Lecture about Savitsky Museum helps to raise funds for anti-COVID-19 campaign in Uzbekistan
Written by Zaynab Muhammad-Dost
LONDON (TCA) — On June 14, Solidarity with Uzbekistan, a digital fundraising campaign benefited from yet another webinar to help raise money for the vulnerable people affected by COVID-19 lockdown in the country. An interesting lecture about the Savitsky Museum given by its former director Marinika Babanazarova was fully booked. Held at 3pm in London, the Zoom-session attracted over 40 participants dialing in from all around the world, including guests from Europe, New Zealand, Peru, and Canada.
BISHKEK (TCA) — The Publisher’s note: Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Central Asia was the scene of intense geopolitical struggle and the Great Game between the British and Russian Empires, and later between the Soviet Union and the West, over Afghanistan and neighboring territories. Into the 21st century, Central Asia has become the area of a renewed geopolitical interest, dubbed the New Great Game, largely based on the region’s hydrocarbon and mineral wealth. On top of that, the region now is perhaps the most important node in the implementation of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative through which Beijing aims to get direct access to Western markets. Every week thousands of news appears in the world’s printed and online media and many of them may escape the attention of busy readers. At The Times of Central Asia, we strongly believe that more information can better contribute to peaceful development and better knowledge of this unique region. So we are presenting this Weekly Digest which compiles what other media have reported on Central Asia over the past week.
After Nazarbaev: A Review Of Kazakh President Toqaev's Tumultuous First Year
For much of Toqaev's first year as president he was viewed by many as a front man for Nazarbaev, who retained substantial powers as the long-ruling first president and as the head of the Security Council
June 12 — “Three days after winning some 71 percent of the vote in a snap presidential election in which "significant irregularities" were noted by a leading international election monitor, Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev was sworn in as Kazakhstan's second president on June 12, 2019. One year later, it can be said it has been a tumultuous first year on the job.” READ MORE: https://www.rferl.org/a/after-nazarbaev-a-review-of-kazakh-president-toqaev-s-tumultuous-first-year/30667892.html
Impact of COVID-19 on Food Security in Kazakhstan
The Central Asian and Kazakhstan’s agri-food sectors and consumers are experiencing the negative consequences of quarantine restrictions, trade barriers and other factors
June 16 — “The coronavirus pandemic does not threaten Central Asian residents with food shortages. According to World Bank Senior Agricultural Economist Sergiy Zorya, the countries of the region quite effectively managed to ensure stable food supplies to the population during the crisis period. “During the pandemic, Central Asian countries took urgent measures to strengthen food security and support the agri-food sector,” he explained. “In particular, the region’s governments have used state food reserves, reduced the prices for food products due to export restrictions (excluding Uzbekistan, which did not impose restrictions on the export of its fruits and vegetables) and lowering tariffs on imported food products.” READ MORE: https://cabar.asia/en/impact-of-covid-19-on-food-security-in-kazakhstan/
Disproving the discourse of danger: Kazakhstan at thirty
The tangible progress Kazakhstan has made since independence provides real ground for optimism for the future, and discredits the discourse of danger through which many have viewed the region
June 17 — “Central Asian independence thirty years ago spawned enormous anxiety among observers who foresaw cascading threats of Islamic terrorism, internecine war, ethnic conflicts within or between these states, or violence between Russian settlers and their new governments. This so called “discourse of danger” continues to be pervasive. But the record of the largest country in the region, Kazakhstan, shows that many of these fearless have proven baseless.” READ MORE: https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/disproving-the-discourse-of-danger-kazakhstan-at-thirty/
Lack Of Justice Hampers Reconciliation In Southern Kyrgyzstan 10 Years After Deadly Ethnic Clashes
Many questions remain unanswered, including who was responsible for starting the violence and why?
