The Manila-based Asian Development Bank yesterday announced its approval of a US$50 million loan to Kyrgyzstan for modernization of the Osh-Bishkek highway. Running south-north through four out of Kyrgyzstan’s six regions, the Osh-Bishkek highway is critical to that country, and is also considered by Kazakhstan as an important link to its Central Asian neighbors. (Xinhua, September 10)
Under international consideration is a more ambitious route across Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to China. It is projected to run from Tashkent via Andizhon, Jalalabad, Osh and derivations to Irkeshtam and Turugart into China. Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan seek international funding for this project. Addressing the TRACECA international conference in Baku on September 8-9, Presidents Islam Karimov and Askar Akaev urged the inclusion of this route in the Transit Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Central Asia, initiated by the European Union. China considers this route as a potential major gateway into Central Asia and further westward. (Xinhua, Assa-Irada, Russian agencies, September 8 and 10)–VS
KYRGYZSTAN ALMOST REVOKES HINT ABOUT RELATIONS WITH THE TALIBAN.