee international certification, which has already begun. By the middle of May international certification is expected for the ISO-9000, giving the factory the right to produce parts for all foreign airlines. For Boeing orders, it is necessary to have another certification which meets their standards.
  Uzbekistan to hold PFP exercises for the second year
  Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan will hold military exercises on September 21-26 in the framework of NATO's Partnership for Peace program. Troops from Turkey, the U.S., Georgia, Kazakstan, Russia and the host countries will participate. This will be the second year of hosting PFP exercises for Central Asian states. Last year Uzbekistan (Chirchik) and Kazakstan (Chymkent) held successful NATO-sponsored military exercises.

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