June 16 — “It has been a decade since the deadly ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan and, although the destroyed shops and buildings have been repaired, it's difficult to gauge how much damage remains in the people who survived the horrific chaos of those days in 2010. Nearly one week of killing and destruction -- mainly in the cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad -- left at least 470 people dead, more than 2,200 serious injured, and some 400,000 displaced, mostly ethnic Uzbeks.” READ MORE: https://www.rferl.org/a/lack-of-justice-hampers-reconciliation-in-southern-kyrgyzstan-10-years-after-deadly-ethnic-clashes/30673852.html
Kyrgyzstan: Telecommunications kerfuffle brings down PM
PM Abylgaziyev has insisted he has nothing to answer for
June 16 — “The prime minister of Kyrgyzstan on June 15 fell on his sword in response to mounting calls for a probe into a corruption scandal in the telecommunications sector. In a note announcing his resignation, Prime Minister Mukhammedkaliy Abylgaziyev staunchly denied any wrongdoing. “I have already said, and I want to emphasize again, that I have nothing to do with this case, and the accusations made against me have no basis,” he wrote. “I am confident that the investigation will put everything in its place and identify the people truly violating the law.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/kyrgyzstan-telecommunications-kerfuffle-brings-down-pm
(Non)-Secular Kyrgyzstan or Compliance with Equal Attitude Principles in Republic
The Constitution of Kyrgyzstan has it that religion does not interfere in public administration, yet this principle does not always apply
June 18 — “Ryskul Dzholdoshev, candidate of historical sciences, professor of the department of history and regional studies of the Zh. Balasagyn Kyrgyz National University, said that before the formation of the Soviet Union the majority of Kyrgyz had religious society in the territory of modern Kyrgyzstan. “Back in the Soviet period, the Kyrgyz were secular, and the term was seen as atheism. Only after the collapse of the Soviet Union, secularism was not treated as atheism. People began to understand that secularism is a separation of church and state,” he added.” READ MORE: https://cabar.asia/en/non-secular-kyrgyzstan-or-compliance-with-equal-attitude-principles-in-republic/
Can “Open Skies” Policy Lead to a Tourist Boom in Tajikistan?
Open Skies policy – liberalization of the national air transportation market may become one of the conditions for the growth in the number of foreign tourists
June 10 — “The beginning of 2020 was rich in the appearance of black swan events – unpredictable phenomena that significantly change the situation. COVID-19 also became a black swan event, which has already dealt a severe blow to the global economy. Forecasts depict Tajikistan at least a drop in growth. The World Bank estimates that Tajikistan’s GDP growth will be 1-1.7% in 2020, compared with a growth of 7.5% in 2019. According to some experts, Tajikistan will soon lose migrant money transfers (remittances), budget revenues will decrease significantly, and a severe crisis will begin in small and medium-sized businesses.” READ MORE: https://cabar.asia/en/can-open-skies-policy-lead-to-a-tourist-boom-in-tajikistan/
Tajikistan’s Most Fearless Lawyer Remains Behind Bars
Buzurgmehr Yorov bravely took on the defense of the IRPT leadership and, like his clients, lost his freedom
June 12 — “In 2015, the Tajik government made a concerted effort to stamp out the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT). The IRPT was squeezed out of parliament in March 2015; a pressure campaign to diminish the party followed. Then in quick succession in September 2015, the final moves were made: After a deputy defense minister mutinied and fled Dushanbe with a band of followers, the state claimed he was linked to the IRPT and used the turn of events as a pretext to take down the party. On September 16, 2015 authorities arrested 13 of the party’s top leaders.” READ MORE: https://thediplomat.com/2020/06/tajikistans-most-fearless-lawyer-remains-behind-bars/
Freedom of Media in Tajikistan: “The Pandemic Has Become a Convenient Tool for Tightening the Screws”
A number of Tajik journalists say they feel the increased pressure
June 12 — “Abdullo Gurbati was attacked in the morning of May 29, when he went to Khuroson district of Khatlon region in Southern Tajikistan to report about mudflow-affected residents. According to Gurbati, a car with three unidentified individuals drove up to him near the tent camp. One of them introduced himself as the Chairman of mahalla (a part of the city or village) and demanded Gurbati to introduce himself. Gurbati told that he was a journalist and came to produce journalistic material about the consequences of the natural disaster.” READ MORE: https://cabar.asia/en/freedom-of-media-in-tajikistan-the-pandemic-has-become-a-convenient-tool-for-tightening-the-screws/
Turkmenistan: Is coronavirus façade slipping?
