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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 9,949 9,713 11,300 91
GNI per capita
 US $ 420 450 550 173
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (date from the World Bank)

Books on Uzbekistan

Update No: 354 - (25/06/10)

A humanitarian disaster
A mid-summer madness, a little before time because it was early summer, overtook certain southern Kyrgyz in mid-June. They began to slaughter the minority Uzbeks in droves, torching their homes and businesses, and forcing the survivers to flee.

There is evidence that somebody premedidated it all. The present interim Kyrgyz government is convinced that it was due to the machinations of their predecessors, removed in April. Former President Bakiyev has a strong following in Southern Kyrgyzstan among his fellow Kyrgyz – it is indeed the political base of his clan. There are reports of gangs of zealots being armed and prepared for a genocide. Well, they did a thorough job.

The death toll is mounting and is horrendous. It is always likely to be an underestimate in these sort of circumstances with ethnic cleansing on a gargantuan scale under way. Bodies are buried before their numbers can be detected. Something similar is true of the wounded.

One more significant figure is worth pondering. Hundreds of thousands are fleeing their benighted homes and lost husbands, with their children. They are fleeing towards Uzbekistan, which does not have even the most rudimentary facilities to cope with them.

Uzbekistan closes borders to refugees
Uzbekistan closed its borders to ethnic refugees fleeing to Uzbek security from neighbouring Kyrgyzstan on June 14, as the numbers killed in the ethnic violence spiralled and aid agencies reported fresh allegations of atrocities from the survivors.

With over 100,000 refugees pouring into Uzbekistan, the Central Asian state’s Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Aripov said the border would be shut, despite pleas from aid groups and the UN to leave it open. “Today we will stop accepting refugees from the Kyrgyz side because we have no place to accommodate them and no capacity to cope with them,” he said.

Uzbekistan needed international humanitarian aid to cope, he said. “If we have the ability to help them and to treat them of course we will open the border” again, he added.

Mr Aripov said Uzbekistan had registered 45,000 adults from Kyrgyzstan, while another official said there were 65,000 adults in Uzbekistan’s Andijan region alone. The UN’s refugee agency said it was sending aid for 75,000.

Bodies littered the streets of the southern Kyrgyzstan city of Osh where fresh gunfire rang out, and more fighting was reported in the nearby city of Jalalabad. Scores are reported killed in four days of clashes. Some of the survivors of the violence have accused government forces of helping armed gangs slaughter ethnic Uzbeks.

The Kremlin not likely to intervene wholesale
The decision to close the border comes as the Kremlin edges closer to military intervention. An emergency meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) — the Russian-dominated group of former Soviet states — said that it was sending helicopters and lorries to help the Kyrgyz Government to quell fighting between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks that has raged for four days in southern Kyrgyzstan. At least 138 people have died and 1,800 have been wounded, although some witnesses believe that the number of deaths is much higher.

“This is extremely dangerous for this region and it is necessary to do everything possible to put an end to such acts,” President Medvedev of Russia said after the meeting in Moscow. Russia sent at least 150 paratroopers to reinforce its own military base outside the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, on June 13, but it rejected an appeal from the interim president, Roza Otunbayeva, to intervene directly.
The former Kyrgyz President, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, ousted in a popular uprising in April, called from exile in Belarus for Russia to lead a CSTO force into the country. The White House said that President Obama was monitoring developments. The Red Cross said that 80,000 refugees had crossed into Uzbekistan to escape the violence and 15,000 more were massed at the border.

The scale of the slaughter was visible in Osh, where streets were littered with bodies; many charred from fires that have destroyed buildings in whole neighbourhoods. Women and children hid in basements while Uzbek men with makeshift weapons kept nervous guard against Kyrgyz gangs. Witnesses said that gangs with rifles, iron bars and machetes had set fire to houses and shot people as they fled. “There are at least a thousand people dead here in Osh. We have not been able to register them because they turn us away at the hospital and say it is only for Kyrgyz,” Isamidin Kudbidunov, 27, said.

The Bakiyev angle
The interim government has accused Mr Bakiyev’s family of provoking the violence to halt a referendum on June 27 to approve a new constitution; an allegation he denies.

Mr Bakiyev’s son Maksim, 33, has been arrested in Britain after landing at Farnborough airport, a Kyrgyz official said in mid-June. He was held on an Interpol warrant, according to Keneshbek Dushibayev, Kyrgyzstan’s security chief. The former President’s son is wanted for fraud. 

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