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Boletín mensual: OCTUBRE 2007

http://www.observatorio-eurasia.blogspot.com/

KASPAROV BARRED FROM RUSSIA POLLS

A Russian opposition group founded by the former world chess champion, Gary Kasparov, has
been barred from taking part in December's parliamentary polls. Mr Kasparov was one of three
candidates put forward by the Other Russia bloc. In a widely expected move, all three were
blocked by the election commission because the small Other Russia group is not registered as
a political party. Parties loyal to the popular President Vladimir Putin are expected to win the 2
December elections.
Fuente: http://news.bbc.co.uk
Continúa en p.4

TIME FOR A KING FOR GEORGIA?

Amid ongoing controversy about the Georgian government democratization methods, the leader
of the Georgian Orthodox Church has proposed the idea of establishing a constitutional
monarchy as a guarantee of stability.

Fuente: http://www.eurasianet.org
Continúa en p.5

LEADING JOURNALIST MURDERED IN SOUTH KYRGYZSTAN

Alisher Saipov was a highly respected journalist who made it his mission to write for Central
Asian as well as foreign readers. There must be something deeply wrong with our society if the
life of one of our brightest, youngest journalists can be stolen away so easily.

Fuente: http://www.iwpr.net
Continúa en p.14

TAJIKISTAN: EVALUATING TAJIKISTAN’S RECONSTRUCTION 10 YEARS AFTER THE


CIVIL WAR’S END

It has been 10 years since the end of Tajikistan’s civil war. An expert panel, convened recently
in Washington to evaluate the post-war era, generally lauded Tajikistan’s reconstruction
process. But panelists had differing views on the factors that contributed to stabilization.

Fuente: http://www.eurasianet.org
Continúa en p.19

INDICE

Política..............................p.3
Economía…………...…...….p.13
Medios de comunicación............................p.14
Sociedad.............................p.16

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El Observatorio Eurasia es un proyecto que se encuadra dentro de la línea de “Historia
de la propaganda y análisis de la comunicación política” del Grupo Interdisciplinario de
Estudios en Comunicación, Política y Cambio Social (COMPOLITICAS), y tiene como
principal objetivo el estudio, investigación y difusión de los principales fenómenos
políticos, culturales y comunicacionales que tienen lugar en el antiguo espacio soviético.

Coordinador
Miguel Vázquez Liñán

Responsable del número


Carmen Llano Pérez de la Lastra

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POLÍTICA - Titulares

Voting System Still Flawed as Kyrgyz Head for Referendum


http://www.eurasianet.org (03/10/2007)

Kasparov barred from Russia polls


http://news.bbc.co.uk (11/10/2007)

Time for a King for Georgia?


http://www.eurasianet.org (12/10/2007)

Voting System Still Flawed as Kyrgyz Head for Referendum


http://www.iwpr.net (19/10/2007)

Russian-EU talks focus on investments


http://english.pravda.ru (26/10/2007)

Eleven groups contest Russia poll


http://news.bbc.co.uk (29/10/2007)

UN to end Afghan food convoy attacks


http://english.pravda.ru (29/10/2007)

VOTING SYSTEM STILL FLAWED AS KYRGYZ HEAD FOR REFERENDUM

Rovshan Ismayilov, 03/10/2007, (http://www.eurasianet.org)

Azerbaijan’s next presidential election is more than a year away, but the country’s political players are
already gearing up for the coming campaign.

Local analysts believe incumbent President Ilham Aliyev will win reelection easily in November 2008. The
leaders of the governing Yeni Azerbaijan Party (YAP) clearly feel the same way. YAP Executive Secretary
Ali Akhmadov says the party has no doubts in President Aliyev’s "overwhelming victory." Individuals who
rely on government salaries are reportedly being called on to back up that prediction. On September 11,
Education Minister Misir Mardanov called on Baku teachers "to loudly promote, especially in the election
year, all the successes of Azerbaijan that were reached under Ilham Aliyev’s leadership," local media
reported.

In response, Azerbaijan’s relatively weak opposition argues that conditions for a free campaign do not
exist. As it has for earlier elections, it is considering a possible election boycott. At the same time,
newspapers close to the opposition Azadlig (Freedom) bloc – which comprises the Popular Front Party of
Azerbaijan (PFPA), Liberal Party and the Citizen and Development Party – and Musavat Party are mulling
the possibility of putting up a unified opposition candidate.

In remarks to EurasiaNet, Ali Kerimli, the PFPA leader, argued that media restrictions and the lack of a
strong rule of law hamper the party’s ability to take part in the vote. "The Azadlig bloc wants to participate
in the presidential elections if authorities create democratic conditions," Kerimli said. "However, if nothing
changes we will not take part in this show and will boycott the elections."

Musavat Party leader Isa Gambar has called for changes in the election code that would guarantee "parity
of the authorities and the opposition" in district electoral commissions, the Turan news agency reported on
October 1.

Both Kerimli and Gambar said they are ready to discuss the possibility of electoral cooperation in the
presidential vote, including an agreement on a single opposition candidate. The two opposition forces
entered into an alliance for the 2005 parliamentary elections, but the spirit of cooperation evaporated soon
after the balloting.

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For its part, the government maintains that it is not worried by the idea of an opposition boycott.
"Participation in, or a boycott of the presidential elections are the personal problems of the opposition
leaders," Ali Hasanov, head of the presidential administration’s political department, told journalists

recently. Hasanov put the size of the opposition electorate at about 10 percent of Azerbaijan’s population,
which is estimated at over 8 million. "There is no force in Azerbaijan that able to decide the elections’
results by using a boycott."

Central Election Commission Chairman Mazahir Panahov has also dismissed the idea. "The way to power
in [the] democratic world [lies] through election[s]," Panahov said. The commission boss pointed to the
provision of new, fully equipped buildings for more than 60 of Azerbaijan’s 125 electoral commissions and
the alleged absence of restrictions on accreditation for domestic and international observers as signs that
the country’s electoral system is up to snuff, Day.az reported on September 17.

Meanwhile, the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe is continuing its consultations with the
government about election code modifications, including steps to reduce the YAP’s dominance of election
commissions. (Currently, all chairpersons as well as one-third of district commissions’ nine members are
controlled by the governing party.) The US Ambassador in Baku, Anne Derse, has backed the concept of
making adjustments, telling journalists on October 1 that such changes "will affect the situation in a
positive way." The next round of consultations is scheduled for mid-October.

An October 1 petition delivered to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe by opposition
leader Eldar Namazov, a potential presidential candidate, calls on the assembly to push for free and fair
elections next year.

In public, the government has consistently maintained that it will not introduce any changes to the election
code. Parliament’s autumn agenda contains no discussions on the topic.