In its ‘Akhal-Teke: A Turkmenistan Bulletin’, Eurasianet reviews the main news and events in the Central Asian country for the previous week
June 16 — “Turkmenistan is in the grip of a pneumonia outbreak. That, at least, is the anonymous official line being reported by independent media. Official information channels never convey bad news of any kind, be it natural disasters, economic crises or health alarms – all of which are currently afflicting the country. The precedent of Tajikistan indicates that a surge of hospitalizations attributed to pneumonia is strongly suggestive of the arrival of the coronavirus in Turkmenistan. The government has steadfastly stuck, however, to the line that no cases have yet been detected.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/turkmenistan-is-coronavirus-facade-slipping
Summer Camp From Hell: Turkmen Children Sent To Pick Potatoes
Turkmen law bans children from forced labor, but rights activists say that the authorities often cancel classes during the harvest season and order minors to pick cotton
June 17 — “It's not exactly the summer vacation the kids had in mind. Instead of fun activities, going to the zoo, and playing games, many children in Turkmenistan are spending their summer break in scorching heat gathering potatoes at state-owned farms. And the parents who paid for their kids to go to school-organized, recreational summer camps say they had no idea the children would be ordered to work in the fields.” READ MORE: https://www.rferl.org/a/summer-camp-from-hell-turkmen-children-sent-to-pick-potatoes/30675542.html
TV sets of national brand: Innovations and import substitution
Turkmenistan has in recent years been focused on establishing domestic production of computers and home electronics, with China’s support
June 18 — “Aýdyň gijeler Company has started assembly and testing of TVs with Smart TV platform and built-in IP receiver. Tolkun 34 and 42 inch LCD and 4K Ultra HD models and 55 inch Zenim model will be presented to the consumers. The models will have necessary interface and network utilities. Production output of new facility is 100,000 TV sets per year, which are designated for local market and export. The assembly is carried as per technology using details of Xin Hong Bo Trading Limited (China).” READ MORE: http://turkmenistan.gov.tm/_eng/?id=14576
Aviation Reforms in Uzbekistan: New Yet Old?
If the government of Uzbekistan truly wished to liberalize the aviation industry, it needs to renounce the support for the national air carrier
June 12 — “We recently learned that the transfer of the state airline Uzbekistan Airways to a foreign company has been discussed at a meeting with the President of Uzbekistan. Apparently, transferring Uzbekistan Airways to a foreign company has become more acute due to the crisis and the airline’s difficult financial situation as the travel slowed by the coronavirus. Though, there were many challenges even before the pandemic. How did it happen and what is a plan for aviation reforms?” READ MORE: https://cabar.asia/en/aviation-reforms-in-uzbekistan-new-yet-old/
Uzbekistan applies for new EU trade preferences
Within the framework of GSP+, the number of products that Uzbek manufacturers can sell to the EU without trade restrictions will almost double – up to 6,200
June 15 — “Uzbekistan has sent an official application for beneficiary country status of the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP+), Uzbekistan’s Investment and Foreign Ministry said on June 12. Uzbekistan is already using the basic GSP, which allows exporting to the EU countries about 3,000 goods without paying duties and 3,2000 positions – at reduced rates.” READ MORE: https://www.neweurope.eu/article/uzbekistan-applies-for-new-eu-trade-preferences/
Tapping into WHO expertise allows Uzbekistan to increase COVID-19 testing
WHO/Europe and UNFPA collected data which established that there were already 60 polymerase chain reaction systems for rapid detection of different viruses spread out across the country which could potentially be used to test for COVID-19
June 19 — “At the start of the COVID-19 epidemic in Uzbekistan, sourcing and installing new equipment to carry out testing in laboratories proved to be difficult. To help strengthen preparedness, WHO/Europe, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the French Embassy in Uzbekistan found innovative ways to repurpose machines already in place in the country’s hospitals.” READ MORE: https://www.euro.who.int/en/countries/uzbekistan/news/news/2020/6/tapping-into-who-expertise-allows-uzbekistan-to-increase-covid-19-testing
Analysis: Taliban is caught in a lie by denying Al Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan
The Taliban’s denial of Al Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan means that one of the two groups are not telling the truth. Either, Al Qaeda has crafted an elaborate scheme to pretend it fights in Afghanistan alongside the Taliban, or the Taliban is lying – and Al Qaeda has fought there for decades and remains to this day
June 17 — “After General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. asserted that Al Qaeda and its emir, Ayman al Zawahiri, are operating in Afghanistan, the Taliban denied that Al Qaeda is in the country and said the terror group hasn’t been there since the days when the Taliban openly ruled Afghanistan. By making such a claim, either the Taliban is lying or it is calling Al Qaeda’s leaders and operatives – who have fought and died in Afghanistan – a pack of liars. Because Al Qaeda has documented its operations in Afghanistan for years.” READ MORE: https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2020/06/analysis-taliban-is-caught-in-a-lie-by-denying-al-qaedas-presence-in-afghanistan.php
Pandemic threatens Afghanistan’s health system, economy, and peace process, UNDP study finds
Quick containment and directed funding could limit long-term impact
June 18 — “Afghanistan faces grave challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which threatens to undermine the country’s peace process, overwhelm its health care system, and slash economic output 17 percent by 2023, according to a new UNDP assessment of how the coronavirus might affect what was already one of the world’s poorest countries.” READ MORE: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/news-centre/news/2020/Pandemic_threatens_Afghanistan_health_system_economy_and_peace_process.html
Will Ghani’s plan for peace in Afghanistan work?
