The US continues to increase its presence in Central Asia. A delegation from the US Congress has arrived in Uzbek capital headed by Tomas Dashle. On Monday, the delegation is to visit Termez, where there is the Friendship Bridge linking Uzbek and Afghan banks of Amudarya River. This was reported to RIA ‘Novosti’ by the US embassy in Tashkent. In the afternoon, the Americans will see historical memorials of ancient Bukhara. On Tuesday, the senators will make an air tour over the drying-up Aral Sea. According to scientists, this ecological catastrophe is of world importance. Wednesday morning, January 16, the US delegation will visit the Uzbek Foreign Ministry. The US visitors are supposed to be received afterwards by President Islam Karimov. So, what is the aim of the visit? The US senators hardly would visit Uzbekistan to enjoy the Ancient East’s beauties and to present condolences because of the dying Aral Sea. The Americans were frightened by Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov’s visit to Central Asia, which was successfully continued by State Duma speaker Gennadi Seleznev. For the time being, the United States’ relations with its Asian allies from the anti-terrorist coalition are not as firm as Washington would like. This was why Mr Dashle set out for Central Asia. The delegation’s main task is to sound out the situation as to whether the previous agreements are still in force: the question is about financial assistance to former USSR republics.
Uzbekistan is supposed to receive $100 million of the $4 billion apportioned by the US Congress for the fight against international terrorism. The sum the US intends to pay to Uzbekistan is practically the rent for the US troops’ presence in Uzbekistan. In reality, Uzbekistan does not need any assistance in its fight against terrorism: president Karimov fully controls the situation in the country.
However, money is always necessary, and it is usually taken while completely neglecting the fact that it should be returned and with interest.
The US delegation’s next stop is Kirghizia. It also will be happy to receive the green notes.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/01/14/35515.html