Even with election code changes, local analysts do not see President Aliyev having the kind of
weaknesses that potential opposition candidates could exploit. "Opposition leaders are sitting in their dusty
offices in Baku, while Ilham Aliyev has traveled to dozens of regions and has constantly met with
people…The government is investing hundred millions of dollars in infrastructure improvement. New
industrial facilities are being established in the regions, [and] road conditions are improving," commented
Ilgar Mammadov, a Baku-based independent political analyst.

By ignoring the regions, Mammadov continued, the opposition risks missing a huge chunk of the
electorate. "They only complain to international organizations that they cannot hold rallies in the center of
Baku, and ask for parity in the election commissions," he said. "It is impossible to win the elections with
such an attitude. There are presidential elections in the US in 2008 as well. [But] see how much American
candidates are traveling throughout the country, and meeting with people."

Elhan Shahinoglu, director of Baku’s Atlas political research center, shares this opinion. "Dozens of large,
new facilities now under construction will be inaugurated in the election year, including new metro stations
in Baku, traffic bridges and roads, airports in several cities, hospitals, schools and so on. Of course, Ilham
Aliyev will be cutting red ribbons at all these places and it will help increase his popularity," Shahinoglu
said.

A candidate who represents Azerbaijan’s growing number of Islamic faithful could potentially alter that
scenario, both analysts believe, but without posing a serious challenge to President Aliyev. For now,
continued Shahinoglu, "[t]he opposition is too weak to change the situation domestically, while another
agenda [energy and security] is dominating the West now towards Azerbaijan."

Nor is an opposition boycott likely to grab the international community’s attention, Mammadov added.
"International organizations have never welcomed the boycott idea, so it is not going to get sympathy this
time, either."

FUENTE: http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/100307f.shtml

KASPAROV BARRED FROM RUSSIA POLLS

BBC, 11/10/2007, (http://news.bbc.co.uk)

A Russian opposition group founded by the former world chess champion, Gary Kasparov, has been
barred from taking part in December's parliamentary polls.
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Mr Kasparov was one of three candidates put forward by the Other Russia bloc. In a widely expected
move, all three were blocked by the election commission because the small Other Russia group is not
registered as a political party. Parties loyal to the popular President Vladimir Putin are expected to win the
2 December elections.

Other Russia has described new Russian laws governing the registration of political parties as
discriminatory. The group brings together a broad coalition of mainstream politicians, leftists and
nationalists, all of whom are opposed to President Putin.

Mr Putin stands down when Russia elects a new president in March 2008, as the constitution bars him
from seeking a third consecutive term. He has said he plans to add his name to his party's list in
December's parliamentary vote, which effectively guarantees him a seat in the next parliament.

He has also described as "entirely realistic" the suggestion that he may become the next prime minister of
Russia. Mr Kasparov has said he too will run for the presidency next year.

The election is expected to be won by the person Mr Putin nominates as his successor.

FUENTE: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7039274.stm

TIME FOR A KING FOR GEORGIA?

Giorgi Lomsadze, 12/10/2007, (http://www.eurasianet.org)

Amid ongoing controversy about the Georgian government democratization methods, the leader of the
Georgian Orthodox Church has proposed the idea of establishing a constitutional monarchy as a
guarantee of stability.

In a televised October 7 sermon, Patriarch Ilia II argued that a monarch would best protect the interests of
citizens of Georgia. Citing Spain as an example, the patriarch said that the constitutional monarchies of the
West act as safeguards of stability and national unity. "The king will reign, not rule," he said.

The patriarch’s proposal was quickly embraced by many of Georgia’s main opposition parties, as well as
by media magnate Badri Patarkatsishvili, who has announced potential political plans of his own. The
proposal neatly dovetailed with the opposition’s new slogan "Georgia without a President," a takeoff on
President Mikheil Saakashvili’s Rose Revolution motto "Georgia without Shevardnadze." The slogan is
intended as a call for a parliamentary system of government.

"Speaking for most opposition parties, I believe … a constitutional monarchy is the perfect form of
government," Zviad Dzidziguri, one of the leaders of the Conservative Party, told reporters the day of Ilia
II’s statement.

A parliamentary debate on the topic, proposed by the opposition New Rights Party, has been scheduled
for October 25. The New Rights Party has not joined an opposition coalition formed around former
Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili, who recently announced the formation of his own opposition party,
Movement for a United Georgia, to Saakashvili.

Since being released on bail from prison on October 9, however, Okruashvili has stayed out of public view.
At an October 11 press briefing, United Georgia member Koka Guntsadze told reporters that Okruashvili
would be leaving politics. "I would like to tell you that his moral condition is rather grave. The state of his
health is also unfavorable. He finds it hard to speak about details," Guntsadze said, after a two-hour
conversation with Okruashvili.

"Considering the current state of affairs and all the nuances, Irakli Okruashvili will leave politics for the time
being, Guntsadze continued. "We, his friends and partners, would like to state that we understand his
moral condition …. and have no complaints whatsoever against him."

Meanwhile, the idea of a constitutional monarchy has become the latest political buzz topic. In a
memorandum, the New Rights Party argues that a monarch would be "above political and economic
ideologies and debates" and act as a "neutral arbiter and the defender of the country[‘s] unity and
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independence." By holding the right to dismiss a prime minister with authoritarian tendencies -- a trait the
opposition claims increasingly characterizes President Saakashvili -- a monarch would help preserve
democracy, the memo holds.

One local political analyst, however, argues that the sudden support for a constitutional monarchy has less
to do with actual political beliefs and more to do with the fight for political clout that has followed
Okruashvili’s accusations, arrest and subsequent recantation.

"Had the idea come from a political party, it wouldn’t have become so popular. But the Church has a lot of
authority, and politicians are trying to make a point that their values are akin to those of the church," said
Ramaz Sakvarelidze, an independent political analyst.

Meanwhile, the governing Nationalist Movement Party has tried to soft-pedal Ilia II’s statement. "The
patriarch didn’t suggest establishing monarchy today. He meant this may happen after Georgia resolves its
fundamental problems," pro-administration MP Giga Bokeria told reporters on October 8.
Ilia II has avoided further comment on the topic.

Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze has expressed skepticism about the idea, pointing out in an
October 11 interview with the pro-opposition daily Rezonansi that a constitutional monarchy would
"perhaps create even more problems" for Georgia.

Reviving Georgia’s monarchy was first broached during the last years of the Soviet Union. The proposal
was shelved after nationalist Zviad Gamsakhurdia was elected president in 1991.

Who would even assume the role of monarch, though, is a matter for additional debate. In his sermon, the
patriarch called for restoring the ancient Bagrationi dynasty to the throne, although some Georgians have
interpreted the statement as simply an appeal to restrict the president’s powers.

