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Month in Review: Central Asia in September 2020

September 2020 in Central Asia is remembered, inter alia, for yet again rising COVID-19 numbers; a new academic year in schools and universities; recommencement of high-level official meetings; the Independence Day parades; election campaigns; presidents’ speech to the UN; and Chinese Foreign Minister’s visit to Central Asia. 

The analytical platform CABAR.asia presents an overview of the major events in the region over the past month.


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KAZAKHSTAN

Chinese Foreign Minister visits Kazakhstan

On September 12, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met in Nur-Sultan with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. They discussed cooperation in agriculture, expanding trade and economic ties, and joint efforts in the COVID-19 fight.

Photo: inform.kz

The first president of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev also met the Chinese Foreign Minister in Nur-Sultan on September 13. On the same day, Wang Yi held talks with Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi.

The sides, through the comprehensive exchange of views, deliberated on important regional and international issues.

Resumption of international flights

Kazakhstan from August 17 has begun resuming flights:

from August 17 to the UAE;

from August 18 to Germany;

from August 19 to Belarus and Ukraine;

from August 27 to Turkey;

from September 27 to Kyrgyzstan;

from September 21 to Russia.

The number of international flights depends on existing international air agreements and aircraft capacity on each route.

From October 5, Kazakhstan will decrease the number of international flights and tighten border control.

At the suggestion of the Health Ministry, Kazakhstan will not resume international flights to new destinations and will not increase the number of flights to available destinations, while also curtailing scheduled flights to Turkey.

WHO admits second Kazakh coronavirus vaccine

The World Health Organization has included the second Kazakh inactivated vaccine against COVID-19 in the list of candidate vaccines.

Earlier it was reported that the WHO approved the Kazakh deactivated coronavirus vaccine for clinical trials. The vaccine was developed by Kazakh scientists at Biological Safety Research Institute under Kazakh Education and Science Ministry.

Avian flu outbreak

North Kazakhstan region was struck by the avian flu outbreak, the Kazakh Agriculture Ministry reports. From 9 to 16 September, Kazakhstan reported seven outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian flu in the northern part of the country.

Experts identified the virus strain after sampling carcasses of dead birds.

According to the National Referral Center, thousands of domestic fowl deaths are attributed to this highly pathogenic bird flu. In conformity with established regulations, Kazakhstan has alerted the World Organization for Animal Health on the outbreak.

Farmers will be compensated in the amount equal to the average poultry market prices. The epizootic situation in the region is under the Ministry’s control.

Kazakh Health Ministry proposes to stick to distance learning for the first quarter

Kazakhstan’s Health Ministry has suggested the country sticks to the distance learning for this academic year’s first quarter.

Health Minister Alexei Tsoi said that averting a new coronavirus outbreak necessitates online education in schools.

Kazakhstan officially abolishes the death penalty

On September 25, in New York City, Kazakhstan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Kairat Umarov signed the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, committing the country to abolish the death penalty.

Earlier in the day, Kazakh President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev announced that Kazakhstan would join the protocol on the abolition of the death penalty earlier in the day in his address to the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.

Kazakhstan takes over CICA chairmanship from Tajikistan

Kazakhstan has assumed the chairmanship of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) at the virtual meeting of foreign ministers of CICA member states. The country took over the CICA chairmanship from Tajikistan.

Kazakh Foreign Minister said that during the chairmanship Kazakhstan will continue to promote further institutionalization of the Meeting, cooperation between CICA members, and to enhance the CICA’s status in the international arena.

Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan discuss the creation of a Special Customs Zone

On September 17 in Ashgabat, Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin and Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov discussed the initiation of a special customs zone on the border of two countries, Kazakh Prime-Minister’s press-service reports.

Photo: press service of Kazakhstan’s Prime-Minister

The two sides pondered on cooperation in trade and energy, economy and investment, transit transport, and agriculture.

Special importance was given to the development of cross-border cooperation between Kazakhstan’s Mangystau region and Turkmenistan’s Balkan velayat.


KYRGYZSTAN


COVID-19 cases rising again

Coronavirus cases of new COVID-19 types are rising in Kyrgyzstan, as observed over the last week of September. A rise in the number of cases is attributable to non-compliance with epidemiological standards; crowding in public places, negligence of mask-wearing social distancing.

