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At UN, Central Asian Unity on Press Crackdown and Nuclear Free Zone, Dam Fissures

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, March 30 -- The five Central Asian nations' Ambassadors to the UN presented a united front on Monday, announcing a Nuclear-Free Zone and taking questions from the Press. This open session had some irony, since Reporters Without Border has decried trends of violence against journalists, most recently in the Kyrgrz Republic, where Syrgak Abdyldaev of "Reporter-Bishkek" was the victim of an organized stabbing earlier this month.

   Inner City Press asked about his case, and about the murder of journalist Alisher Saipov in 2007 in Osh, a Kyrgyz city from which others fleeing Uzbekistan are deported or, in this case, killed.

Kyrgyz Ambassador Nurbek Jeenbaev told Inner City Press he would have no comment, the case is still under investigation and each case stands alone, there is no trend. Video here, from Minute 35:33.

  Uzbek Ambassador Murad Askarov did not answer the question when Inner City Press asked it, but rather, later in the press conference, told Inner City Press “you have been asking a lot of questions,” and suggested headlines about the positive nuclear free zone or even an Uzbek transfer station connected to South Korea, “for investors.” Video here, from Minute 44:47.

   Inner City Press also asked about a dispute about the countries about hydro-electric dams, and whether environmental impact studies should be required. Tajikistan says no, its Deputy energy minister Pulod Muhiddinov said: "Tajikistan will finish building the Rogun [hydroelectric dam and reservoir] no matter who opposes it." Reportedly, in January the Uzbeks halted the transit of Turkmen electricity to Tajikistan, via their national grid. Video here, from minute 39:19.

Kyrgyz Ambassador at UN, Alisher Saipov and Reporter-Bishkek not shown

  But as Monday's joint press conference, Kyrgyz Ambassador Nurbek Jeenbaev told Inner City Press that the countries' presidents met in Bishkek last year and “discussed the questions raised by you” and that everything is fine. If you say so...

   On nuclear weapons themselves, Inner City Press asked for comment on North Korea's plans for early April -- Inner City Press is told by a Security Council source to expect launch this Saturday at midnight, and an emergency Council meeting Sunday at noon -- and Kazakh Ambassador Byrganym Aitimova said the comment is clear like Kazakhstan, reject nuclear weapons. Video here, from Minute 42:06. Every country is free, though, she said...

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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