While ordinary Georgians have a soft spot in their hearts for the Bagrationi family, which produced many
prominent scientists and military commanders, picking a candidate monarch would not be an easy task.
The ascendancy of the dynasty dates to the 10th century and is roughly divided between descendants of
the eastern realm of Kartli-Kakheti ruled by Giorgi XII until 1801 when the Russian Empire annexed
Georgia and abolished its monarchy, and a western realm (Imereti) ruled by Solomon II until 1810.

Historian Raul Chagunava, a longtime researcher of the Bagrationi family, believes that the crown by right
belongs to Nugzar Bagrationi-Gruzinski, the director of Tbilisi’s Tumanshivili Theater and a patrilineal
descendant of Giorgi XII. Nino Bagrationi, the 90-year-old direct descendant of Solomon II told EurasiaNet
that she recognizes the claim of Nugzar Bagrationi-Gruzinski. Meanwhile, Georgia’s monarchist party,
Royal Crown, favors another ancillary branch.

But feelings among those Bagrationis still in Georgia are decidedly mixed about the patriarch’s proposal.
Setting up a constitutional monarchy would not solve Georgia’s political woes, noted Giorgi Bagrationi-
Jafaridze, a laboratory head, and the son of Nino Bagrationi. The sovereign, he argued, could become a
mere puppet in the hands of politicians. "While absolute monarchy is out of the question, the king has to
hold control over strategic matters," he commented.

When asked about the restoration of Georgia’s monarchy. Nino Bagrationi, a professor of engineering
whose features are reminiscent of those of her royal ancestors, smiles calmly and shakes her head

"The time is not ripe for this," Bagrationi said. "The country has to grow and develop. Later… perhaps."

FUENTE: http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav101207a.shtml

VOTING SYSTEM STILL FLAWED AS KYRGYZ HEAD FOR REFERENDUM

Jipara Abdrakhmanova, 19/10/2007, (http://www.iwpr.net)

The system by which voters will decide the fate of a new constitution is obsolete and open to abuse,
analysts say.

As voters in Kyrgyzstan prepare to go to the polls to approve or reject a new constitution, analysts say the
system used for compiling the electoral roll remains deeply flawed.
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While there is no suggestion that the current authorities plan to fix the October 21 referendum, most
analysts interviewed by IWPR agreed there was plenty of scope for anyone with an interest in skewing the
result to do so.

Kyrgyzstan’s past record is not encouraging – notably, two rounds of parliamentary elections in early 2005
produced so many allegations of irregularities and wrongdoing that they sparked a mass protest
movement which culminated in the ousting of President Askar Akaev in March that year.

Two areas, in particular, worry analysts to whom IWPR has spoken – an outmoded electoral registration

system based on residence records, and the likelihood that many of the hundreds of thousands of Kyrgyz
nationals working abroad will miss out on a chance to vote.

Because the constitution contains new provisions for parliamentary elections, voters in the referendum will
be asked in addition to approve a new electoral law to implement the shift from a constituency-based
system to proportional representation, where seats will be filled from candidate lists according to how a
given party has performed nationally.

The referendum was announced by President Kurmanbek Bakiev only a month in advance, on September
19, when he also revealed the version of the constitution he would like to go through.

This followed a Constitutional Court ruling five days earlier that the current constitution dating from
December 2006, as well another version from the month before, were null and void. This forced the
country to revert to the 2003 constitution introduced in 2003 under President Akaev.

Constitutional reform was one of the main demands put forward in a series of protests since March 2005,
when a Bakiev came to power.

In November 2006, after coming under pressure from opposition demonstrations, the Kyrgyz parliament
changed the constitution to strengthen the role of parliament and limit the president’s authority. However, a
month later, parliament passed another version of the constitution which restored the president’s powers,
causing an outcry amongst civil society activists who argued that it gave the head of state too much power.

In their ruling, Constitutional Court judges found that changes to the rules of parliament - introduced
expressly so that legislators could pass constitutional amendments without referring them to the court -
were not legally valid.

Critics of Bakiev say the constitution he is now proposing leaves him and his successors with excessive
powers, and is not conducive to creating a more democratic society.

Experts on the electoral system warn that the validity of the referendum which will decide this crucial issue
could be marred by abuses such as multiple voting.

In Kyrgyzstan, people are registered to vote in the administrative district where they have a “propiska”, a
record showing their place of residence. In Soviet times, the system was used to control population
movement.

These day, large numbers of people move around the country or go off to work abroad. The complexities
involved in shifting one’s propiska means that many migrants do not bother to do so. Voting stations will
therefore be left with many ballot papers in the name of long-absent voters.

Yelena Voronina of the non-government group Interbilim said that since her organisation began monitoring
elections in 1998, it has identified cases where unclaimed blank ballots – assigned to either absentees or
dead people - have been filled out by unscrupulous officials to help the incumbent authorities win.

“There were dead souls and discrepancies on the electoral roll,” she said.

Voronina said similar problems could reappear in the forthcoming referendum.

“It seems the current authorities are blindly repeating these practices without learning the lessons from
unpleasant experiences of the past,” she said.

She believes that basing voter registration on residence criteria in a country with such high levels of
internal and external migration is wrong.

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“I am against voting with the propiska system; we should move away from this legacy of the Soviet Union,”
she said.

By some counts, there are up to a million expatriates – a fifth of the country’s population – mostly in Russia
and Kazakstan either as seasonal workers or more permanent residents.

The sheer numbers of potential voters and the short advance notice given for this referendum mean that
even those who have the right papers could find they are denied the right to vote abroad.

In Russia, where the largest number of expatriate Kyrgyz nationals are based, polling stations will open in
Moscow, Yekaterinburg, and Novosibirsk, while in Kazakstan, it will be possible to vote in the capital
Astana and Almaty, the largest urban centre. Kyrgyz nationals living far from these major cities will be
effectively excluded.

Alikbek Jekshenkulov, a former foreign minister, doubts Kyrgyzstan’s small diplomatic missions will have
the capacity to cope.

“There are usually about five to six diplomats working in our missions abroad, although the embassy in
Russia is an exception. So it is unrealistic to expect the staff of these diplomatic missions to manage such
a flow of people,” he said.

The deputy speaker of parliament, Erkin Alymbekov, warns that “the entire labour migrant vote represents
an opportunity for abuse by the administration, especially since there isn’t a mechanism to guarantee fair
voting or to observe the process abroad”.

Another factor that will reduce the expatriate vote is that many migrants are living and working illegally, so
they will be reluctant to reveal themselves for fear the Russian or Kazak authorities will take note and
deport them.

Emil Imakeev, head of the external labour migration department of the Kyrgyz state committee for
migration and employment, said only 10 per cent of the Kyrgyz citizens in Russia enjoy full status, whereas
the figure for illegal immigrants is “beyond all calculation”.

Some argue that despite its flaws, the residence-based system is the only workable way of registering
voters at the moment.