Kyrgyzstan reported a total of 46,355 cases of COVID-19 infection since the onset of the pandemic, with 42,619 (91.9%) recovered and 1064 (2.4%) deaths. The country has not reported coronavirus reinfection cases yet.

Kyrgyz authorities have commenced seasonal influenza vaccination across the country. Russia has delivered nearly 120 thousand doses of flu vaccines to the Kyrgyz Health Ministry.

Parliamentary Elections

The Central Election Commission of the Kyrgyz Republic (CEC) has registered 16 parties to stand in the country’s elections to the Kyrgyz parliament (Jogorku Kenesh).

The campaign period started on September 4, while the elections are scheduled for October 4, 2020. 

Jeenbekov meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi

President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sooronbai Jeenbekov met a member of the PRC’s State Council, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on his official visit to Kyrgyzstan, the President’s Office reports.

Photo: president.kg

The parties deliberated priority areas of Kyrgyzstan-China relations. Both sides had expressed their willingness to enhance bilateral cooperation and continue with mutual solidarity and support in the enduring circumstances.

Kyrgyzstan’s Former Health Minister detained

Former Health Minister Kosmosbek Cholponbaev has been detained for alleged negligence and abuse of public office. Kyrgyz State Service for Combating Economic Crimes has instituted criminal proceedings against several Health Ministry officials on alleged negligence and abuse of public office.

It was found that the senior Health Ministry officials, abusing their official position, against the public and state interests, entered into an unprofitable consultancy contract, to the detriment of the state budget for nearly 9 million KGS.

Protesting “Birimdik” Party Leader’s Independence Remarks

Hundreds of people have staged a protest in Kyrgyz capital on September 27 to protest remarks made by the pro-governmental party leader Marat Amankulov. The protest in Bishkek dubbed “Kul Bolbo!” (“Don’t be a slave!”), according to rough estimates, brought about 200-300 people onto streets.

Photo: Azattyk.org/RFE/RL

The protest was triggered by a statement made by politician Marat Amankulov at an event in Moscow. On September 26, Kyrgyz social media scattered after a leaked video of Amankulov’s speech appeared to show the politician’s independence remarks. Speaking about the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), Amankulov said “it is precisely communication and interaction at the level of nations and cultures that are lacking, this is not yet a people’s union.”

“This shall be an endeavor. 30 years of independence shows that we must rethink and go back home … In Eurasia, only a united state could be sovereign. And so that we, the Kyrgyz, do not lose our identity, we must now come together and integrate, “Amankulov said. The politician also announced that he headed the newly formed Birimdik party.

Amankulov’s remarks have been widely criticized in social media, most interpreting his words as a threat to the Kyrgyz independence.

Huge brawl in Aravan

On the evening of September 20, a huge brawl broke out in the Aravan district of Osh oblast, at the campaigning event of the Mekenim Kyrgyzstan party. Around 12 people are injured and hospitalized.

Freeze frame from the video

The Osh police say that the scuffle began after a candidate with the Mekenim Kyrgyzstan party insulted a local candidate from a rival party. Shortly after the incident, Mekenim Kyrgyzstan and Birimdik parties commented on the incident.

After a couple of days, the parties asked for each other’s forgiveness and dropped all charges. Central Election Commission disagreed that the two parties have nothing to do with the brawl. The  CEC chairman Nurzhan Shildabekova said that the fighting is a direct liability of both parties and their candidates.

The CEC put forward 3 proposals: 1) give warning to both parties; 2) withdraw the registration of party candidates Shukurullo Fayzullayev and Ilkhom Mannanov; 3) both interventions. The CEC members have voted on the second proposal.

Sooronbai Jeenbekov meets with Vladimir Putin

On September 28, Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi.

Photo: president.kg

Heads of state discussed prospects for bilateral strategic partnership and alliance, including cooperation in security, trade, investment, economic, cultural, and humanitarian affairs. The parties also deliberated on better integration within the EEU, the President’s Office reports.

Sooronbai Jeenbekov has reiterated his congratulations to Vladimir Putin on the world’s first coronavirus vaccine registration, expressing the hope that it will soon become publicly available for Kyrgyz citizens.

He highlighted Kyrgyzstan’s interest in maintaining mutually advantageous cooperation on energy, trade, and infrastructure projects, inter alia, in the EEU framework.

The Kyrgyz President of Kyrgyzstan expressed gratitude to the Russian side for multivector support and insisted that Kyrgyzstan values ​​its centuries-tested historically strong and friendly ties with Russia.

