Central Asia Monitor 1.22

by Central Asia Monitor on 11/29/2012

Protesters Attack Mining Camp in Batken

Residents of the village of Katran in Batken’s Leilek district attacked a mining camp following a rally demanding that development at the site be stopped. On November 19, villagers demanded the camp be shut down by 22 November because feared that the development of a mine would result in contamination of their drinking water. They returned on 22 November, looting the site and burning several trailers. Geologists working for the Russian Almazintex company were conducting exploration of the Aprelskoye gold deposit at the site. Nobody was harmed in the attack. (28-29 Nov Lenta, Vzglyad, 24.kg) — NH

Bishkek Election Results at Risk of Invalidation

Tuigunaaly Abdraimov, Chairman of Kyrgyzstan’s Central Election Commission, said that election results in Bishkek may be entirely invalidated. If precincts covering one-third of registered voters are invalidated, all results will be canceled. Abdraimov said that there are about 40,000 voters registered to invalidated precincts out of a total of 125,000 registered voters in Bishkek. (29 Nov 24.kg) — NH

Minister Says Hydropower only Economic Development Resource Available to Tajikistan

During an EU-Central Asia ministerial meeting in Bishkek on 27 November, Tajikistan’s Foreign Minister, Hamrokhon Zarifi, said that hydropower is the only resource for developing Tajikistan’s economy. He noted that for many years, more than 70 percent of Tajikistan’s citizens have endured severe heating and electricity shortages for as much as seven months of the year and that the country lacks substantial petroleum reserves. Zarifi said that Tajikistan is prepared to jointly develop its energy and water resources in ways that will meet the entire region’s needs. (28 Nov Asia-Plus) — NH

Turkmenistan, Iran Discuss Energy Cooperation

Iran’s Oil Minister, Rostam Ghasemi, met with Turkmen President Berdimuhamedov in Ashgabat on 27 November to discuss cooperation on energy projects. Ghasemi expressed interest in strengthening Iranian business relationships with Turkmenistan. Of particular interest to Iran is the completion of a second natural gas pipeline and the stable, long-term delivery of natural gas to Iran. Turkmenistan recently suspended natural gas supplies to Iran because of a price dispute. Iran relies on Turkmenistan to supply gas to its northern provinces, especially during the winter. (28 Nov CA-News & Iran.ru) — NH

Rahmon Makes List of Influential Muslims

Tajikistan’s state news agency, Khovar, has hailed the inclusion of President Emomali Rahmon in The Muslim 500, a list of the most influential Muslims in the world compiled at the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in Amman, Jordan. Khovar notes that this puts him in the company of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan. The news agency reports that Rahmon was included for his “protection of the values of Islam and his criticism of Islamophobia in the West.” (28 Nov Khovar) — NH

IRP’s Kabiri Calls for Asian Assistance in Democracy-Building

The leader of Tajikistan’s Islamic Renaissance Party, Muhiddin Kabiri, called on political parties in Asia to share their experience in building democratic societies during an address at an international forum of Asian political parties in Baku. Kabiri said that Central Asia is vulnerable not only to threats from instability in Afghanistan, but also from internal instability resulting from a lack of peace, stability, and prosperity. He said that he believes Asian parties can play an important role in helping to build social and political dialogue within Central Asian states that will bolster democracy in the region. (24 Nov Avesta) — NH

Kazakh Oil Workers Dissatisfaction with Pay Widespread

Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Labor and Social Protection said that a survey of workers in the oil and gas sector revealed widespread dissatisfaction with wages and the lack of opportunities for workers to be involved with business management. Wage arrears are a particular concern for oil and gas workers. The survey is part of a Labor Ministry initiative to mitigate labor disputes through increased monitoring of tensions in the workplace. While 2.5 billion tenge of arrears have reportedly been paid as a result of Labor Ministry monitoring and dispute resolution, there are an additional 1.137 billion in outstanding arrears. (26 Nov Zakon) — NH

Internet Tariffs Drop Again in Uzbekistan

Uzbektelecom said that rates for internet access have dropped again. The current rate for providers is $426 for 1 MB/S, down from $442 in May. In March 2010, the rate was $1510. (28 Nov 12news) — NH

Nazarbaev Instructs Mayors to Mind ‘Broken Windows’

President Nazarbaev instructed mayors from across Kazakhstan to follow the “broken windows” principle of policing during a meeting in Astana. The president reminded the mayors to track and address minor criminal offenses and that the goal of laws are to reduce crime and to get citizens to act cultured. (28 Nov Kazinform) — NH

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