Nina Mukhina, head of information at the Central Election Committee, CEC, said the propiska system was
the only effective way of preventing multiple voting on a massive scale.

“If we were to get rid of the propiska [system], mechanisms would have to be introduced to replace it.
Otherwise, instead of two-and-a-half million voters, we could end up with a list twice as long, since many
voters have a propiska in one place but live somewhere else,” said Mukhina.

In any case, Mukhina said, there was already provision to people to cast an absentee ballot. All they have
to do is go back to the place where they are recorded as living and pick up the papers.

But critics say it is difficult and expensive for people who are by definition economic migrants to make such
a trip.

Juma Abdullaev, whose Zamandash group helps labour migrant and other diaspora members, said his
organisation had offered to help set up mobile polling stations, as employed in the 2005 election in which
Bakiev became president, but the CEC had rejected the idea.

“The Central Election Commission told us that a decision had been taken not to deploy mobile polling
stations this year,” he said.

Political analyst Svetlana Moldogazieva, of the CFG legal consultancy, says that despite the criticism of
the current system, no viable alternative has been put forward.

She also believes pressure groups are making a fuss about potential hitches for their own ends.

“I believe certain NGOs are exaggerating this issue - criticising the principle of voting by residence
registration and thereby alarming the public merely to draw attention to themselves,” she said.

Nevertheless, some election officials admit that current voter registration practices are in need of

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improvement.

CEC member Jyldyz Joldosheva told the AKIpress news agency on October 12 that she had noticed
irregularities on electoral lists earlier this month when she visited the southern Osh region. Eligible voters
were omitted, while deceased people were still listed.

“On October 7, there was a local election for Osh city council, and large numbers of voters did not get on
to the main electoral roll. Additional lists of up to 300 people at a time had to be compiled in most
constituencies,” she said.

“Moreover, in nearly every constituency the names of deceased people had been included. This is wrong,
not only because it’s in breach of the law but also because it’s highly unethical.”

Joldosheva blamed the local mayor’s office for the mix-up, and warned that it would have to do better
when it came to the referendum.

In a recent television interview, another CEC member, Akylbek Sariev said, “Problems with the voting lists
certainly exist. Sometimes there are dead souls. It can’t be rule out that it will happen again. I agree that
there are deficiencies in our work.

“But if everyone [in the CEC] approached their duties responsibly, we could avoid this problem.
Unfortunately, there are individuals on the local election committees who do not carry out their obligations
honestly.”

FUENTE: http://www.iwpr.net/?p=rca&s=f&o=339981&apc_state=henprca

RUSSIAN-EU TALKS FOCUS ON INVESTMENTS

Pravda, 26/10/2007, (http://english.pravda.ru)

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday tried to convince European leaders that Russian investment
had an exclusively practical character and praised forwarding trade ties between the 27-nation bloc and its
neighbor to the East.

Putin spoke at the opening of the twice-yearly summit that is expected to yield little progress on long-
standing disputes.

Talks focused on a range of obstacles standing in the way of a planned strategic partnership agreement
that seeks to deepen ties between Moscow and Brussels. Relations have turned frosty in recent years,
however, due to quarrels over trade, energy, human rights, Balkan conflicts and other issues.

Just two minor deals were expected to be announced after the two hours of talks. One aims to increase
cooperation in the fight against drug use and trafficking, and the other is to let Russia raise steel exports to
Western Europe.

Putin began talks Friday with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Portuguese
Prime Minister Jose Socrates, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, at an 18th-
century baroque palace in Mafra, a small town about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Lisbon.

Socrates said at the start of the talks he wanted them to be "constructive and positive."

"Politicians have to be able to respond to the uncertainties and tensions of the modern world. Nothing will
contribute more to world peace than a good, stable and lasting relationship between the EU and Russia,"
he said.

Topping the list of concerns for a growing number of European nations is Russian energy policy the
reliability of supplies and the intentions of state-run oil and gas companies. Russia already provides 30
percent of EU energy imports, including 44 percent of natural gas imports, and state-controlled gas giant

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OAO Gazprom has recently moved to acquire assets in Europe and strike bilateral deals with some EU
countries.

That has led the EU to consider new restrictions on non-EU companies owning majority stakes in gas
pipelines or electricity power grids without additional agreements much to the Russians' consternation.

Putin tried to assuage those worries, saying that Russian investment is private money, not government,
and should be welcomed by the EU.

"When we hear in some countries phrases like 'the Russians are coming with their scary money,' it sounds
a bit funny," he said.

He said money flowing into Russian government coffers largely from oil and gas exports was being used to
resolve internal domestic problems. And he noted that private foreign investors hold large amounts of
shares in Gazprom.

"Our investments abroad have a strictly, exclusively practical character," he said.

Russian officials have said they are optimistic about the resolving one issue that has kept Moscow and
Brussels from signing a new cooperation agreement meat imports from Poland.

A two-year Russian ban on Polish meat imports has led Warsaw to veto a new agreement with Russia. But
the outcome of last weekend's elections in which a pro-business, pro-European bloc defeated the Prime
Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski could ease the situation. Still, Putin said the current cooperation agreement
would be prolonged.

Even so, there are major hurdles to broader deal between the two sides, including key trade and foreign
policy issues.

Putin arrived in the Portuguese capital Lisbon on Thursday and in his first news conference appeared to
criticize new U.S. sanctions against Iran.

The Russian leader also warned against supporting Kosovo's independence, another difficult issue
between Russia and the West. Moscow opposes a Western-backed plan to grant the province
internationally supervised independence from Serbia.

Putin met Thursday with Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva and praised the warm welcome he
said he received.

"I consider that the good-neighbor atmosphere that has been created here by our hosts and that now
characterizes our bilateral relations will be translated to the EU-Russia summit ... and will contribute to the
achievement of a positive result," Putin said.

FUENTE: http://english.pravda.ru/news/world/99644-1/

ELEVEN GROUPS CONTEST RUSSIA POLL

BBC, 29/10/2007, (http://news.bbc.co.uk)

Russian authorities have registered 11 political groups to contest the parliamentary election on 2
December.

The Central Election Commission has disqualified three parties because of questions over some of the
signatures they had gathered for registration.

United Russia already seems assured of the lion's share of the 450 seats in the State Duma (lower house),
the BBC's James Rodgers reports from Moscow.

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President Vladimir Putin is heading United Russia's list of candidates.

Mr Putin is not expected to take a seat in the Duma, but his declaration of support has been sufficient for
United Russia to surge further ahead.

An opinion poll last week suggested two-thirds of the electorate were preparing to vote for the party.

None of the three disqualified parties seemed likely to collect the 7% of votes needed to win seats, our
correspondent says.

The main unknown in this election is how many of the other parties will join United Russia in the new
parliament.

