Uzbek President Islam Karimov yesterday ordered measures to enforce discipline in the armed forces, following an incident in which a private shot at least 8 other soldiers to death in a unit of the border troops on the Turkmen border. The conflict had reportedly arisen over the distribution of food. Karimov created by decree a special commission to ascertain the level of discipline in all army, border, and internal affairs troops; and to submit to him within three months a plan of action to improve the situation. In a parallel measure, Karimov ordered the Ministries of Defense, Internal Affairs, and National Security, as well as the Prosecutor General’s Office, to crack down on hazing in the forces, and to investigate the causes of that phenomenon with a view to remedial action. Karimov instructed the ministries to hold unit commanders personally and legally liable in cases of hazing. (Russian agencies, February 24)
Niazov, at EU and NATO, Confident of Gas Export Prospects.