Atlantic Council experts respond to President Ghani’s remarks on the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan
June 18 — “Afghanistan finds itself at a critical juncture as it contends with the coronavirus pandemic and prepares for intra-Afghan peace talks. In an Atlantic Council Front Page event hosted with the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) on June 11, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani joined Atlantic Council President Frederick Kempe, among others, to discuss his vision for peace in Afghanistan. Ghani detailed his country’s ongoing challenges in security, gender equality, and economic development, critical to the peace process, and outlined how the United States and the wider international community can best support the peace process in Afghanistan.” READ MORE: https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/will-ghanis-plan-for-peace-in-afghanistan-work/
Central Asian Gas Exports to China: Beijing’s Latest Bargaining Chip?
Central Asia has long been seen as a geopolitical battleground even though Russia’s political dominance has yet to be challenged seriously by Beijing’s growing economic role
June 16 — “Natural gas supplies to the People’s Republic of China have helped drive Central Asia’s economic growth for the last decade. For no country is this more true than for Turkmenistan: over 90 percent of Turkmenistan’s total exports is natural gas exports to China. This figure is up from near zero before the Central Asia-China gas pipeline opened in December 2009. In 2019, Turkmenistan sold Beijing just over 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas, with Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan each selling 10 bcm. The initial outbreak of COVID-19 in China caused significant disruption to these supplies. As the pandemic continues to have an effect on energy demand, a result of the ongoing global economic slowdown, the short-term outlook for Central Asia is troubled. However, over the medium term, the crisis appears set to solidify China’s role in the region—at Central Asia’s expense.” READ MORE: https://www.fpri.org/article/2020/06/central-asian-gas-exports-to-china-beijings-latest-bargaining-chip/
Russian Military Seeking to Counter Growing Chinese Role in Central Asia
The balance between Russia and China in the Central Asia region is shifting
June 18 — “In March 2019, Dmitry Zhelobov, a specialist on China at Russia’s Urals Federal University, warned that Beijing was shifting from relying on soft power in Central Asia to using hard power. If Russia did not take this threat seriously, he added, China might have its own military bases in that region within five years, seriously undermining the Russian position there (Regnum, March 28, 2019; see EDM, April 4, 2019). At that time, he appeared to be a voice crying in the wilderness. Indeed, for the previous two decades, Moscow had defined its challenge in Central Asia as preventing any expansion of Western (mainly United States) influence in the five countries of this region as well as blocking the spread of Islamist instability from Afghanistan and the greater Middle East into post-Soviet Eurasia; it has viewed China as an ally on both counts. Yet, more recently, that assumption of Chinese activities in Central Asia being compatible with Russian goals is coming under increasing strain.” READ MORE: https://jamestown.org/program/russian-military-seeking-to-counter-growing-chinese-role-in-central-asia/
Sustainable supply chains connecting Central Asia and Europe focus of OSCE discussion on green ports, connectivity in Caspian region
Written by TCA
BISHKEK (TCA) — Making supply chains connecting Central Asia with Europe safer, smarter and more sustainable was the focus of a virtual discussion of some 70 logistics and trade stakeholders from the private and public sectors from Central Asia and the Caspian and Black Sea region on June 19, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) reported.
Tajikistan: World Bank-supported project finances cash transfers to protect vulnerable children
Written by TCA
DUSHANBE (TCA) — Up to 50,000 low-income families with young children in Tajikistan will receive a one-time payment of 500 Tajik somoni as emergency social assistance. These payments are provided as part of the World Bank-financed Tajikistan Emergency COVID-19 Project (TEC-19), which is supporting Tajikistan’s efforts in responding to the health and social risks associated with the global COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank said on June 19.
