October 31-November 7, 1998
  1. Staffing changes

  2. U.S. delegation visits Uzbekistan

  3. Second man in the government resigns

  4. Uzbek President decrees against leaders' wastefulness

  5. Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan sign pacts

  6. Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan seek closer ties

  7. Bank entrepreneur jailed

  8. CIS Railways Council to hold 22nd session in Tashkent

  9. Cabinet of Ministers holds meeting

  10. Uzbek auto investment nears $1 bln. but exports slow

  11. Uzbekistan's statement on situation in Tajikistan

  Staffing changes
  President Islam Karimov appointed Bakhtiyor Alimjanov deputy prime minister of Uzbekistan and Islam Bobojonov minister of agriculture and water management.
  U.S. government delegation visits Uzbekistan
  On November 4 and 5 Ambassador Stephen Sestanovich, Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for the Newly Independent States, visited Tashkent. Ambassador Sestanovich led a delegation of ten officials that included Assistant Secretary of Defense Theodore Warner and Mister William Taylor, Acting Special Adviser to the President and Secretary of State on Assistance to the Newly Independent States. During their visit, Ambassador Sestanovich and members of his delegation met with President Karimov, Prime Minister Utkir Sultanov, Defense Minister Hikmatulla Tursunov, Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Komilov and other Uzbek government officials. They also met with Uzbek citizens outside the government and with representatives of American business in Uzbekistan. The visit of Ambassador Sestanovich and his delegation was part of a series of regular, high-level consultations between the governments of the United States and Uzbekistan. The two sides discussed the full range of issues making up the bilateral relationship, including regional political issues, economic reform, human rights and democratization and military cooperation. Ambassador Sestanovich is also the U.S. Chairman of the U.S.-Uzbekistan Joint Commission. He used his visit to Uzbekistan to help prepare for the next session of the Commission, which will be held in Tashkent.
  Second man in the government resigns
  The Number 2 person in the Uzbek Government and the most influential politician after President Islam Karimov, First Deputy Prime-Minister of Uzbekistan Ismoil Jurabekov, has resigned and been sent to pension over the last night by a presidential decree. (November 4, 1998). Despite being minister of agriculture and water management and deputy to the Prime Minister, Mr. Jurabekov was really second powerful person in the government overseeing all sectors of economy including cotton and controlling many government enterprises.
  President decrees against leaders' wastefulness
  Uzbek President Islam Karimov signed a decree to struggle against manifestations of excessive vanity, pomposity, and wastefulness on the part of political leaders and economic managers in the country. Another point he made was over the ever growing neglect of Uzbek national traditions. The president called attention to the "excessive wastefulness", "foppishness", and "neglect of the people's needs" during official ceremonies staged by "some conceited political leaders and economic managers in the Civil Service." The presidential decree recommended to the mass media that special attention be paid to tuning public opinion against such negative phenomena. The decree also gave instructions to the Prosecutor's Office to take necessary measures in conformity with the current legislation.
  Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan sign pacts
  Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan Saturday signed seven treaties and cooperative agreements in Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan. The pacts, signed on the second day of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev's official visit to Tashkent, ranged from on maintaining permanent friendship and deepening economic cooperation in the 1998-2005 period to jointly fighting crimes. During his two-day visit, Nazarbayev met with his Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov and exchanged views on bilateral relations, issues of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and other international affairs of common concerns, and reached consensus on a wide range of matters, according to news reports. Following a signing ceremony of the agreements, the two presidents held a joint press conference, at which Karimov called the signing of the accords a solid foundation for the two countries to develop their 21st century-oriented relations. Noting that the two countries have had no political, border or military conflicts in the past, Nazarbayev said the treaty on friendship stipulates that the two countries would support each other when either comes under outside invasion. The clause indicates that the pact has a nature of an alliance treaty.
  Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan seek closer ties
  Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan swore eternal friendship this weekend, pledging to tackle key political and economic issues together. "We with (Kazakh) President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed an eternal friendship agreement," Uzbek President Islam Karimov said after a signing ceremony on Saturday in the Uzbek capital. "I am confident that this document will form a solid base for our relations in the third millennium." Karimov decorated Nazarbayev with the national order "For Outstanding Merits," and the two leaders hugged each other. "I believe that together we will be able to influence affairs in Europe and Asia," Nazarbayev said. Karimov said that as well as strengthening bilateral relations, the two Turkic nations would consolidate the region's Central Asian Economic Community that also includes Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Chronic instability in Tajikistan, trying to restore peace after almost five years of civil war, and fighting in Afghanistan are among common political concerns, Karimov said. The meetings of the two leaders, who tolerate no opposition and have ruled their resource-rich but impoverished nations since Soviet times, were heavily overshadowed by media reports of their rivalry for leadership in Central Asia. Both bitterly blamed the region's former imperial centre Moscow for attempts to spoil their relations. "Somebody from the Russian press writes that relations between Tashkent and (the Kazakh capital) Astana have become cold and strained," Karimov said. "I think this happens when Moscow wants it." "Unfortunately, there are still such politicians but, fortunately, this is not the official policy of Russia or its leadership," Nazarbayev said. Both Karimov and Nazarbayev call themselves "strategic partners" of Russian President Boris Yeltsin and would need Moscow's military and political support in the event of a rise in militant Islam in the region. During Nazarbayev's two-day visit to Uzbekistan, the two states signed an agreement on deepening economic cooperation in 1998-2005 and a set of accords