Sunday 1 August 2004
July 12, 2004
Analysis: Russia Coordinates New Broadside Against OSCE
At Moscow's instigation, the six CIS states that are members of the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization (Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan), together with Moldova, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, issued a statement in Vienna on 8 July harshly criticizing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and calling for a fundamental refocusing of its priorities and activities.
July 07, 2004
Western Press Review: Kerry Picks A Running Mate, Russia's Central Asia Bid, The Origins Of Terrorism, Serbia's Pro-EU President
Prague, 7 July 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Much press coverage today is dominated by a discussion of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's choice of a vice-presidential running mate. Kerry announced yesterday that he has chosen Senator John Edwards, a dynamic and personable lawyer from North Carolina, to join him in his bid to win the White House from U.S. President George W. Bush this November. The trial of Saddam Hussein also remains a topic of media interest, as does Russia's response to the rise of NATO influence in Central Asia, the Arab world's efforts to encourage democratic reform, how the first Gulf War paved the way for the age of terrorism, and Serbia's new chance to join Europe, following the election of pro-reform and pro-EU Boris Tadic to the presidency.
July 02, 2004
U.A.E.: Muslim Federation Of States Is Hub of International Prostitution
Prostitution is a subject that officials in the United Arab Emirates do not want to talk about. Officially, prostitution does not even exist in the U.A.E., a conservative Muslim federation of autonomous emirates. But in fact, prostitution is a multimillion-dollar industry there. Many of the women involved have traveled or been brought to the U.A.E. from poor countries abroad. And many say they suffer abuse and other difficulties in the emirate's sex trade.
June 25, 2004
Uzbekistan: Ambassador Juggles Human Rights Questions
For years now, Uzbekistan has been the target of one-sided criticism over its human rights record -- one-sided because the Uzbek government of President Islam Karimov customarily declines to respond to its critics. Now the Uzbek ambassador to the United States has appeared at a hearing of the U.S. Helsinki Commission. The ambassador fielded a number of difficult questions.
June 22, 2004
Central Asia: Drug Trafficking Has Devastating Social, Economic Impact (Part 2)
About one-quarter of Afghan heroin and opium destined for European markets is believed to be trafficked through the five Central Asian countries. The illicit trade is having a serious social and economic impact on the region, including the spread of HIV/AIDS. RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari reports in the second and final part of our series on drugs in Central Asia.
June 22, 2004
Central Asia: Drug Addiction Is On The Rise (Part 1)
Central Asia in recent years has become a major transit route for the transport of Afghan opium and heroin to Russia and the lucrative European markets. Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said during a recent trip to the region that at least 25 percent of the drugs produced in Afghanistan crosses through the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. The UN says those figures are accompanied by a worrying rise in drug use in the region. RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari reports in this first of a two-part series on drugs in Central Asia.
June 21, 2004
Archive: The End Of The Aral Sea
A new report by the UN Economic Commission for Europe says that the Aral Sea, formerly the world's fourth-largest inland body of water, is on the verge of disappearing if urgent measures are not implemented. The sea's woes go back to the 1950-60s planned Soviet economy, when huge amounts of water were diverted for cotton irrigation. But in the last decade its situation has become desperate -- the Aral Sea receives only a tenth of the water it once did and has shrunk to half its original size. The report urges the five Central Asian states to cooperate to save the body of water.
June 18, 2004
Central Asia: Uzbek Family Finds Itself Suddenly Straddling Turkmen Border
A joint Turkmen-Uzbek commission recently finished demarcating the two countries' northern border. The agreement clarifies what was previously a poorly marked area. But it may not satisfy all the residents of the border region. RFE/RL looks at one family that finds itself suddenly divided.
June 17, 2004
World: Desertification Threatens One-Fifth Of Global Population
Today marks the United Nations' annual World Day to Combat Desertification -- a process by which fertile land gradually turns into desert. One-fifth of the world's population is currently threatened by the impact of desertification in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and even parts of southern Europe.
June 17, 2004
Russia/Uzbekistan: Presidents Sign Strategic-Partnership Agreement
Ahead of today's meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Tashkent, the Uzbek and Russian presidents have signed a treaty of strategic partnership. The document is a significant step in the rapprochement the two countries have undertaken in the past months.