Taiwan declared FMD-free with no vaccination, can resume pork export
Written by TCA
TAIPEI (TCA) — Taiwan has been officially declared a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) free zone where vaccination is not practiced, Taiwan's Council of Agriculture (COA) announced on June 16, Focus Taiwan reported.
Uzbekistan to introduce open-skies regime at 10 airports from August
Written by TCA
TASHKENT (TCA) — Uzbekistan will introduce an open-skies regime at 10 airports starting from August 1 to boost foreign tourist arrivals, Xinhua news agency reported with reference to the Uzbek Ministry of Transport.
Survey focuses on climate change, environmental issues in Kazakhstan
Written by TCA
NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — The Climate Change Project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kazakhstan conducted an opinion survey to identify Kazakhstanis' awareness of climate issues and their willingness to contribute to reducing environmental problems, UNDP Kazakhstan reported.
Kazakhstan to strengthen coronavirus restrictions this weekend
Written by TCA
NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — Amid the increase in the incidence rate of coronavirus infection in several regions of Kazakhstan, the governmental Commission to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus Infection in Kazakhstan on June 18 introduced additional measures to stabilize the epidemiological situation in the country, primeminister.kz reported.
ADB approves $50 million grant to support Tajikistan’s COVID-19 response
Written by TCA
DUSHANBE (TCA) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $50 million grant to help the Government of Tajikistan mitigate the adverse economic and social impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Bank said on June 18.
ADB, APPC sign loan for gas-fired power plant to enhance Afghanistan’s energy security
Written by TCA
KABUL (TCA) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Afghan Power Plant Company Limited (APPC) on June 17 signed a $10 million loan as part of a financing package for the Mazar gas-fired power plant, supporting Afghanistan’s efforts to achieve long-term energy security through affordable domestic power sources. The project is the first private sector gas-fired plant in Afghanistan to be funded by development finance institutions, ADB said.
US, Uzbekistan education ministry partner with Sesame Workshop to help children understand COVID-19
Written by TCA
TASHKENT (TCA) — In response to COVID-19, the United States through USAID and in partnership with the Uzbek Ministry of Public Education is working with the Sesame Workshop, the makers of Sesame Street, to distribute important health and safety public service announcements in Uzbekistan, the U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan said on June 17.
US funding to UNODC combats drug trafficking in Tajikistan
Written by TCA
DUSHANBE (TCA) — The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) has provided $813,300 to Phase Two of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) project, “Tajikistan Drug Control Agency (DCA): Establishing a Training Academy,” the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe said on June 17.
UNDP provides $2.7 million to help Tajikistan fight COVID-19 impact
Written by TCA
DUSHANBE (TCA) — The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Office said it will assist Tajikistan with projects worth USD 2.7 million to respond to most immediate health and socio-economic needs arising from COVID-19 crises.
Chinese president calls for joint efforts with Tajikistan to implement Belt and Road projects
Written by TCA
DUSHANBE (TCA) — China and Tajikistan should coordinate efforts to contain the COVID-19 epidemic and promote bilateral trade, and be open to new ideas to ensure the implementation of key projects in the joint construction of the Belt and Road, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a phone conversation with his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rahmon on June 16, Xinhua reported.
Xi stressed that China-Tajikistan relations have reached a new historical starting point.
The two countries should plan for their cooperation in the "post COVID-19 era" as early as possible in key areas such as economy and trade, investment, energy, interconnectivity and agriculture so as to push for new progress in bilateral relations, Xi said.
True friendship reveals itself in time of trouble, Xi said, recalling that when China was at a difficult phase in response to COVID-19, the Tajik government and people from all walks of life supported China's anti-epidemic fight in various forms.
After COVID-19 broke out in Tajikistan, China provided assistance to the Tajik side to the best of its ability, Xi said.
Medical experts from both sides exchanged experience via video-link and a joint working group of Chinese medical experts visited many places across Tajikistan to actively carry out their work, which demonstrated an integral part of the notion of China-Tajikistan development community and security community, he said.
China stands ready to continue to provide support and assistance to brotherly Tajikistan, Xi said.
For his part, Tajik President Rahmon said that Tajikistan appreciates China's great support for Tajikistan in combating the pandemic and reviving the economy, adding that his country is willing to deepen friendship and mutual trust with China, help each other, and further align Tajikistan's national development strategy for the period up to 2030 with the joint construction of the Belt and Road.
