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Central Asia: Conference In Britain To Focus On Regional Conflicts

London, 8 January 1998 (RFE/RL) -- An academic conference to be staged in Britain this month will examine regional conflicts and international security in the Central Asian and Caucasus region,

The one-day conference (Jan.23) will be staged at Reading University's Center of Euro-Asian Studies, set up in 1996 to promote education and research on the politics and economics of the former Soviet Union and the Central/East European countries.

The conference is expected to be attended by the ambassadors of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, China and Russia.

Among the topics to be discussed are Tajikistan and regional security; the trade prospects of the Central Asian countries; and the opening up of new oil and gas fields in the Caspian Sea region.

One of the conference organizers, Yelena Kalyuzhnova, a former economics adviser to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazabayev, who came to Britain to study in 1995, told our correspondent today the conference will focus on four areas: -- geopolitical trends in the Eurasian region -- international security and regional conflicts -- economic trends, trade patterns and business interests -- relations between Russia, China, Central Asia and the West

Kalyuzhnova said the conference is expected to be attended by some 60 academic experts, diplomats and business people.

Other topics to be discussed include the Kazakhstan economy; Turkey's policy towards Central Asia; relations between Russia and Central Asia; and politics and pipelines in the Transcaucasus.

One paper to be presented to the conference will focus on the opportunities and dangers to the Central Asian countries of economic dependence on raw materials.

A statement by organizers said the conference "will provide an assessment on the new international political and economic environment in Eurasia and the likely trend for the future."

The conference is entitled: "Russia-China-Central Asia -- Geo-politics to Geo-economics."

Kalyuzhnova, who recently completed a book on the Kazakhstan economy, said the Center for Euro-Asian studies has plans to publish a journal about developments in Central Asia.

She said the Center, with a faculty of some 30 academics, has representatives in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia and China. Currently, it has seven students from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and hopes to expand. She said: "We try to cover the politics and economics of all the newly independent states.".