The chairman of the Central Election Commission, Vladimir Churov, said invitations would be sent out to
international election observers on Tuesday, including the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in
Europe (OSCE).

FUENTE: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7067354.stm

UN TO END AFGHAN FOOD CONVOY ATTACKS

Pravda, 29/10/2007, (http://english.pravda.ru/)

Thirty four aid workers were killed in Afghanistan this year. The U.N. accused militants and criminals of
these misdeeds. It also called on armed groups to stop attacks on humanitarian convoys so food can
reach millions of poor Afghans.

Underscoring the country's increasing violence, a six-hour battle in the country's south left more than 50
militants dead and wounded, while a roadside bomb killed a U.S.-led coalition soldier in the same region.

The U.N.'s plea for access to the needy comes as Afghanistan is going through one of the most violent
periods since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. More than 5,300 people have died this year in insurgency
related violence, according to an Associated Press count based on figures from Afghan and Western
officials.

Insurgents and criminal gangs have killed 34 aid workers this year, abducted 76 others and attacked or
looted 55 aid convoys, said Tom Koenigs, the head of the U.N. Assistance Mission to Afghanistan.
"The attacks on humanitarian aid must stop," Koenigs told reporters.

"Those responsible for these attacks and for the insecurity are pushing the most vulnerable people outside
of our reach," he said. "Those responsible for these attacks need to know that they are attacking the
welfare of Afghanistan's most vulnerable communities."

The majority of the aid workers attacked in 2007 were Afghan nationals, including doctors, de-miners and
engineers, the U.N. said.

The number of attacks on convoys has increased six-fold this year from 2006, said Rick Corsino, the
country director for the U.N.'s World Food Program. There have been 30 attacks on WFP food convoys so
far this year, mainly in the country's south, compared with five attacks in 2006.

"In a majority of these incidents, food was looted ... and so far we have lost something like 1,000 tons of
food," Corsino said.

The violence that has swept the country's south has prevented the WFP from moving any aid convoys in
the last six weeks on the highway that connects the country's major southern city, Kandahar, and the
major western city, Herat, he said.

Authorities have six weeks to reach about 400,000 Afghans living at high elevations before winter sets in,
Corsino said.

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Nearly 5 million Afghans need food aid. The WFP has already distributed 220,000 tons worth US$150
million (€210 million) this year, he said.

A roadside blast against a coalition patrol in Sangin district in Helmand province left a coalition soldier
dead and another wounded Monday, a coalition statement said. Their nationalities were not released. The
troops were helping deliver supplies for the Afghan National Army at the time of the blast, the coalition
said.

In Helmand's capital Lashkar Gah, a suicide bomber blew himself up next to a taxi stand Monday, killing
three civilians and a policeman, the Interior Ministry said. Six people were wounded.

Meanwhile, in an effort to crackdown on illegal private security firms in Kabul, Afghan police raided and
shut down a British-based security company on Monday.

Police arrested three Afghan guards and the Afghan director of Olympus Security Group for operating
without a license, the eighth such firm to be closed this month.

"Today was No. 8. Tomorrow will be No. 9," said Ali Shah Paktiawal, director of criminal investigations for
the Kabul police. Paktiawal has said previously that 12 or 13 security companies would be targeted in the
closures.

Olympus, which has only a small presence in Kabul, is the first foreign security company to be shut down
following the closures of seven Afghan firms. A woman who answered the phone at the company's
headquarters in Gloucestershire said no one was immediately available to speak about the company's
Afghan operations.

Officials say some of Kabul's security firms are suspected of involvement in criminal activity such as
killings and robbery. About 60 security companies are registered with the government, but two dozen
others are thought to be in existence.

NATO-led and Afghan troops launched an attack in Baluch village in Uruzgan province during a gathering
of local Taliban on Sunday, said Juma Gul Himat, the provincial police chief.

"More than 50 enemies were killed or wounded" and 13 others detained during the joint operation, a
statement from Afghanistan's Defense Ministry said.

Maj. Charles Anthony, a spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force, said "several
dozen militants were killed" in the clash.

It was impossible to immediately verify the death counts

FUENTE: http://english.pravda.ru/news/world/99743-1/

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ECONOMÍA - Titulares

OSCE economic rehabilitation projects in zone of Georgian-Ossetian


conflict discussed in Tskhinvali
http://www.osce.org (19/10/2007)

OSCE ECONOMIC REHABILITATION PROJECTS IN ZONE OF GEORGIAN-OSSETIAN


CONFLICT DISCUSSED IN TSKHINVALI

OSCE, 19/10/2007, (http://www.osce.org)

Ongoing internationally-funded projects for the economic rehabilitation of the zone of the Georgian-
Ossetian conflict are being discussed at an OSCE-chaired meeting underway in Tskhinvali today.

At the working meeting of the Steering Committee, which includes representatives of donors and the sides
(Georgian, South Ossetian, North Ossetian and Russian Federation) OSCE engineers are outlining the
progress of ongoing projects, including those on potable water-related activities and improvement of
infrastructure as well as development of agriculture and the business sector.

Donor representatives from the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Sweden (SIDA),
Turkey and the United States attending the meeting are learning about the near-completion of a project to
supply drinking water to Georgian and Ossetian villages around Disevi, and construction work on schools
for both communities including those in and around Orteu and Sveri.

An assessment of the current condition of water irrigation systems is also being examined at the meeting,
including the results to date from the OSCE team's preliminary assessment of irrigation systems in the
zone of conflict.

The Committee is also reviewing plans for implementation of projects for social infrastructure, gas and
electricity.

The Steering Committee meets regularly to agree on implementation of projects managed by the OSCE.
International donors pledged some eight million euros to the programme, aimed at building confidence
between communities in the area.

FUENTE: http://www.osce.org/item/27435.html

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MEDIOS DE COMUNICACIÓN- Titulares

OSCE Centre promotes access to information in Kazakhstan


http://www.osce.org (15/10/2007)

Leading Journalist Murdered in South Kyrgyzstan


http://www.iwpr.net (25/10/2007)

OSCE CENTRE PROMOTES ACCESS TO INFORMATION IN KAZAKHSTAN

OSCE, 15/10/2007, (http://www.osce.org)

Promoting transparency in the law-making process by enhancing co-operation between media and the
Parliament is the aim of a two-day training course co-organized by the OSCE Centre that started today in
Astana.

Thirty-five journalists from media outlets that report on the work of Kazakhstan's Parliament are taking part
in the course, which is being conducted by national and international experts. Reporting on parliamentary
activities in accordance with national legislation and international experience with the interaction between
media and legislators, as well as the gender aspects of legislature, are among the topics to be discussed.

"It is important to provide the public with truthful information on the activities of the Parliament. In this
respect an independent and pluralistic media plays an important role in ensuring transparency in the
activity of the states institutions," said Ambassador Ivar Vikki, Head of the OSCE Centre in Astana,
addressing the training participants.

