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Kyrgyzstan: President To Visit Uzbekistan

Bishkek, 7 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - Kyrgyzstan's Foreign Ministry has announced that President Askar Akayev will visit Uzbekistan next month. Our Bishkek correspondent reports bilateral political and economical relations are expected to be discussed with Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov.

Independent Paper Charged Again

The chief editor of the independent weekly "Res Publica," Zamira Sydykova, tells RFE/RL that new charges have been brought against several of the paper's reporters. The head of a goldmining company charges three of the paper's reporters with insulting him.

Chief editor Sydykova is on leave of absence. She and her deputy, Tamara Slashcheva, were convicted of insulting President Askar Akayev and sentenced to one year in prison. The sentence was suspended, but a ban on working as journalists for 18 months was imposed in 1995. Another of the paper's reporters has been sentenced to two years in prison, also for insulting President Akayev.

Mass Media Day Observed

Today is being marked as Mass Media Day, and President Askar Akayev is receiving a group of journalists at his home outside Bishkek.

Foreign Minister Roza Otunbaeva met a group of journalists in Bishkek yesterday, calling them "heralds of freedom," and "judge-critics" of the Kyrgyz authorities.

Silk Road Travelers

A group of international travelers, following the ancient Silk Road, has reached Bishkek. The group, including three historians from Turkey and a historian from the United States, started their journey by camels in China last month, and will visit Tajikistan and Kazakhstan after Kyrgyzstan. Their tour will end in Turkey. Three of the group's seven camels have died during the journey from China to Kyrgyzstan.