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Kazakhstan’s Kostanai region attracting investors

  • Written by TCA

ASTANA (TCA) — The Kostanai-Invest 2017 forum was held in the Kostanai region in northern Kazakhstan last week with the participation of Kazakh Government members, representatives of the diplomatic corps, domestic and foreign experts and entrepreneurs. The forum discussed promising directions of cooperation between foreign and domestic entrepreneurs in the Kostanai region, the Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan reported.

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Kazakhstan to increase the use of renewable energy sources

  • Written by TCA

ASTANA (TCA) — The Ministry of Energy of Kazakhstan plans to increase the share of renewable energy sources (RES) up to 3% of the country’s total electricity generation by 2020, Vice Minister of Energy Magzum Mirzagaliyev said at a press conference on September 22, the official website of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan reported.

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In effort to combat extremism, Tajikistan’s government places further restrictions on what people can wear

  • Written by Edward Lemon

DUSHANBE (TCA) — Authorities in Tajikistan continue imposing restrictions on the private lives of Tajik citizens in the name of combating religious extremism. Such moves, however, may cause the opposite effect, driving Tajik Muslims into the hands of banned Islamist organizations. We are republishing this article by Edward Lemon on the issue, originally published by The Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor:

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Kyrgyzstan switching to renewable energy

  • Written by Maria Levina

BISHKEK (TCA) — The future belongs to renewable energy sources because they are economically beneficial and environmentally friendly, Deputy Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Duishenbek Zilaliyev said on September 22 at the launching ceremony of a project to introduce flat solar collectors at the site of Bishkekteploenergo public utility company.

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Weekly Digest of Central Asia

  • Written by TCA

BISHKEK (TCA) — The Publisher’s note: Central Asia is an important geopolitical area between Europe, Russia and China. It is in Central Asia that world powers have confronted each other for centuries; it is here that China needs to succeed with its new Silk Road Belt for direct access to the Western markets; and it is here that a large wealth of raw materials has its origin. Every week thousands of news appears all over the world in printed and online media and it is quite understandable that 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 the region, and for this reason we are presenting this Weekly Digest of Central Asia which compiles what other media have reported during the past week.

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Language fight in Tatarstan set to ignite political explosion across Russia

  • Written by Paul Goble

BISHKEK (TCA) — The language issue has always been a sensitive one in the non-Russian republics of the USSR and now in the post-Soviet independent countries, especially in Central Asia. Moscow has always advocated that the Russian language retain its strong position in such countries as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Today, however, Russia is facing the language problem within its own borders — in the Turkic-speaking republic of Tatarstan, and this problem may have serious implications. We are republishing this article by Paul Goble on the issue, originally published by The Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor:

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Tashkent to host 1st Uzbekistan-Greece economic cooperation forum

  • Written by TCA

TASHKENT (TCA) — The Consulate General of Uzbekistan in Greece, in cooperation with the Institute for the Development of Western Greece, the Greek Nationwide Association of Industries based at Industrial Parks and Ellrosa Consulting Group Ltd., have launched the “Initiative for the Development of Bilateral Economic Cooperation between Greece and Uzbekistan - Alexander the Great & Princess Roxanne".

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FAO launches project for secure land, fisheries and forests tenure in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan

  • Written by TCA

BISHKEK (TCA) — Secure tenure of land, fisheries and forests is widely acknowledged as being directly related to agricultural productivity, sustainable management of natural resources, and food security. This is the premise of a new project for Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan that the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) kicked off with a workshop in Bishkek on September 21.

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Russia and India to explore collaboration in Afghanistan peace process

  • Written by TCA

BISHKEK (TCA) — Russian special envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov is to visit India soon and the Indian leadership expects to explore the possibility of effective collaboration with Russia in the Afghan peace process, Russia’s Sputnik news agency reported from New Delhi citing External Affairs Ministry sources.

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Presentation of Central Asia uranium mining legacy remediation needs held in New York

  • Written by TCA

BISHKEK (TCA) — A high-level event in New York on September 21 in the presence of Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev, EU Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser under the headline “People and Planet: Central Asia calls for international solidarity” in the margins of the current UN General Assembly highlighted the danger for the environment and the health of the population, especially in the Ferghana valley where 14 million people live and which is spread across eastern Uzbekistan, southern Kyrgyzstan, and northern Tajikistan, the EBRD press office reported.