The training course, which is jointly organized by the OSCE Centre in Astana, the United Nations
Development Programme and the Parliament of Kazakhstan, constitutes an important element of the
Centre's activities to promote freedom of expression in the country.

FUENTE: http://www.osce.org/item/27343.html

LEADING JOURNALIST MURDERED IN SOUTH KYRGYZSTAN

Kumar Bekbolotov, 25/10/2007, (http://www.iwpr.net)

Alisher Saipov was a highly respected journalist who made it his mission to write for Central Asian as well
as foreign readers.

There must be something deeply wrong with our society if the life of one of our brightest, youngest
journalists can be stolen away so easily.

When we heard the news that Alisher Saipov had been murdered in cold blood, our initial reaction was not
to believe it – it just couldn’t be him.

Alisher, who was 26, was a prominent journalist working in Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan. He was known for
his courageous first-hand reporting not only on Kyrgyzstan but also on neighbouring Uzbekistan.

He was murdered on the evening of October 24 on the city’s main thoroughfare, Masaliev Street.
Someone shot him three times with a pistol.

I met him two weeks ago in Bishkek, and he was proud to share his stories of sleepless nights as he
helped his wife take care of their two-month old daughter.

Alisher filed several excellent stories for IWPR in 2005 on developments in southern Kyrgyzstan, and was
recently a trainee and consultant at a workshop for IWPR’s News Briefing Central Asia news agency
project.

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He was a friend to IWPR and its Central Asia team, who looked up to him as a model of journalistic grit
and courage.

A long-term correspondent for the Uzbek services of Voice of America and Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), he had
earlier been editor-in-chief of two Osh newspapers, and regional editor of the Fergana.ru news agency.

Most recently, he founded an Uzbek-language newspaper called Siyosat (Politics) and was its chief editor.

“We hope to win readers by providing objective information… the paper will differ from others by providing
balanced information and analysis,” Alisher said when he launched the paper earlier this year.

Siyosat soon became extremely popular not only in the Kyrgyz part of the Ferghana Valley, but also in
neighbouring regions of Uzbekistan. Alisher told how Uzbeks of all kinds - traders and farmers - would
cross the border into Kyrgyzstan just to get their copy of Siyosat.

The last entry on the newspaper’s blog which he produced (at http://siyosat.uzbek.kg) was headlined “Bye,
Bye, Bye”. The piece was about a poem in an Uzbekistan newspaper lauding the cotton harvest in
Andijan, but the title now looks like an ominous portent.

Alisher was young and full of ambitions, all cut short by his murder. An ethnic Uzbek, he was a patriotic
citizen of Kyrgyzstan and also of Central Asia as a whole, not least in his reporting on Uzbekistan.

He set great store by the highest standards of journalism, and saw his mission as being to provide
information to the average person in the region.

Perhaps for that reason, the Central Asian internet space witnessed an unprecedented smear campaign
against him in recent months, with numerous articles posted depicting Alisher as an enemy of Uzbekistan
and urging the Kyrgyz authorities to take action against him. Some of these postings were anonymous; if
they were signed, the likelihood is that pseudonyms were used.

“Saipov’s activities are directed against the constitutional foundations of Uzbekistan,” said one of these
stories.

Another alleged that he had contacts with Islamic extremists and darkly hinted at “concerns for his future”.

Earlier this month, Alisher told us that a Fergana Valley regional television station in Uzbekistan had aired
a programme attacking what it said was his “anti-Uzbek” attitude.

Whoever is behind this terrible murder, it crosses an important line – it is the first time a journalist has been
killed in so brazen a fashion in Kyrgyzstan.

It is now incumbent on the Kyrgyz authorities to ensure that an investigation takes place under proper
supervision and that the culprits are identified and punished appropriately.

FUENTE: http://www.iwpr.net/?p=rca&s=f&o=340096&apc_state=henprca

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SOCIEDAD- Titulares

Religion in Central Asia: Hijab politics


http://www.eurasianet.org (01/10/2007)

Kabul: the city of fear


http://www.iwpr.net (05/10/2007)

Tajikistan: Evaluating Tajikistan’s reconstruction 10 years


after the Civil War’s end
http://www.eurasianet.org (18/10/2007)

En Azerbaïdjan, les autorités annoncent avoir déjoué


plusieurs attentats dans la capitale
http://www.lemonde.fr (29/10/2007)

RELIGION IN CENTRAL ASIA: HIJAB POLITICS

Igor Rotar, 01/10/2007, (http://www.eurasianet.org)

As a devout Muslim, Davlatmo Ismailova faced pressure during her three years at university to remove her
traditional head covering during classes. She resisted, until the Ministry of Education in Tajikistan ordered
schools and universities to ban women from wearing head scarves on campus.

Ismailova, a third-year student at the Institute of Foreign Languages in the capital, Dushanbe, says the
ministry’s May decree violates her constitutional right to practice her religion and is an affront to Islamic
custom. She vows to continue to fight the new law, all the way to the country’s supreme court, after lower
courts rejected her case.

Islamic leaders say the ban is a fresh assault on religious freedom in Tajikistan, where the fiercely secular
government of President Emomali Rahmon has imposed restrictions on worship and has cracked down on
Islamic political activism. Islamic leaders say the 20-year-old Ismailova has little chance of succeeding in
the current political environment.

"Unfortunately, chances of success for the determined woman are very few," said Hikmatullo Saifullozoda,
director of the analytical center of the opposition Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan. He said
education officials would not have acted in the first place without the consent of the country’s leadership.

The former Soviet republic’s constitution calls for religious freedom, but in practice there is little liberty and
believers are coming under increasing state control. In 2005, the Ministry of Education required students to
wear uniforms as a way to discourage religious garments, and in May went a step further by banning the
hijab, which covers a woman’s hair and neck. The government is also considering new restrictions on the
practice of Islam in a country where 97 percent of people are Muslim.

Saifullozoda said he has no estimate for the number of females facing the same plight as Ismailova in
schools and universities but says those who defy the ban simply quit school.

Ismailova told the Russian Ferghana.ru news agency that there were 15 other women in her institute who
stopped wearing their head scarves after being warned against the practice by their instructors.

‘I CHOOSE HIJAB’

"Regrettably, most girls bowed to the pressure applied in this whole campaign and don’t wear hijab
outdoors anymore," she said in the Ferghana.ru interview. "I know they fear expulsion. … As for me, I’m
not going to follow these orders that humiliate me and encroach on my rights. If they put it this way,
institute or hijab, then I choose hijab."

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The hijab is a highly visible symbol of the Islamic tradition and a controversial one in Tajikistan and other
countries where religious leaders and secular governments try to find accommodation. The head scarf
worn by the wife of Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul nearly triggered a political crisis in the secularist
country when Gul was nominated for president in April.

