Wednesday 28 April 2004
March 18, 2004
Central Asia: EU Commissioner Wraps Up Regional Visit
EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten ends tomorrow his five-day tour to Central Asia after meeting the presidents of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. During the visit, the first to the region by a European commissioner since 1996, Patten stressed that a sustainable and fruitful relationship requires tangible steps in the four republics to consolidate civil rights and the rule of law.
March 15, 2004
Central Asia: EU Commissioner Begins Rare Tour Of Region
Chris Patten, the European Union's external relations commissioner, today embarks on a rare tour of Central Asia. The visit will take in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan -- bypassing Turkmenistan, which the EU views as undeserving of closer ties. EU officials say Patten will bring a "balanced message," urging greater political and economic reforms, while also recognizing the growing importance of the region in EU foreign policy thinking.
March 11, 2004
Kyrgyzstan: Lawmakers Demand Justice Over 2002 Aksy Killings
Lawmakers in Kyrgyzstan are renewing their criticism of the authorities for failing to punish those responsible for the killing of pro-opposition demonstrators in the southern Aksy Raion in 2002. And for the first time, the secretary of the Kyrgyz Security Council is acknowledging that those who shot at protesters did so intentionally and should be held accountable.
March 05, 2004
Kyrgyzstan: Congress On Russian Language Held In Bishkek Amid Concerns
A three-day international congress on the Russian language in the Commonwealth of Independent States is being held in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek. Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akaev is taking this opportunity to address concerns about a controversial new law requiring the country's officials to know Kyrgyz.
February 26, 2004
World: U.S. State Department Issues Critical Report On Global Human Rights
The U.S. State Department has released its annual report on human rights around the world. Secretary of State Colin Powell called the report a vital instrument not just for informing the public but for guiding U.S. foreign policy. From Washington, RFE/RL correspondents Jeffrey Donovan and Frank T. Csongos report.
February 10, 2004
Central Asia: Report Calls On U.S. To Rethink Its Regional Approach
A new report by a U.S. think tank dissects the key political and military factors at play in the U.S. relationship with the states of Central Asia and lays out a comprehensive approach for long-term U.S. involvement in the region. In an interview with RFE/RL, a co-author of the report explains the study's main findings and recommendations.
February 05, 2004
Kyrgyzstan: Parliament Debating Controversial New Language Law
A draft law that would promote the use of the Kyrgyz language in Kyrgyzstan is generating controversy. Some members of parliament and nongovernmental organizations fear a law promoting Kyrgyz could lead to discrimination against the country's Russian speakers, as well as members of other ethnic communities in the country.
February 04, 2004
Central Asia: What Impact Does Falling Dollar Have On Region?
The U.S. dollar has fallen sharply in recent months against other major world currencies, from the euro and the British pound to the Japanese yen. Its value has also dropped against a number of smaller currencies, including those of Central Asia, where the dollar's decline has had a negative impact on people's financial outlook.
January 29, 2004
Saudi Arabia: Hajj An Ancient Muslim Duty With Modern Trappings (Part 1)
Nearly 2 million pilgrims are in Saudi Arabia this year for the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. RFE/RL reports that increasingly, modern transportation and ancient piety are combining to make the hajj both a worldwide unifying force for Islam, and a security and management challenge for the Saudis.
January 28, 2004
Kyrgyzstan: What Do Amendments To Election Code Add Up To?
Kyrgyzstan's Central Election Commission announced yesterday that amendments and additions to the Election Code have been approved. Some of the changes are significant and likely to affect not only potential candidates and political parties but the way the media cover election campaigns.