It appears that Uzbek President Islam Karimov’s efforts to obtain a one-on-one meeting with US President Barack Obama are coming up short, an informed source indicates. Obama's preliminary schedule for the upcoming NATO summit reportedly does not include individual meetings with any of the Central Asian leaders who are planning on attending the event.
Red Star Enterprises Ltd., the controversial ex-supplier of aviation fuel to the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan, has lost full control of a lucrative fuel contract at Bagram air base in Afghanistan.
Economics, not politics is prompting Russia to get tough with Kyrgyzstan, a top Russian diplomat based in Bishkek tells EurasiaNet.org. At the same time, the diplomat blamed the Kyrgyz government for delays in a hydropower deal, asserting that officials in Bishkek were politicizing the issue.
In a development that could influence Kyrgyzstan’s willingness to prolong the lease of the Manas Transit Center outside Bishkek, a US Embassy official has confirmed that a joint Kyrgyz-Russian venture is now delivering the majority of fuel consumed at the base.
In early April, a Tajik driver died when an avalanche near the border between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan crushed his truck, smashing its contents. The tragic episode highlights the danger of an environmental incident posed by the transport of hazardous materials along the Northern Distribution Network.
Perhaps with an eye on obtaining a higher rent, Kyrgyz leaders are sending mixed signals concerning the future of an American military facility in Kyrgyzstan beyond 2014, the year the bulk of US and NATO forces are supposed to be out of Afghanistan.
With the United States and its allies preparing for the 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan, a top British defense official who recently visited the region believes that British forces are close to securing overland transit routes via Central Asian states to extract military equipment.
Commercial sources familiar with operations on the Northern Distribution Network, a key supply line for the Afghan war effort, say that Uzbekistan is “continuously uncooperative” when it comes to facilitating the shipment of goods to US and NATO troops in Afghanistan. The hassles are such that some Pentagon contractors now try to avoid dealing with Tashkent when possible.
Two Chinese telecommunications giants are under scrutiny by a US congressional committee. The outcome of the probe could have revealing implications for Central Asian states, which have used these companies to modernize their telecom sectors.
The US Department of Defense makes approximately $500 million in payments annually to Central Asian states participating in the Northern Distribution Network. But the Pentagon won’t disclose the individual amounts that each state receives.