aimed at boosting ties in the fuel and energy sectors. Nazarbayev said joint projects would include an international airport to be built on their shared border. Uzbekistan might also deliver its natural gas to China across Kazakhstan, he said. Economists have called into question the prospects for economic cooperation between the two states, noting their different attitudes to market reforms. Kazakhstan, a vast country of 16 million people, has privatised its biggest oil, gas and metals enterprises in the hope that cash injections from many of the world's biggest firms will pick the economy off the floor. Uzbekistan, which has 24 million people, has taken a more gradualist approach to freeing its economy. Karimov has imposed strict foreign exchange limits, allowing only a select group of investors to repatriate profits, while foreign exchange moves freely in and out of Kazakhstan. Overburdened by Uzbekistan's multiple exchange mechanism, trade between the two states shrank to $280 million in 1997 from $390 million in 1996. It was just $130 million in the first eight months of 1998.
  Bank entrepreneur jailed
  The man who set up the first non-state bank in Uzbekistan, Rustam Usmonov, has been jailed for fourteen years, after a court at Andizhan convicted him of perjury, bribe-taking and illegal currency dealings. He'd been in custody since February. Mr Usmonov set up his company, Rustambank, in the early nineteen-nineties but the bank was closed down two years ago, correspondents say, because of disagreements between him and the Uzbek authorities. After an unsucessful bid to enter the Uzbek parliament in 1995 he took Kyrgyz citizenship but continued to pursue business activities in both states.
  CIS Railways Council to hold a session in Tashkent
  The CIS Council of Railway Transport will hold a meeting in Tashkent on Tuesday to discuss a more than 10-item agenda. The meeting is expected to be attended by representatives of the Baltic states, the head of the Uzbek Railway Company, Normat Ermetov, told Itar-Tass on Tuesday. The Council of Railway Transport was created in 1992. In Tashkent it will hold its 22nd session. For two days, its participants will discuss a number of urgent issues, including mutual settlements for the use of freight carriages belonging to other countries, CIS railway tariff policies in 1999, the creation of an inter-state information and computing network of railways of the CIS countries and the Baltic states, as well as safety rules and crisis-management procedures.
  Cabinet of Ministers holds meeting
  The Cabinet of Ministers held a scheduled session to discuss the results of the socio-economic development of Uzbekistan for the past nine months. The Minister of Macroeconomics and Statistics Bakhtiyor Khamidov reported that in the past nine months the Gross Domestic Product rose by 104.4 percent as compared to the last year's index with 65 percent of GDP being produced by non-government sector. The country has also observed the growth in industry, agriculture, capital investments retail trade and paid services. However, according to the minister, the volume of foreign trade has dropped, no assistance is being rendered to small and medium-sized businesses, foreign credits are not used effectively. One of the main topics of the discussion was cotton harvesting campaign. Until today three million tons of cotton, that is 75% of the planned four million tons, have been harvested.
  Auto investment nears $1 bln.
  Uzbek's auto industry has attracted a billion dollars in investment, though the Central Asian state's best known venture is suffering due to troubles in its main market, Russia, industry officials said on Tuesday. The ex-Soviet state has generally ignored calls to open markets and free control of its currency but has still attracted significant investment from auto manufacturers. "The automotive industry of Uzbekistan has attracted about $1 billion, which is actively working on behalf of the republic's economy," Kudrat Parpiyev, chairman of the Uzavtoprom industry association, told a news conference. He said companies worth $280 million had been founded to make auto parts in Uzbekistan-- Turkey's KOC Holding intended to open a $70 million joint venture, SamKOCHavto, in Samarkand by year end, and a joint venture with South Korea's Daewoo Corp <03810.KS> that is up and running had cost $650 million. But an official at the Uz-Daewoo Auto plant said exports had fallen sharply, after a 29 percent rise in volume in the first nine months of the year, since an economic crisis hit its biggest market, Russia, in August. Zhakhongir Mavlani, head of strategic planning, said Uz-Daewoo Auto exports to the Commonwealth of Independent States had risen to 9,000 cars, worth $80 million, in January-September from 7,000 cars, worth $60 million, in the same period of 1997. But he said the 1,000-car-per-month pace of exports had slowed sharply. By the end of the October, Uz-Daewoo Auto would have shipped 200 cars to Moscow. In September, 250 cars had been shipped, he said. In addition, 2,500 cars previously shipped had not been paid for, though he said he expected they would be by year end. "We have not stopped sales," Mavlani said. Production in the first three quarters edged up by about 1,000 to around 45,000 cars. Uz-Daewoo Auto, launched in 1996, produced 65,000 cars last year. Its projected capacity is 200,000 cars a year by 2000. Mavlani said terms had been eased for local buyers and that market was stable, with orders for the next five months. Car sales within the Central Asian state of 24 million people totalled 34,000 units in the first nine months of this year, compared to 30,000 in the same period last year. Locals with access to dollars can buy the local currency, at less than half the official rate, by which vehicle retail prices are calculated. Nexia class C sedans, which make up 95 percent of exports, can be had for the black market equivalent of $5,000, against an export price of $8,000-$9,000.
  Uzbekistan's statement on situation in Tajikistan
  The Foreign Ministry of Uzbekistan has made an official statement on Wednesday in connection with the deterioration of the situation in the Leninabad region of Tajikistan. "The government of Tajikistan supports the course pursued by the Tajik government led by President Emomali Rakhmonov towards realization of the peace process in compliance with the "General agreement on establishing peace and national accord in Tajikistan." The Uzbek leadership believes that there exists and can be no alternative to the peace process, the statement said. Any armed provocation should be viewed as staged by forces who come out against the peace process and pursue their mercenary and clan interests." "All those who seek to undermine the peace process by such acts must clearly realize that Uzbekistan, which is Tajikistan's nearest neighbor, is interested more than anyone else in peace and stability in Tajikistan, that it is prepared to render the necessary assistance and will continue to support the course of the Tajik leadership in the future," the statement said.

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