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Kyrgyzstan: Foreign Minister Tours Caucasus Republics

Bishkek, 31 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyzstan's Foreign Minister Roza Otunbaeva will visit the three Caucasus republics in the first ten days of November.

Our correspondent reports that Kyrgyzstan has not yet established diplomatic relations with Georgia, Armenia or Azerbaijan, and that this is among the topics for discussion. Also, Otunbaeva will prepare for a Caucasus tour by President Askar Akayev. Akayev is expected to visit early next year.

British Royal To Visit Bishkek

Britain's Prince Charles will visit Kyrgyzstan next month . Kyrgyz officials have announced the heir to the British throne will meet President Askar Akayev and other top officials.

Russia's Patriach Alexii to Kyrgyzstan

Russia's patriarch, Alexii the Second of Moscow and all of Russia, will visit Kyrgyzstan next month to participate in celebrations marking 125 years of Christianity in Kyrgyzstan.

Our correspondent reports that President Askar Akayev has issued a decree, setting aside 800,000 som (about $60,000) to repair Voznesensk Cathedral in Bishkek for the anniversary. Other religious organizations have criticized the action, saying they have not received government funds. There are about 40 different religious organisations registered in Kyrgyzstan.

Bank Official Expected To Discuss Currency

The deputy chairman of Kyrgyzstan's Central Bank, Emil Abdumanapov, today is scheduled to hold a news conference in Bishkek. Abdumanapov is expected to focus on significant changes over the past few weeks in the currency exchange rate of Kyrgyzstan's currency (the Som).

Bank officials have said one of the reasons for a decline in the value of the currency is that previously unpaid salaries and pensions have been paid recently, and the purchasing capacity of the people has increased. When the Kyrgyz Som replaced the Russian rouble in May 1993, its rate was four Som to the dollar. It has traded as low as 17 Som to the dollar recently.