The sides had expressed their eagerness to deepen further cooperation on the whole range of issues of common interest.


TAJIKISTAN


Emomali Rahmon runs for the presidency

The People’s Democratic Party of Tajikistan has nominated incumbent President Emomali Rahmon to run in the presidential elections. According to party representatives, the decision was made on September 3 at the Party Congress.

Earlier, among the announced candidates vying for the presidency were Rustam Latifzoda (Agrarian Party of Tajikistan), Abdukhalim Gafforov (Socialist Party of Tajikistan), Saidjafar Usmonzoda (Democratic Party of Tajikistan), and Rustam Rakhmatzoda (Economic Reforms Party of Tajikistan). The only oppositional Social Democratic Party of Tajikistan boycotted the upcoming presidential elections, dubbing them unconstitutional, anti-national and illegal.

Presidential elections in Tajikistan are set for October 11. This marks the sixth presidential election for independent Tajikistan.

Emomali Rahmon has been in power for 28 years.

Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Tajikistan and the PRC

On September 10, Moscow hosted a meeting between the Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Mukhriddin and the People’s Republic of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Photo: kabar.kg

Ministers deliberated ways to implement agreements reached during the last phone call between leaders of two states, Emomali Rahmon and Xi Jinping.

Mukhriddin and Yi discussed Tajikistan-China cooperation in energy and industry, transport and agriculture.

The parties also agreed to further strengthen their collaboration in addressing adverse social and economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.

Internet goes down amidst an online speech of an opposition leader

On the evening of September 16, Tajikistan experienced a one-hour Internet outage. Officials, mobile companies, and Internet providers have not given any official explanations. Independent experts and social media users, however, attest that the outage coincided with an address of banned-in-Tajikistan Islamic Renaissance Party leader Muhiddin Kabiri at the George Washington University (US).

Tajik social media users say the service collapse lasted for about an hour and a half on September 16, from 7:30 to 9:00 pm; they were unable to get online both from smartphones over a mobile network or from desktop computers over cable. Mobile service and Internet providers refused to comment on the situation and directed all outage-related questions to the State Communications Service.

Muhiddin Kabiri leads the National Alliance of Tajikistan, a coalition of opposition parties banned in Tajikistan – the Islamic Revival Party, the Movement for Reforms and Progress, the Forum of Freethinkers of Tajikistan, and the Association of Central Asian Migrants. On September 16, he held his live YouTube broadcast the George Washington University: he discussed the political and economic situation in Tajikistan and deliberated on the upcoming presidential elections in the fall, with “winner already known”.

Tajik President meets with the Uzbek Prime Minister

On September 29, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon met the Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov, who made a working visit to Dushanbe.

Photo: president.tj

Two sides discussed further diversification of the trade structure and overcoming technical barriers to trade, the opening of trading houses, representative offices, and branches, better use of investment cooperation potential between the two countries.

Hydropower and road infrastructure project have been recognized as other promising areas of cooperation.

Prime Ministers of two countries Abdulla Aripov (Uzbekistan) and Kohir Rasulzada (Tajikistan) also met in Dushanbe on September 29.

First, the heads of government met in a narrow format. The Uzbek Prime Minister thanked his Tajik colleague for the warm and cordial welcome, affirming this provides a good opportunity to discuss the current state of bilateral cooperation and prospects for its development.

Tajik Prime Minister, in his turn, said that profound cooperation between the two countries has been established in a short time, whilst the visit is a logical follow-up to mutually beneficial and dynamic dialogue.

The Ministerial meeting was followed by an enlarged Intergovernmental Meeting.

Rustam Emomali may have been diagnosed with rectal cancer in 2019

The head of renowned Herzliya Medical Center in Israel Dani Engel tweeted reports on Rustam Emomali’s hospitalization in 2019.

“Since the beginning of 2020, officials from different countries visited our center. Rustam Emomali, the Chairman of the National Assembly, who had been diagnosed with rectal cancer, was admitted to our hospital in 2019 and got cured after operation,” Dani Engel tweeted on September 28.

Screenshot of @daniengel71’s tweet

He then added, “The Tajik officials formally thanked Israel Ministry of Health and all the staff of Herzliya Medical Center”.

In their prompt reply, the Dushanbe mayor’s office denied Rustam Emomali’s possible medical condition and his treatment in Israel. “This premeditated incitement aims to destabilize social and political life in Tajikistan,” the mayor’s office claimed.