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Training on identifying potential foreign terrorist fighters at borders held in Uzbekistan

  • Written by TCA

TASHKENT (TCA) — The OSCE Mobile Training Team for the identification of potential foreign terrorist fighters delivered an interactive training course for 27 border and security officers from Uzbekistan from 19 to 21 September in Tashkent.

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Kyrgyzstan authorities trumpet entrepreneurs’ achievements as problems remain

  • Written by Maria Levina

BISHKEK (TCA) — On September 20, Kyrgyzstan marked its Entrepreneur’s Day. Traditionally, the country's top leadership congratulated entrepreneurs, giving diplomas and memorable gifts to outstanding business people for their “fruitful work and significant contribution to the social and economic development of the country”.

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World Bank report focuses on drinking water, sanitation for households in Tajikistan

  • Written by TCA

DUSHANBE (TCA) — Tajikistan has made significant progress over the past decade in providing access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene for its citizens. However, many challenges remain. This is especially true in rural areas where only about one-third of households have access to clean drinking water sources on their premises, compared with more than 87% in urban areas, according to a new World Bank report.

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Deals worth $2.6 billion signed at Uzbekistan–US business forum

  • Written by TCA

TASHKENT (TCA) — On September 20, an Uzbekistan–US business forum was held in New York City as part of Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s visit to the United States to participate in the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, the Jahon information agency reports.

The event was attended by more than 100 executives of the leading US companies such as General Electric, Honeywell, ExxonMobil, CNH Industrial, John Deere, Coca-Cola, Boeing, Caterpillar, Citi Group, Visa, AGCO, and Gilead Sciences. It was organized by the State Committee of Uzbekistan on Investments jointly with the American–Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce (AUCC).

It was emphasized that the business forum, unprecedented in its scope and nature, once again confirmed the aspiration of businessmen of the two countries to expand mutually beneficial practical cooperation. The importance of joint efforts of the two sides for bringing Uzbekistan–US economic partnership to a qualitatively new level, ensuring its sustainable development and growth was noted.

During the panel discussions of the forum, a lively discussion was held on issues of strengthening bilateral economic cooperation, creating a favorable investment climate in Uzbekistan, as well as implementing joint projects and programs in the fields of industry, infrastructure, tourism, science, and education.

US businessmen praised the ongoing large-scale reforms in Uzbekistan, ensuring the introduction of market mechanisms for currency regulation, strengthening the banking and financial system, reducing the tax burden on business and introducing additional benefits and preferences for investors within the framework of newly created free economic zones in Uzbekistan.

As a result of the forum, documents for a total amount of $2.6 billion were signed with US companies. They provide for the implementation of joint projects in the oil and gas and petrochemical sectors with General Electric and Honeywell corporations, in the machine building industry with CNH Industrial, John Deere and Caterpillar, in the electrical engineering industry with OSI Systems and Lutron, and in civil aviation with Boeing.

An agreement was also signed on opening a branch of Webster University in the city of Tashkent, which will become the first full-fledged branch of the American higher education institution in the CIS countries.

Kazakhstan’s Astana International Financial Center to hold presentation in December

  • Written by TCA

ASTANA (TCA) — The international presentation of the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC) will take place in December 2017 in Astana, AIFC Governor Kairat Kelimbetov said at a press conference on September 20, the official website of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan reported.

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IAEA, Russia’s ROSATOM to cooperate in rehabilitation of uranium legacy facilities in Central Asia

  • Written by TCA

BISHKEK (TCA) — The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM on September 18 signed the Practical Arrangements regarding the cooperation in rehabilitation of uranium legacy facilities in Central Asian republics of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, the Russian company said.

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Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan exchange diplomatic notes over Nazarbayev-Babanov meeting

  • Written by TCA

BISHKEK (TCA) — Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan on September 20 exchanged diplomatic protests after Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev met with a Kyrgyz presidential candidate, Omurbek Babanov, in Almaty on September 19. The meeting was considered by official Bishkek as meddling in Kyrgyzstan’s internal politics, RFE/RL reported.

The meeting, which came just over three weeks before Kyrgyzstan holds an election to replace President Almazbek Atambayev, prompted an angry note from the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry.

"The Kyrgyz side considers the statements [made during the meeting] and the wide coverage of the meeting by the Kazakh side as an attempt to influence the choice of Kyrgyzstan's people and interference into Kyrgyzstan's internal affairs," the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry said.