"The problem with the hijab is rather critical even for the rest of the Central Asian states," said human
rights activist Surat Ikramov in Uzbekistan, which forbids religious clothing in public buildings.

Gulnara Nurieva, a human rights activist in Kyrgyzstan, where some regional administrations prohibit the
hijab in schools, says it is particularly sensitive for devout females. "For Muslim women taking scarves off
is as humiliating as being naked in front of men," Nurieva said.

The Tajik government’s ban on the hijab is part of a broader effort to control the influence of Islam in
government, education and society.

In its latest survey of religious freedom, the U.S. Statement Department reports that Tajikistan’s State
Committee on Religious Affairs has closed unregistered mosques and prayer rooms but has not interfered
in registered places of worship. The report says these and other efforts by the Tajik government "reflected
a concern about Islamic extremism, a concern shared by much of the general population. The government
monitors the activities of religious institutions to keep them from becoming overtly political."

But the human rights group Amnesty International reports more dire consequences for Muslims. Nine
women were among those sentenced to prison last year for their membership in the banned Hizb ut Tahrir
party and for distributing literature calling for the establishment of an Islamic state. The government has
also sought to impose greater control over who attends pilgrimages to Mecca.

"It’s obvious that the state suddenly made its policy very strict in regards to Muslims," said Muhiddin Kabiri,
leader of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan. Kabiri said officials destroyed two mosques in
Dushanbe this summer because they were not registered with the government. In July, the city
administration also issued a decree prohibiting worship outside of mosques and the broadcasting of
prayers from loud speakers.

Saifullozoda of the party’s analytical center also attributed the readiness of to enforce decrees –
sometimes before they are even official – to overzealous public officials. "We Tajiks have a proverb about
extremely hard-working officials: ‘If a boss asks to bring the hat, he or she brings it with a head.’ "

These steps may also be part of a broader effort by Rahmon to consolidate power. The president took
office in 1994 and was re-elected last year with nearly 80 percent of the vote in an election that
international observers condemned as lacking pluralism.

Michael Hall, director of the Central Asian bureau of the International Crisis Group, said Tajikistan’s control
of faith "is only one of the aspects of modern reality in Tajikistan."

Despite the odds, Ismailova said she won’t give up, vowing, "I fully intend to fight for my rights."

FUENTE: http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav100107b.shtml

KABUL: THE CITY OF FEAR

Wahidullah Amani, 05/10/07, (http://www.iwpr.net)

The Afghan government has vowed to make the capital a symbol of security, but recent bombings have
sown terror.

Kabul’s narrow streets, recently so crowded, are now unnaturally calm.

The last 10 days of Ramadan are usually the year’s busiest, as shoppers rush to buy clothes, presents
and food for Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that ends a month of fasting. Kabul’s daytime population normally
doubles during this periods as crowds come in from the provinces to complete their purchases.

But for the past few days, the shops have been empty and the streets deserted. Those who do venture out
have pinched faces and a hurried look – they all fear that another suicide attack could come at any time.

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“I had to come to the city to buy things for Eid,” said Nafas Gul, 28. “But I am sorry I’m here. I am afraid all
the time, and I’m hurrying so that I can get home. Everyone there is worried about me.”

The past two weeks have seen several devastating attacks that have taken the lives of dozens of military
and civilians in various parts of the capital.

The Taleban have claimed responsibility for the carnage, saying it marks a new phase in their “jihad” or
holy war against the Afghan government and the foreigners who back it.

The biggest incident was on September 29, when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives on a bus full
of Afghan army personnel, killing 30 and injuring 29. The blast shattered the calm of a neighbourhood
previously considered safe, Kart-e-Parwan.

Another bomb just three days later made Kabul residents uncomfortably aware that no area of the capital
is truly safe any more. The October 2 blast, in the western part of the city, targeted a shuttle bus carrying
Afghan police.

Witnesses say 15 people were killed and ten were injured. The interior ministry confirmed the death toll,
which included 10 police, but spokesman Zmarai Bashiri put the number of injured at three.

Sher Mohammad, 25, has a shop in the area. He was close to the bus at the time of the explosion, and
saw the man police believe to be the bomber.

“There was a man in a large patu [Afghan shawl] sitting under a tree opposite my shop,” he said. “When
the bus arrived, a number of police got on. He did, too, and a few minutes later there was a big explosion.

"I saw the dead and wounded scattered everywhere. There were women and children among them. I saw
one of our neighbours who was injured, and I immediately rushed him to hospital."

Mohammad Bashir, 27, said that he got to the scene of the bombing soon after the attack took place.

"When I got to the bus, I saw five dead children and one woman near the bus. The children had school
uniforms on. I got in the bus and took four injured people out. There were a lot of dead in the bus, most of
them burnt," he said.

Things have reached a stage where Kabul residents are changing their way of life. Many families are

keeping their children home from school, undermining one of the government’s major successes.

“I have three children,” said 40-year-old Sulaiman. “I am very worried about them when they go out every
day. If the situation continues like this, I will have to stop them going to school.”

The police are attempting to deal with the problem by increasing their presence on the streets and
boosting the number of checkpoints where cars are stopped and searched. But this has not helped calm
fears among residents of the capital.

“The police appear on the roads and search vehicles whenever they want to, said 42-year-old Mohammad
Rahim. “They only do it for two hours a day, so it does nothing but bother people. They do a search early
in the morning, but they’re gone by 10 am.”

The two latest attacks were both in the early morning.

The interior ministry acknowledges that the recent bombings have increased concerns and spread fears
across Kabul, but the spokesman insists that there are new precautions for preventing a repeat of the
recent attacks targeting the security forces.

“We have developed good plans, which we hope will achieve positive results,” said spokesman Bashiri.

He would not go into any detail, citing the need for confidentiality.

“We want Kabul to be a symbol of security,” he said. “We are very concerned about the recent incidents. It
is not easy to combat suicide attacks, but we are hoping for the cooperation of the local population.”

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But that may a tough sell for residents like Gul Wali, 57. He is angry and bitter, and despite the Taleban’s
clear acceptance of responsibility, he is in no doubt as to whom to blame.

“There is no security in the city,” he said. “The police do nothing except take bribes. This whole situation is
because of the government. I don’t let my family members leave the house any more. If they go out, I have
to worry about them until they get back.”

FUENTE: http://www.iwpr.net/?p=arr&s=f&o=339635&apc_state=henparr

TAJIKISTAN: EVALUATING TAJIKISTAN’S RECONSTRUCTION 10 YEARS AFTER THE


CIVIL WAR’S END

Joshua Kucera, 18/10/2007, (http://www.eurasianet.org)

It has been 10 years since the end of Tajikistan’s civil war. An expert panel, convened recently in
Washington to evaluate the post-war era, generally lauded Tajikistan’s reconstruction process. But
panelists had differing views on the factors that contributed to stabilization.

