June 20-27, 1998
  1. President receives Chairman of Newmont Gold

  2. President visits Bulgaria

  3. Israeli delegation to visit Uzbekistan

  4. IMF to discuss possibility of single exchange rate

  5. BAT introduces new brand

  6. World Bank supports reforms to Uzbekistan's enterprise sector

  7. State prosecutor demands death penalty for a criminal

  8. 42 Uzbek servicemen take part in NATO exercises

  9. French Ambassador makes six Uzbeks happy

  10. American dance group visits Tashkent

  President receives Chairman of Newmont Gold
  On June 22 President Islam Karimov met with Chairman and President of the Denver-based Newmont Gold Corporation, Ronald Cambre. Newmont Gold Corporation has a joint venture with the State Geological Committee of Uzbekistan in the remote area called Zarafshan. The joint venture is specialized in the processing of ores stockpiled for years using heap-leaching technology unique in the CIS into high quality gold. The gold processing plant was put into operation in May of 1995. President Karimov gave high marks to the joint venture's last year records. He said that the the reduction of gold's value in the world market didn't affect the joint venture's operation. Both sides spoke about increasing the efficiency of the plant and possible additional investments by Newmont Gold.
  President visits Bulgaria
  President Islam Karimov was on a three-day official visit in Bulgaria this week. He met with Bulgaria's senior government officials including President Petr Stoyanov, Prime Minister Ivan Kostov and Parliament Speaker Iordan Sokolov. On Wednesday President Islam Karimov signed there seven documents with his counterpart which included agreements on energy industry, telecommunications, light industry, machine building industry, construction and agriculture. The two sides also agreed to adopt specific measures to build a trans-Eurasia transportation corridor crucial for trade and economic links among central Asian countries, especially those bordering the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Upon his arrival at the Sofia Airport on Tuesday, Karimov said that his three-day official visit here was aimed to lay a new legal basis for the development of bilateral ties. Here in Sofia during a news-conference President Karimov demanded help from the European Union to curb drug trafficking to Western countries. While authorities in Europe seize grammes of drugs, we seize them by the tons, said the President. He also said that Uzbekistan needed equipment and know-how from the European Union. According to President Karimov, Afghanistan accounts for 80 percent of Europe's drugs supply and for 50 percent of the world's heroin supply. He also pointed out that the so-called "narcocracies" supplying Europe were in Central Asia, with Afghanistan being the major source and not not Colombia. On Thursday Islam Karimov visited Feribot complex in Varna executing operations with sea shipments. Annually the complex operates with freight worth of 120 thousand compartments or 3.2 million tons. Last year Feribot received 2,700 tons of cotton from Uzbekistan and then shipped it to different locations. The president also saw the "Odessa's Hero" ferry which can arrange 108 compartments on board.
  Israeli delegation to visit Uzbekistan
  Israeli Industry and Trade Minister Natan Sharansky is to visit Central Asian states on June 28. Leading a delegation of officials, businessmen and industrialists, he will visit Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenstan Sharansky intends to discuss a greater goods turnover between Israel and the countries of the Central Asia. So far, the goods turnover is very low - 20 million U.S. dollars worth annually with Uzbekistan, 10 million dollars with Kazakhstan and two million with Turkmenistan. Sharansky is sure that these figures do not reflect an enormous potential of the economic cooperation, the more so that Israel is interested in the development of contacts with Moslem countries. Now Israel exports to the Central Asia means of telecommunications, chemical fertilizers, machine tools, medical equipment, electric devices, agricultural produce and plastic goods. For its part, Israel is interested in Central Asian oil, gas and non-ferrous metals. Mr. Sharansky said that in thirty years Uzbekistan and not Saudi Arabia would be the center of business in the Muslim world.
  IMF-Uzbekistan: Argument over currency system