Kazakhstan responded hours later with a similarly pointed message expressing “extreme surprise” at Bishkek’s statement.

“The meetings of the head of state with prominent politicians and leaders of political parties of different countries at their request take place on a regular basis and fully comply with international practice,” the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said, adding that on August 14 in Astana, Nazarbayev held a similar meeting with another Kyrgyz presidential candidate, ex-Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov.

Babanov, who served as prime minister in 2011-12, is a rival to the candidate that Atambayev has endorsed, Sooronbai Jeenbekov, who himself stepped down as prime minister last month.

During the meeting with Babanov in Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, Nazarbayev "stressed the necessity to further strengthen ties between the two brotherly nations," according to the presidential office.

"During the years of Kyrgyzstan's independence, I have always tried to work fruitfully with all your presidents," he told Babanov. "We will be continuing to effectively cooperate with a new president the Kyrgyz nation will grant the trust."

Babanov was quoted as saying that when he was prime minister, Nazarbayev was "always providing us with all possible assistance."

US helps Kazakhstan research institute remove all of its highly enriched uranium

  • Written by TCA

ALMATY (TCA) — The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA), in partnership with the Institute of Nuclear Physics (INP) of Kazakhstan, repatriated the last remaining highly enriched uranium (HEU) from the institute’s VVR-K reactor and critical assembly in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on September 19.

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Kazakhstan’s new Subsoil Code to attract investment in mining industry

  • Written by TCA

ASTANA (TCA) — One of the purposes of the draft Code on the Subsoil and Subsoil Use is to increase the investment attractiveness of Kazakhstan's mining industry, the Vice Minister for Investment and Development Timur Toktabayev said at a briefing following the Government’s meeting on September 19, the official website of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan reported.

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Uzbekistan hosts ERASMUS+ Week

  • Written by TCA

TASHKENT (TCA) — ERASMUS+ Week is taking place in Tashkent from 18 to 22 September, the National Office of Erasmus+ in Uzbekistan said. The aim of the event is to develop further cooperation between the universities of Uzbekistan and the states of Europe.

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Plan to clean up Central Asia uranium mining legacy signed

  • Written by TCA

BISHKEK (TCA) — A Strategic Master Plan aimed to overcome the legacy of uranium mining in Central Asia was signed by Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, the IAEA, the EC, and the EBRD at the IAEA General Conference in Vienna on September 18, the EBRD reported on its website.

Kyrgyzstan and Russia have confirmed their intention to join shortly.

The Plan was developed by a group of experts established by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It sets out a detailed blueprint for the environmental remediation of priority sites in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

These three countries are in the scope of the Environmental Remediation Account for Central Asia (ERA) established at the EBRD in 2015 at the initiative of the European Commission (EC). The fund will manage international donor support to deal with the challenges originating from legacy sites and affecting local populations and the environment.

In order to ensure a coordinated, timely and cost-effective approach in accordance with international conventions and agreements, the Plan ranks remediation measures in terms of risks and priorities. It also develops an integrated approach for evaluating the remediation needs of each site. All of this flows into a programme detailing precisely the main tasks or activities, along with schedules, key milestones and costs.

The total cost of all measures outlined in the Plan is estimated at €210 million. Of this amount, €56 million has already been made available by the EU, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the World Bank.

Work on the seven priority sites that will be covered by ERA is estimated to cost €85 million. While so far the European Commission is the sole contributor to ERA, with €16 million, a donor conference in 2018 will aim to close the funding gap.

Balthasar Lindauer, EBRD Deputy Director, Nuclear Safety, said: “We welcome the agreement on the Strategic Master Plan. This key document will be our joint roadmap for addressing the urgent issue of the legacy of uranium mining in Central Asia. Today’s signing marks very important progress and also demonstrates the determination of all parties present today to address this challenge. We appeal to the international community to join this effort to create a safe and healthy environment for the people of Central Asia.”

Central Asia served as an important source of uranium in the former Soviet Union. A large amount of radioactively contaminated material was placed in the waste dumps and tailing sites of mines. Most of these mines were closed by 1995 but very little remediation work was done. The accumulated radioactive material in the region is a threat to the environment and to the health of local populations.

At UN, Uzbekistan president outlines his policy for the country and Central Asia region

  • Written by TCA

TASHKENT (TCA) — In his first address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 19, Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev pledged to focus his government on bringing greater prosperity and human rights to his country and the Central Asia region, RFE/RL reported.

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