One of the panelists, Vladimir Sotirov, the head of the UN Tajikistan Peace-Building Support Office
(UNTOP), cited the decision to integrate former administration opponents into the government as a major
factor that enabled Tajikistan to recover relatively quickly from five years of internecine conflict.

Sotirov also indicated that firm action taken by President Imomali Rahmon’s administration against hold-
out rebel groups enabled peace to take root.

Sotirov spoke at a panel at the Central Asia Caucasus Institute on October 17 called "A Decade of Peace
in Tajikistan: Who Should Get the Credit?" He was visiting Washington as part of a trip to the United States
to report on the end of the UNTOP mission. UNTOP formally shut its doors on July 31 – the first such
mission to do so, he noted. (UN peace-building support offices are a relatively new invention and the three
others that have been established, in Liberia, Guinea-Bissau and the Central African Republic, remain in
operation).

Sotirov focused on the UN’s role in maintaining peace in Tajikistan, such as the creation of political
discussion clubs where former enemies could amicably discuss the country’s future. Such a forum helped
Tajikistan make up for the lack of democratic institutions, he said.

Other panelists were not as quick to apportion credit, noting that, as with the civil war, post-war actions of
the major parties are still shrouded in mystery. One, Grant Smith, a former US envoy to Tajikistan,
suggested that a full reckoning of the civil war’s aftermath is not yet possible.

"When you look at how important these various players were in achieving the quite commendable degree
of peace that’s been achieved in Tajikistan, what their roles were - we really don’t know because we really
don’t have some of the key facts," Smith said. "We don’t have the personal recollections of the players,
and we may never have them. The head of the Islamic Renaissance Party, [Said Abdullo] Nuri, has died.
One of his top lieutenants is seriously ill. Unless people start recording in some means their recollections
of that period, we may never know the answers to these questions."

Another panel member, S. Frederick Starr of the CACI, commended the UN on its focus on local
government officials, which he said was an often overlooked aspect of development and democratization.
Sotirov described, for example, the UNTOP training given to 4,000 Ministry of Interior officials, including
former opposition fighters who were integrated into the security forces as part of the 1997 peace deal.
"They were lacking any experience, any professionalism, any knowledge and a lot depend[ed] on MoI
personnel, especially in the aftermath of the civil war. Officers knew how to perform their oppressive
function, but they didn’t know their other two main functions ... preventative and protection of human rights
of citizens."

Several challenges remain, Sotirov noted. The drug trade in Afghanistan is a potential destabilizing factor,
as 10 percent of the drugs smuggled out of Afghanistan go through Tajikistan. Internally, Tajikistan faces
slow progress on several fronts, including freedom of the press and prison reform.

Concerning press freedom, Sotirov acknowledged that progress has been halting. "You might find very
interesting, critical and objective materials in newspapers. However, the newspapers do not reach people;
they are just for the elite in the cities. They don’t have influence," he noted. "The major influence is TV,
which is very restricted, very controlled."
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The International Committee of the Red Cross, which had worked to improve prison conditions there, left
Tajikistan this year because it was unable to make any progress, he said. The ICRC left "with a lot of pain,
a lot of regret," Sotirov said. "Because the international community was ready to assist. We organized
several conferences on prison reform. But the request was only to ’give us money to repair the prisons.’
But this is not the way the ICRC works; this is not the way of cooperation."

Sotirov said he was optimistic about Tajikistan’s future. "There are two ways: further democratization, a
long difficult way but finally this proves to be the way for sustainability of the peace process. The other is
authoritarianism, it gives very quick results, on the surface everything is stable, everything is disciplined
and going well. However, this is not sustainable," he said. "We hope the democratic trend will prevail."

FUENTE: http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav101807a.shtml

EN AZERBAÏDJAN, LES AUTORITES ANNONCENT AVOIR DEJOUE PLUSIEURS


ATTENTATS DANS LA CAPITALE

LEMONDE.FR, 29/10/2007, (http://www.lemonde.fr)

La République ex-soviétique d'Azerbaïdjan a annoncé, lundi 29 octobre, avoir déjoué une série d'attentats
à Bakou, qui auraient eu lieu ces derniers jours, contre les représentations diplomatiques de pays
membres de la coalition antiterroriste internationale. Ces attaques semblaient notamment viser les
ambassades britannique et américaine.

Quelques heures avant la déclaration officielle du ministère de la sécurité nationale azerbaïdjanais, la


Grande-Bretagne avait annoncé la fermeture de son ambassade dans la capitale, tandis que les Etats-
Unis avaient réduit leurs services au minimum. Les deux représentations ont invoqué des raisons de
sécurité, sans plus de précisions. Selon une source diplomatique française, "l'ambassade de France a été
fermée au public aujourd'hui par précaution. Elle devrait ouvrir mardi au public".

Le mystère restait entier lundi sur les auteurs et les circonstances de ces tentatives d'attentats. Le
ministère azerbaïdjanais a seulement précisé qu'un suspect avait été tué et deux autres interpellés lors
d'une opération samedi contre un groupe d'"extrémistes", près de Bakou. Selon les agences de presse du
pays, il a été abattu alors qu'il tentait de lancer une grenade contre les forces de l'ordre participant à
l'opération. Une grande quantité d'armes et de la "littérature extrémiste" ont été saisis sur place.
Dimanche, une autre opération a été lancée et dix-sept "extrémistes" présumés ont été arrêtés, selon les
agences de presse locales.

SITUATION GÉOGRAPHIQUE STRATÉGIQUE


L'Azerbaïdjan, dont les huit millions d'habitants sont à large majorité chiites, est un allié-clé des Etats-Unis
dans cette région stratégique du Caucase, voisine de l'Iran et de la Russie. Plus tôt ce mois-ci, les députés

avaient donné leur feu vert au doublement du nombre des soldats participant à la coalition en Afghanistan,
passant de 22 à 44 hommes.

Après des dizaines d'années d'appartenance à l'URSS, l'Azerbaïdjan reste un pays peu religieux. Mais le
nombre de musulmans pratiquants ne cesse d'augmenter. L'Iran voisin a développé un programme d'aide
à la construction de mosquées et d'écoles islamiques dans le pays, suscitant les craintes des autorités
azerbaïdjanaises quant à une exportation d'une version radicale de l'islam. Ces dernières années, des
dizaines de personnes ont été arrêtées pour extrémisme religieux. Les ONG de défense des droits de
l'homme dénoncent cette lutte antiterroriste comme un moyen de réprimer l'opposition politique.

FUENTE: http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3214,36-972557@51-972558,0.html

Boletín mensual: OCTUBRE 2007 20


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