September 5-September 12, 1998
 
 
  1. Trade-Central Asia/Caucasus: a Silk Road for the 21st Century

  2. Russian crisis won't affect Uzbekistan, says Islam Karimov

  3. President Karimov to visit Israel

  4. Javier Solana to visit Uzbekistan

  5. President's Cup to start on Saturday

  6. Shahimardan recovers from flood

  7. Government decree to reduce government staff

  8. Uzbek aircraft fto offer 25 percent stake

  9. U.S. troops will take part in exercises in Central Asia

  10. Bukhara celebrates 1025th anniversary Abu Raihan Beruni

  11. Uzbek Airways and Balkan Airlines to sign a contract

  12. One-third of Tashkent gas stations to work 24 hours a day

  13. Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux leaders to meet President Karimov

  14. International Association of Kurash is founded

 
  Uzbek President to visit Baku for TRACECA project
  A summit of 34 countries connected, directly or indirectly, with the New Silk Road opened on September 8 in the Azeri capital of Baku to launch the TRACECA (Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasia-Asia) project. The purpose is to link landlocked Central Asia and the Caucasus with the ports of southern Europe and Romania and Ukraine, providing these regions with quicker and cheaper access to international markets, and augmenting their political and economic independence. Under the ornate ceilings of Baku's Gulustan palace the heads of states are finalizing the text of four agreements to be adopted at the end of the conference tomorrow, the chief of the conference's press center, Rustam Mammadov, told reporters. The quartet of accords include a comprehensive agreement on international transport with a technical supplement, two agreements on use of international highways and railway transport, and a comprehensive accord on customs procedures. Besides the host Azerbaijan, five Central Asian countries and Turkey, the 15 European Union countries, Norway, Poland, Japan, China, South Korea, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldavia, Ukraine, Mongolia, Georgia, Armenia, the United States, the United Nations and other international organizations are participating. Azeri president Haidar Aliyev stressed the rising significance of the Caucasus and Central Asia both as an East-West transport corridor and the source of vast reserves of oil and natural gas. "The further strengthening of relations and the deepening of cooperation will bring political dividends," Aliyev told reporters in Baku today. "The main aim is to ensure peace and stability and mutual understanding between states." In a striking demonstration of the commercial attractiveness of the project, Armenia is also taking part, despite the fact that Azerbaijan and Armenia are still deadlocked over Armenia's armed seizure of Azerbaijan's enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. Around 35,000 died in the fighting, and the 1994 ceasefire has so far failed to lead to a lasting settlement. "The foundations of this project were laid in 1993 in Brussels with the participation of representatives of the Caucasus and Central Asian countries," said Aliyev, quizzed on Armenia's participation. "Therefore, Armenia has the right to take part in this project." During a visit to London in July, Aliyev outlined the potential. Four million tons of cargo -- which included Kazhakh oil and Uzbek cotton -- ferried along this route last year was four times the figure for 1996. The total for the current year is expected to rise even more sharply. TRACECA was first mooted at a European Union (EU) conference in Brussels in May 1993 as a follow-up on the agreement to build a Trans-Caspian highway and transport corridor by Georgia and Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The Brussels conference was attended by the transport and trade ministers of eight countries, three from the Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) and five from Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan). Stress was laid on regional cooperation, absent in the past, and that these countries should reduce their dependence on Moscow for trade routes to the outside world. That meant opening new trade routes circumventing the old Soviet system. Turkmenistan had already started by linking up the old Soviet rail network with that of Iran, endowed with a long coastline in the Gulf and on the Arabian Sea. The 1993 meeting came up with the idea of reviving the ancient 6,400-kilometer "Silk Road" that connected the Europe of the Roman Empire with China. The only nominal difference was that the New Silk Road was required to mesh with existing networks coordinated by the 16- member Pan-European Transport Conference. At subsequent annual meetings, membership of TRACECA was extended to Ukraine, Moldova and Mongolia. The TRACECA project is being undertaken at three different levels: local, national and regional. Working in conjunction with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank, the EU finances individual projects to improve trade and transport. These include works to upgrade Baku's seaport, highways in Turkmenistan, and improving Armenia's road network. Also, to further TRACECA, the EU cooperates with another regional body, the Black Sea Cooperation Council (BSCC) -- formed in 1992 by the six countries surrounding the Black Sea -- and Azerbaijan. The EU is also funding a plan to connect the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Ilyichevak with the Georgian port of Poti by ferry, a project which will be completed in 1999. This dovetails with the overall plan to create a transport corridor that will link Central Asia through the Caspian Sea with the Caucasian states, then through the Black Sea to the ports in Ukraine and Romania as well in the Mediterranean. The ultimate aim is to build an integrated network, consisting of roads, railways, seaports, and ferry services. "The significance of the TRACECA project is very great. This project has been worked on for five years and is already yielding economic and political dividends," Aliyev said today. But it will in the next century that the TRACECA project will bear fruit. However its sponsors have already touched a romantic nerve among Europeans and Asians alike by comparing it to the legendary Silk Road, thus blending the technological future with the leisurely past.
 
