Tashkent, April 17 (RFE/RL) - Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty opened a news bureau today in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.
The Tashkent office becomes the 18th news bureau in an RFE/RL
network extending over Central Europe and the former Soviet Union.
RFE/RL Director of Broadcasting Robert Gillette said the Tashkent
facility will enable RFE/RL to more effectively cover political,
economic and cultural developments in Uzbekistan, a Central Asian
country of 23 million people.
The opening of the bureau followed a two-hour meeting involving
Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov, RFE/RL President Kevin Klose,
U.S. Ambassador Stanley T. Escudero, and RFE/RL Uzbek Service
Director Yaqub Turan.
Klose said Karimov welcomed the radios and looks forward to future
cooperation. Klose said Karimov also expressed the hope that the
increased presence of RFE/RL and other Western media in Uzbekistan
will help the development of journalism there.