July 18-July 25, 1998
  1. President Karimov promises currency convertability

  2. USAID gives grant to Red Crescent Society

  Currency convertability to be available before 2000
  On July 23 President Islam Karimov held a traditional meeting at the Cabinet of Ministers to discuss the results of economic and social reform in Uzbekistan for the first six months of 1998. Senior government officials, ministers, heads of large state enterprises and khokims of provinces participated. President Karimov highlighted major achivements and problems in the Uzbek economy. For statistical details for the first half of 1998 go here. In his speech President Karimov said that the Government of Uzbekistan would do its best to sign Article VIII of the Agreement with IMF before the year 2000 - to provide full convertability of the national currency "soum". "However", said the President, "Much depends on us. We need to double our foreign trade in the nearest future." The President was also concerned about the reluctancy of government officials to talk to the media. He explained the reason that was officials' fear for the responsibility of their own words or their ignorance of events.
  25,000-dollar grant to Red Crescent Society
  On July 23 U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan Joseph Presel handed a 25,000-dollar grant to the Red Crescent Society of Uzbekistan as an aid to the Shahimardan flooding. He said that the grant would assist in providing emergency relief for suffering resulting from damage to homes and other community infrastructure that connects the daily lives of the people in the Fergana region. The grant was given to the Red Crescent Society of Uzbekistan because this organization was among the first to arrive in the region with emergency assistance, including food parcels, and knew first hand, the most critical needs in the region. Grant funds provided under this Agreement will be used for the purchase of food and hygiene parcels distributed in the first emergency, food parcels distributed for the longer term, replacement of Red Crescent stocks (principally bedding), and for transport and labor.

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