  The Central Bank has fixed new exchange rates for foreign currencies this week. Now one dollar is equal to a little more than 91 soums. Tenders are held twice a week. By every tender the dollar's rate is increased. The IMF announced that in the future it would discuss the possibilities of regulating one single exchange rate. IMF's managing director said that the Fund will try to convince Uzbekistan to liberalize its foreign currency system. Currently in Uzbekistan there are three exchange rates with the difference making up almost 100%.
  BAT introduces new brand of cigarettes
  The British American Tobacco-Uzbekistan has produced a new brand of cigarette "Xon Lights". Xon Lights will be made at the Samarkand Tobacco Factory equipped with the modern equipment. The company has invested over 220 million U.S. dollars in Uzbekistan and built a tobacco factory in Samarkand, reconstructed factories in Urgut and Tashkent. The company purchased 10 thousand tons of tobacco from Uzbek farmers this year.
  World Bank gives new loan to Uzbekistan
  On June 18 the World Bank approved a US$28 million loan to Uzbekistan to improve efficiency of privatized enterprises; support the government's implementation of a case-by-case privatization to attract foreign capital; widen public participation in capital markets; protect shareholders; and strengthen the institutional capacity to facilitate enterprise reform. The total project cost is US$47.7 million. The Government of Uzbekistan is providing US$19.7 million. The loan has a maturity of 20 years, including a 5-year grace period, and will be made in US dollars at the Bank's standard interest rate for LIBOR-based single currency loans. Since Uzbekistan joined the World Bank in 1992, commitments total US$379 million for 7 projects.
  Prosecutor demands death penalty for murderer
  A state prosecutor in Uzbekistan demanded the death sentence on Wednesday for a 31-year-old man accused of involvement in a string of murders. The trial of Talib Mamadzhanov and seven others is the third since May aimed at clamping down on what the Uzbek authorities see as the growing threat of Islamic fundamentalism in the former Soviet republic. Mamadzhanov has admitted being part of a criminal group that murdered 12 people between 1994 and 1997, including eight police and a regional official in the Fergana Valley, which is regarded as the main centre of radical Islam in Uzbekistan. ``I will not ask the court's forgiveness, because I acted deliberately,'' Mamadzhanov said. ``I will not ask the people of Uzbekistan to excuse me, because it is blind.'' He added that he had murdered policemen because they had carried out ``injustices'' in society. ``In society the right of Islamists is being violated. This forced me to embark on this path,'' Mamadzhanov said. The prosecutor said the seven other men on trial should be given prison sentences ranging from four to 12 years. Aged between 17 and 42, the seven are charged with crimes including harbouring criminals and possessing weapons. They have asked the court for leniency when it comes to sentencing, possibly next week. Earlier this month, seven men were given prison sentences of between six and 10 years for allegedly attempting to destabilise the country of 24 million and create an Islamist state.
  Uzbek squad participates in NATO exercises
  A special squad of the Uzbek Army took part in the international military exercises in the United States. Cooperative Osprey is an international military exercise program of the NATO's Partnership for Peace program. This year was the third year of Uzbek servicemens participation in it in North Carolina. This time 1,900 servicement from 16 countries participated.The Uzbek squad of 42 soldiers and officers received high marks for their physical condition, quick and orderly actions. The servicemen During two weeks the servicemen practiced on joint peace-keeping operations and rendering a humanitarian aid. On July 1 thirteen U.S. and nineteen Uzbek marines are expected to jump with parachutes over Ferghana. If you will be around, don't miss that spectacle. This will be the second air-jump on our territory. Last year similar exercises were held in Chirchik.
  French Ambassador makes six Uzbeks happy
  Ambassador of France to Uzbekistan Jean Claude Richard presented awards airways tickets to France to six winners of the TV-quizz from Uzbekistan. The winners will have a chance to tour French cities and visit the Mayor's office in Paris. They will also visit some World Cup matches.
  American dance group visits Tashkent
  Well-known American dance group "Schapiro and Smith Dance" has given a two-day presentation at Tashkent's "Ilkhom" theater. One of the four performances in Tashkent were about the repression years in the Soviet Union, GULAG and the horrors of the fascist concentration camps.

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