  Russian crisis won't affect Uzbekistan
  President Karimov gave a news-conference before his departure to Baku on September 7. In addition to speaking about his trip to the Azeri capital, the President also expressed his opinion about the financial crisis in Russia. He said that no particular Russian politician could be blamed for the turmoil. It is the system and the path of economic reform that were initially determined wrong. President Karimov said that the crisis in Russia in no way would affect Uzbekistan, because Uzbekistan imports only machinery and equipment and no food from Russia. He also said that the Russia should have fixed a floating rate of its ruble, like it is now in Uzbekistan where the limit would be 110 soums per dollar by the end of this year. President Karimov also announced that Uzbekistan would sign the Article 8 of the International Monetary Fund by the year 2000 which obliges a country to guarantee current and then full convertability of its currency. So the Uzbek soum is going to be fully convertable by the year 2000.
 
  President Karimov to visit Israel
  Uzbek President Islam Karimov will visit Israel September 14-16 to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and promote commercial ties. Karimov is expected to sign a number of bilateral agreements, including deals on taxes, trade and cooperation in public health and agriculture. The official visit was agreed to in May when Netanyahu made a brief stop-over in Tashkent on his way home from China. Some 120,000 of the 145,000 Jews living in Uzbekistan at the end of Soviet rule have left the predominantly Muslim Central Asian country of 23 million. Of these 70,000 emigrated to Israel. Trade between the two countries last year was tiny at only 20 million dollars. "Uzbekistan and Israel have developed good partnership relations. Israel was one of the first to recognise Uzbekistan's independence and establish diplomatic relations with it, after which the two countries established beneficial cooperation in the economy, agriculture, health care, cultural and social life," said Erkin Vakhidov, Chairman of the Uzbek Parliament Committee on International Relations. "Many Israeli projects have already been implemented in Uzbekistan and some other are in the development stage. Among them are such big projects as new techniques to grow vegetables, the use of micro-irrigation technology, and the establishment of private-owned dairy farms," Vakhidov pointed out. "A number of joint ventures in various fields, including the sphere of telecommunications, have been established in Uzbekistan in recent years. At intergovernmental level, the sides have signed an agreement on a regular air service between Tel Aviv and Tashkent," the Uzbek parliamentary committee chairman said.
 
  Javier Solana to visit Uzbekistan
  NATO Secretary General Javier Solana will pay a one-day visit to Tashkent in the end next month to discuss relations between Uzbekistan and NATO in the framework of the Partnership for Peace military program. An official from NATO said that his organization has no plans for interfering with the Afghan conflict if it spreads beyond the Afghan borders.
 
  President's Cup to start on Saturday
  Tashkent will host a large international tennis tournament beginning September 12. The President's Cup will be held for the fifth time in Uzbekistan since 1994 and for the second time it will be held as a part of the ATP-Tour. Around forty players have been invited to take part in this competition. Last year's winner Tim Henman of Great Britain is seeded second. He will visit Tashkent again. Swiss Marc Rosset, Russian stars Evgeniy Kafelnikov and Marat Safin, French Cedric Pioline and legendary Boris Becker will also visit Tashkent to compete for a 66,400 dollar-first-prize and 170 ATP points. The runner-up will receive 39,000 dollars of the half a million-dollar prize money. Tennis became popular in Uzbekistan due to President Islam Karimov's great interest in and concern over sports in Uzbekistan. He says that in order to make any kind of sport popular in the country, government officials should be the ones to start playing first and to help sports develop. This brought about a new tennis tournament called "Havas" for senior government officials. Over 450 tennis courts have been built in the country during the last two years with hundreds of tennis clubs opening for children. Uzbekistan's National tennis team will play against Australia in Davis Cup's Qualifying Round for the World Group 1999 in the end of September.
 