TURKMENISTAN


Lockdown restrictions in Turkmenistan extended until October 15

In Turkmenistan, constraints imposed on the work of businesses in catering, trade, service, culture, and sports have been extended until October 15, 2020.

Pharmacies, grocery and convenience stores, phone stores, and delivery services will operate as usual, Turkmenportal reports. Extended lockdown restrictions will apply to the work of public catering businesses (canteens, banquet halls, cafés, and restaurants), entertainment (cinemas, theaters, amusement parks, museums, saunas) and sports facilities (swimming pools, gyms, fitness clubs), beauty salons.

Turkmens in the United States held a series of protests against constitutional changes

On September 1, another protest of Turkmen citizens took place in front of the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Washington; activists from France and Canada joined the protesters. This is the second protest of Turkmen citizens over the past two days. On August 31, they held a protest in Houston, Texas.

Photo: azathabar.org

Turkmen diplomats in Washington did not come out to the protesting crowd. They called the police and reported that the protesters were calling for terror. Responding officers, however, have realized the situation and left the scene.

Activists in T-shirts with Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov’s photo and “Stop the dictator!” inscription demanded to hold a national referendum on this issue and release all political prisoners. After the protest before the embassy, ​​protesters went to the US Congress.

International media forum devoted to the 25th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s permanent neutrality

On September 16, 2020, the Turkmen Chamber of Commerce and Industry building held an international media forum devoted to the 25th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s permanent neutrality and the country’s vice-chairmanship in the upcoming 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The session was held via a video conference.

An international media forum was organized by the Turkmen side together with the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU).

The meeting was attended by heads and representatives of several Turkmen departments, diplomatic missions, and representative offices of accredited international organizations, national media, heads of the credible foreign public, television, and radio broadcasting agencies, as well as over 300 correspondents of news agencies from 68 countries.

Turkmen Independence Day

On September 27, 2020, Turkmenistan held a parade dedicated to the 29th anniversary of the country’s independence on the central square in Ashgabat, with the participation of all armed forces. The event displayed the country’s milestone achievements in various areas, local media reports.

Photo: turkmenportal.com

The ceremony encompassed a march of Turkmen officers, soldiers, and cadets. Different equipment of the country’s armed forces was demonstrated during the parade, namely, Land Rover armored vehicles with anti-tank missiles, mortars, and machine guns; KARAKAL self-propelled anti-tank missile systems; military helicopters and the Diamond-42 aircraft used for reconnaissance.

At the independence celebrations, Berdymukhamedov addressed the people of Turkmenistan and proclaimed that the reforms serve great and noble goals.

A festive firework display in honor of the 29th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s independence ended the evening.

A new bicameral parliament 

On September 25, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov signed amendments to the Constitution, expanding the country’s parliament to two chambers.

The highest representative body of the Turkmen government has terminated its work. It now will constitute one of parliament’s chambers. Now the Turkmen National Council/Parliament/ is expanded to two chambers: representative/ Khalk Maslakhaty/ and legislative /Mejlis/.

The first election of the new chamber members is to take place in the first quarter of 2021.

Russian Foreign Ministry sends a note to Turkmenistan following the dismantling of classes with Russian as a language of instruction

Russian Foreign Ministry sent a note to the Turkmen Foreign Ministry requesting to clarify the situation with dismantling classes with Russian as a language of instruction in Ashgabat schools.

Classes with the Russian language of instruction have been dismantled in several Ashgabat schools right before the new academic year “to comply with safe hygienic practices”. Moscow says that the Russian embassy is yet to hear from the Turkmen side.

The RF Ministry also expressed the hope that Turkmenistan will evade reducing the presence of the Russian language in education across the country.

Turkmen pro-government Orient agency, however, denies mass dismantling of “Russian” classes, citing the country’s Education Ministry.

The article insists that only one Ashgabat school has dismantled the Russian-language department (apparently, implying school No. 64 with parents’ protests in late August). The article underscores the fact that this has nothing to do with sanitary requirements, but it simply is an institutional re-profiling from a special school to a general high school. The agency does not, however, elucidate reasons why the decision was made two days before September 1, having put 1,600 schoolchildren on the street.