Tajikistan is willing to expand cooperation with China in such areas as economy and trade, health, science and technology, step up collaboration with China within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia and other regional organizations, and promote the development of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, he added.
Uzbekistan allocates $100 million in soft loans to service sector amid COVID-19 pandemic
Written by TCA
TASHKENT (TCA) — Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has signed a decree to provide 100 million U.S. dollars of soft loans to the country's service sector to overcome the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and create more jobs, Xinhua news agency reported with reference to the Uzbek president's press service.
ADB $20 million COVID-19 package to boost Kyrgyzstan’s health sector
Written by TCA
BISHKEK (TCA) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $20 million in assistance to help the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic strengthen its health sector to deal with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Bank said on June 16.
'Coronavirus-free' Turkmenistan reportedly locks down 2 major hospitals
Written by TCA
ASHGABAT (TCA) — Turkmenistan, the only country in Central Asia that has not officially registered coronavirus cases, has reportedly locked down two major hospitals amid concerns of a possible COVID-19 outbreak, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reported.
Chinese-Uzbek traditional medicine center opens in Tashkent
Written by TCA
TASHKENT (TCA) — A Chinese-Uzbek center for traditional medicine opened in Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent on June 15 to promote traditional Chinese medicine in the Central Asian nation and deepen bilateral relations between the two countries, Xinhua news agency reported.
EU, Central Asia coordinate efforts on environment, climate amidst the pandemic
Written by TCA
NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the high-level officials and experts from Central Asia, the European Union and the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS) discussed further cooperation and coordination of efforts on environment and climate change during the first online meeting of the Coordination Committee of the European Union–Central Asia Working Group on Environment and Climate Change (WGECC) organized by the EU-funded project “European Union – Central Asia Water, Environment and Climate Change Cooperation” (WECOOP), the Delegation of the European Union to Kazakhstan reported on June 15.
EU delivers vital assistance, provides new aid package to Afghanistan
Written by TCA
KABUL (TCA) — As part of the European Union's global coronavirus response, an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight departed on 15 June from Maastricht, Netherlands to Kabul, Afghanistan, delivering 100 tons of life-saving materials to supply EU-funded humanitarian partners. The flight is fully EU funded and is part of ongoing Air Bridge flights to critical areas of the world, the Delegation of the European Union to Afghanistan reported.
Kyrgyzstan: Prime minister resigns over corruption probe
Written by TCA
BISHKEK (TCA) — Kyrgyzstan’s Prime Minister Mukhammedkalyi Abylgaziev has resigned, citing an ongoing criminal investigation into the assignment of national radio frequencies, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported.
Abylgaziev announced his resignation in a statement on June 15, saying: "I have nothing to do with this case, and the accusations made against me have no basis."
Noting he hadn’t been questioned, Abylgaziev said the corruption probe undermined trust in the government and limited its ability to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
"In today's difficult conditions, when the country confronts the threat of coronavirus infection and struggles with its impact on the economy, the government must work in a state of stability and enjoy the full confidence of citizens," Abylgaziev said.
Kyrgyz lawmakers had raised suspicions over his involvement in the suspect sale of radio frequencies involving a leading cable television company and a major telecoms company, even though he has not been named as a suspect by the investigators.
Abylgaziev took a two-week leave of absence on May 27 "in order to avoid accusations of exerting any pressure on the course of the investigation."
He was appointed as prime minister by President Sooronbai Jeenbekov in April 2018.
The parliament must now nominate a new prime minister.
Taiwan plans to ease quarantine restrictions for foreign tourists
Written by M. Ryspai
TAIPEI (TCA) — Authorities in Taiwan plan to ease quarantine restrictions for foreign tourists depending on the situation in their home countries, Radio Taiwan International (RTI) reported.
Kyrgyzstan receives World Bank financing to scale-up disaster resilience and seismic performance of school buildings
Written by TCA
BISHKEK (TCA) — The World Bank’s Board of Directors approved Additional Financing for the Enhancing Resilience in the Kyrgyz Republic Project in the amount of $55 million from the International Development Association (IDA), on highly concessional terms. Of this amount, $27.5 million is allocated in the form of a grant, which requires no repayment, while the other $27.5 million is a credit with a 0.75% interest rate, with repayments eased over 38 years, and a six-year grace period, the World Bank said on June 12.