  Shahimardan recovers from flood
  Shahimardan destroyed earlier by the flood is recovering. The river of Ak-Su has been returned to its original channel. Powerful dikes were installed along its banks. Part of the evacuated residents are moving back to new homes. The reconstruction works haven't been completed yet. There are still many problems troubling the province administration on the eve of fall's cool days. One of such problems is the absence of enterprises for the area with 5.5 thousand residents.
 
  Government decree to reduce government staff
  The Cabinet of Ministers issued a decree "On Measures for the Reduction of Administrative-Management Apparatus" according to which by the end of this year the government body will shrink by 20-25 % in order to prevent the bureaucracy from creating problems for business circles. The released means will go for the stimulation of other government employees.
 
  Uzbek aircraft firm to offer 25 percent stake
  Uzbekistan's Tashkent Chakalov Aeroplane Factory said on Friday it was offering a 25 percent stake for sale to foreigners. "The company will accept bids from local and foreign investors for rights to own a 25-percent stake of its charter capital," the factory said in statement. "The nominal value of the stake is $61.6 million." A company official said that bids would be accepted by November 1. He said the Central Asian state's government would announce the winner in December. He did not exclude a sale of the stake to several investors. Invitations to buy the stake were sent to 15 foreign companies, he said. These include British Aerospace and U.S.-based Boeing , Germany's Hobas AG and Wemex Handel GmBH, as well as U.S. bank Citibank, the European bank for Reconstruction and Development and Russia's Inkombank. The plant, which produces wide-body cargo Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft and 52-seat Ilyushin Il-114 passenger planes, was transformed into a joint-stock company in 1996. Last year the plant offered investors a 14-percent stake, but the negotiations were deadlocked because the government said the plant's assets appeared to be undervalued. In May this year the country's State Property Committee re-evaluated the company, saying it was worth $246.4 million, and allotted a 25-percent stake for sale to investors. The state is the main shareholder in the company with 51 percent, while the workers hold 10.6 percent of shares. The state-owned National Bank for Foreign Economic Activity and the Foreign Economic Relations Ministry each hold a 6.7 percent stake.
 
  U.S. troops will take part in exercises in C. Asia
  Soldiers from the Tenth mountain infantry division of the U.S. army will leave for Central Asia on Sunday, where they will take part in the "Centrazbat-98" international exercises. Pentagon Spokesman Kenneth Bakon stated on Thursday that taking part in the exercises, in addition to the American officers and men, would also be a peace-making battalion, formed by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, as well as units from Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. The manoeuvres, intended mainly to practice joint peace-making operations, will be held in accordance with the NATO Partnership for Peace Programme. They will begin on the territory of Uzbekistan and will end in Kyrgyzstan. The first "Centrazbat" exercises were held in Central Asia last year.
 
  Bukhara celebrates 1025th jubilee scholar Beruni
  This week Bukhara celebrated 1025th anniversary of the greatest scholar Abu Raihan Beruni. Only 30 works of the East's mathematician came down to us. The youth, teachers, art and literature people gathered around his monument in the town in Bukhara that carries his name to pay homage to the scholar. Last year the international academic expedition visited Afghanistan where Beruni's burial place was and brought some soil from the grave-yard.
 
  Uzbek Airways and Balkan Airlines to sign a contract
  The Uzbek National Airways company and the Bulgarian Balkan Airlines signed an agreement on cooperation. The beginning of cooperation was possible due to President Karimov's recent visit to Bulgaria and an agreement on cooperation in civil aviation. The new agreement is aimed at joint operation of a new flight Tashkent-Sofia-New York, training of summer crews at training centers of both countries, and at maintenance services for Bulgarian jets at Uzbekistan's airmaintenance factory. The new flight connecting Tashkent and New York via Sofia will open October 30.
 