Berdimuhamedov dismisses Deputy Minister of Education following a reprimand

President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov dismissed Merdan Govshudov from his post of Deputy Minister of Education of Turkmenistan for school and preschool childcare facilities, explaining it by “serious shortcomings in his work and failing to fulfill his duty”. The head of state signed a corresponding decree at the Ministerial Meeting, the Vatan news program of the Turkmen television reports.

Govshudov has been discharged from the office on the fourth day after being disciplined by a severe reprimand and a final warning for the prompt corrections to his work.

While signing the document, Turkmen President reiterated various issues in education. For instance, e-education system development does not meet the requirements. Curriculums at all educational levels are outdated.

Turkmen President addresses the 75th session of the UN General Assembly

In his video address to the 75th session of the General Assembly, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov thanked doctors, volunteers, and scholars for the fight against coronavirus, calling on the international community to harmonize its efforts. The President lauded the UN Secretary General’s initiatives in the fight against the outbreak and the WHO’s coordination role. Berdimuhamedov argued that it is essential to engage in “science diplomacy”, under the WHO auspices, by developing various tools, including studying the coronavirus genome and controlling pneumonia. 

Berdimuhamedov proposed adopting a UN General Assembly resolution to safeguard stable transport operations during emergencies like the current pandemic. He called for stepping up efforts in the fight against COVID-19, including coronavirus genome studies under the WHO auspices. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlighted challenges in the Aral region and recalled the 25th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s neutrality.


UZBEKISTAN


Uzbekistan keeps the option of a new lockdown open

Chief State Health Inspector Nurmat Atabekov says Uzbekistan could re-introduce lockdown – if the epidemiological situation gets considerably worse. Uzbekistan officially reports 53,966 cases of COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, with 50,441 recovered and 447 deaths.

Schools reopen in Uzbekistan

After a 6-month break, 329 schools in Uzbekistan have reopened on September 7.

Photo: uznews.uz

After reporting the first coronavirus case on March 16, Uzbekistan suspended physical classes at schools and enforced online classes.

Based on a Public Health Authority’s judgment, local Kengashes of people’s deputies have decided to reopen schools.

The new 2020-2021 academic year formally started on September 14, 2020.

According to a survey conducted by the Public Education Ministry, 76% of 5.5 million parents voted in favor of traditional classes, whilst 24% preferred remote classes using the TV.

President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev addresses the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly

On 23 September 2020, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev spoke at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly. In his address to the session, Mirziyoyev presented his vision of contemporary challenges and threats to international and regional security and development.

Photo: un.org

Mirziyoyev stated that over the past hundred years humanity never faced planetary grief that immense it would reveal its vulnerability to such global challenges. The difficult and tense situation we are facing today, he argues, has reinforced the interrelatedness of all communities and states, the critical importance of regular dialogue, trust, and closer cooperation. The President of Uzbekistan put forward an initiative to develop an International Code, under the UN auspices, on Voluntary Pledge of States during a Pandemic. The document should reflect the state’s commitments to its citizens and international partners.

Mirziyoyev emphasized that after reporting the first COVID-19 cases in Uzbekistan, the country’s efforts and resources have gone to counter the outbreak and saving people’s lives. Uzbekistan reinforces the social security health-care system, provides tailored assistance to the population, economy, and business in order to mitigate the adverse repercussions of the pandemic. Uzbek President used the opportunity to express his profound gratitude to all partners and friends for the selfless support in this terrible ordeal.

Mirziyoyev also alluded to current trends in Central Asia, highlighting that profound changes are now evident in the region. A climate of good-neighborliness, mutual trust, friendship, and respect prevails in relations between states, he asserted.

Uzbek and Russian Prime Ministers discuss the upcoming visit of Mirziyoyev to Russia

On September 10, on the sidelines of the SCO Foreign Ministers Council Meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov.

As the Russian Foreign Ministry press service informs, the two sides addressed the preparations for the signing of the interstate, intergovernmental and interdepartmental documents in the forthcoming state visit of Shavkat Mirziyoyev to the Russian Federation. The ministers gave special consideration to the 2nd meeting of the Joint Commission of Heads of Russian and Uzbek governments, scheduled for 2020.

Deputy Prime Minister Uktam Barnoev dies from coronavirus in Uzbekistan

Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Uktam Barnoev died on September 20 from COVID-19 complications.