  1/3 of Tashkent gas stations to work 24 hours a day
  This week a new Government decree attacked all small so-called businessmen for making money from selling petroleum in the streets of Tashkent and called for improving services at legal gas stations. There have been two problems with illegal gas stations - they didn't pay taxes and there was no guarantee that petrol purchased from them was not mixed with something else. However it was convenient for drivers, because at government gas stations you have to wait too long and at nights they are not open. So street gas sellers would be there to help you or you would have to beg by-passing cars for fuel. Now seems like the decree will end drivers's problems. 10 gas stations, one-third of all stations in Tashkent are now open 24 hours a day.
 
  Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux leaders to meet President
  On Thursday President Karimov met with a delegation from the French company Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux It is one of the largest financial and industrial companies in Europe. Its main business are water management, energy, real estate, waste processing and telecommunications. The company is working on certain projects in Uzbekistan for the modernization of the creation and management of a system of water supply and water purification. A 48-million-franc credit agreement for the projects was signed past April by the governments of Uzbekistan and France. President Karimov expressed his satisfaction over the developing bilateral relations.
 
  International Association of Kurash is founded
  September 6 will be a great day in the history of the Uzbek national wrestling kurash. Last Sunday representatives and athletes from 22 countries visited Tashkent for the first international kurash tournament President's Cup. But before that the delegates decided to found an International Association of Kurash and to hold the First World Kurash Championship in the fall of 1999 in Tashkent. As for the tournament, unfortunately and surprisingly no Uzbek athlete won neither silver nor gold medal, but two Uzbek wrestlers created a sensation. 90 kg Alisher Saburov defeated 130 kg wrestler from the United States who beat two of his previous competitors in 35 and 13 seconds. Another athlete from Uzbekistan 95 kg Kamol Muradov won over the giant Ukrainian wrestler, 180 kg Valentin Roslyakov. Tournament winner came from Turkey. Selim Tatar Ogly defeated 1992 Olympic Champion from Georgia Damir Hoholashvili and won both the gold medal and the applause of 15,000 fans who came to watch the final match at the newly constructed sports complex "JAR". Here is an information about kurash.
"A state with developed descendants is more powerful." Amir Temur. Kurash is the Uzbek national and cultural heritage and the property of Uzbek people. It reflects the bravery, fairness and courage of our ancestors, who competed for strength and victory. Today it is historically proven that the roots of the Uzbek national wrestling date back to the fourth century BC. It became widely popular at the time of Pahlavan Ali, Prophet Muhammed's son-in-law, who was famous in the Muslim world for being the King of Warriors in the fifth-sixth centuries. The peak of kurash's development coincides with the reign of Great Commander Amir Temur known in the West as Tamerlane. Historical facts prove Amir Temur's interest in and care for the development and perfection of kurash. About 400 techniques of kurash were known at that time. Kurash was subdivided into four types sports, national, martial and for spectacle purposes. In his works well-known German scholar and historian Hermann Vamber wrote that "Tamerlane's military success was to a great extent possible because of kurash's popularity among the peoples of Maverannakhr and Tamerlane's serious attention to his warriors's commitment to learn kurash." Wrestling Kurash has taken a solid place in the centuries-old national and cultural legacy, property and traditions of the people as sports competitions and national games. No holiday or wedding ceremony in Uzbekistan has been held without kurash competitions in the past and nowadays. Wrestling kurash develops will to victory, strength, endurance, quickness, adroitness, resolution and courage. Names of legendary kurash wrestlers Pahlavan Mahmud, Sapalak Pahlavan, Koratosh Pahlavan and others were well known not only to the people of Turkestan, but also beyond its borders. Such poets and thinkers as Navoi, Mahmud Koshgari, Zahiriddin Bobur and others glorified the arts of national wrestling in their works. The geography of kurash is pretty extensive Turkmenistan, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and other regions of Asia. In September of 1991 the National Federation of Wrestling "Kurash" was founded with new rules being developed and introduced by Merited Athlete of Uzbekistan K. T. Yusupov. The new rules correspond to the requirements of modern wresting. Since that time wrestlers from Central Asia, the Caucasus, Russia, Iran, Ukraine, Turkey and Korea took part in a number of international tournaments held in honor of Amir Temur, Pahlavan Mahmud, Al-Khakim At-Termizi as well as the Independence Cup and the President's Cup.

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