Barnoev died at a clinic in Germany, where he was evacuated for medical treatment after reportedly suffering a stroke while on COVID-19 treatment in Uzbekistan. Barnoev served as the Governor of the Bukhara region, and since February headed the agrarian and food sector in the government.

The Khokim (Governor) of Uzbekistan’s Fergana region Shukhrat Ganiev was removed from office and appointed deputy prime minister for the agrarian and food sectors development.

Among COVID-19 victims are Khokim of Khanabad the city in Andijan region Musakhon Mamadaliev, the Karshi law enforcement prosecutor Dehkonboy Abdullaev, Khokim of the Mirishkor in Kashkadarya Gairat Begaliev, and his deputy, Khokim of Karakalpakstan’s Kanlykul district Daulet Tolybaev, acting khokim of the Bukhara region Karim Kamalov, chairman of Karakalpakstan’s  Jokargy Kenes Musa Erniyazov and others.

Foreign Ministers of Uzbekistan and China hold talks in Moscow

On September 10, Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov met in Moscow with a member of China’s State Council, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, as reported by the Foreign Ministry’s press-service.

Foreign ministers discussed the state and prospects for bilateral cooperation in security, trade, economy and investment, political, cultural, and humanitarian affairs.

Switzerland to return to Uzbekistan $ 131 million from Gulnara Karimova’s accounts

Switzerland and Uzbekistan established terms for the return of assets confiscated from the eldest daughter of the late Uzbek president Gulnara Karimova as part of the money-laundering investigation.

The agreement stipulates that assets worth $ 131 million (119 million Swiss francs) confiscated from Karimova’s Swiss accounts in 2012 will be repatriated.

Another 650 million Swiss francs ($ 715 million) seized from Karimova are frozen in the ongoing criminal investigation profiling the former president’s daughter.

Uzbekistan has become one of the largest gold exporters

The country is selling part of its gold reserves to save the economy. Uzbekistan, therefore, has become one of the world’s largest gold exporters, topping the list in July.

Uzbekistan has decided to sell part of its huge gold reserves to raise money to tackle adverse economic repercussions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, Uzbekistan made it to the list of the world’s biggest gold exporters.

On September 21, the State Statistics Committee reported that the country exported US$5.8 billion worth of gold in the first eight months of 2020. The sale of precious metals accounted for half of the export proceeds.

To compare, Uzbekistan exported $ 4.9 billion worth of gold for the whole of 2019, which amounted to 27.5% of foreign trade turnover.

In July, Uzbekistan became the largest gold exporter, supplying 11.6 tons to the world market and easily surpassing Mongolia with its 6.1 tons. In August, precious metals were sold for US$ 2.5 billion (to make it clearer – the 2015 figure only was US$1.9 billion).

The Uzbek President’ eldest daughter is a third-time mom

The eldest daughter of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev became a mother for the third time, naming her newborn Shavkat.

Saida Mirziyoyeva is married to a prominent businessman and civil servant Oybek Tursunov. The couple has two children – son Miromon and daughter Saodatkhon. Oybek Tursunov works as the First Deputy Head of Uzbekistan’s Presidential Administration since January 2017.


CENTRAL ASIA


2020 SCO Foreign Ministers Council Meeting

On September 10, 2020, Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States met in Moscow for a regular Council meeting.

Photo: sectsco.org

On September 9, 2020, Russian President Russian Vladimir Putin, met with the Foreign Ministers of the SCO member states via a video conference.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov chaired the Ministerial Council Meeting.

The foreign ministers deliberated on the state and prospects for future SCO activities amidst the enduring novel coronavirus outbreak.

Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan suspend gas deliveries to Tajikistan

Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan started limiting liquefied gas supplies to Tajikistan, according to Abdulmajid Muminzod, the head of the Antimonopoly Service under the President of Tajikistan.

Muminzod says Uzbekistan has halted gas supplies to Tajikistan for the remainder of the year.

At the same time, Kazakhstan decided to suspend fuel supplies only for September. Muminzod, nonetheless, did not spell out a decrease in gas transportation indicators.

Informed sources in Tajikistan explain gas supplies limitation: in Kazakhstan – plant renovation of a major gas supplier to Tajikistan; in Uzbekistan – great demand for the fuel in the domestic market, alongside modernization at two large plants supplying fuel to Tajikistan.


This material has been prepared as part of the Giving Voice, Driving Change – from the Borderland to the Steppes Project. The opinions expressed in the article do not reflect the position of the editorial board or the donor.

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