Plans are proceeding apace for a picket of a business meeting of the American Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce (AUCC) this week.
On Wednesday, September 28 at noon at the W Hotel in Washington, DC, a number of human rights and labor groups plan to protest the use of child forced labour in the cotton industry as well as other human rights violations by the oppressive regime of President Islam Karimov.
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More information is available now about those speaking at the event at the AUCC.
The decision by the Senate Appropriations Committee to include language in support of a waiver in the foreign operations bill is no doubt among the events indicated by the AUCC in its reference to "positive developments during the recent Annual Bilateral Consultations between the Governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Uzbekistan."
Those "positive developments" are now leading the Uzbek delegation to expand and upgrade its representation.
Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister Elyor Ganiev, who also holds the title of Foreign Minister, will lead the Uzbek delegation. The US is sending an official who is not at the same level, but still sufficiently high: Susan M. Elliott, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia U.S. Department of State.
Other US government officials who will be present at what is now not just a meeting of businesses, but a meeting of political leaders, are Jonathan Ward, Director for South and Central Asia, The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, who will give a report from the US Central Asia Trade and Investment Council meeting; and Danica Starks, Senior Caucasus and Central Asia Policy Advisor, Office of Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia of the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce who will speak on the theme "U.S. Government Resources for Doing Business".
David Owen, Deputy Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the International Monetary Fund will speak on "Economic Outlook for the Central Asia Region, Including Uzbekistan" and Takuya Kamata, Country Manager for Uzbekistan for the the World Bank will speak on "Development Opportunities and Challenges for Middle Income Economies."
Corporate officials from General Electric, NUKEM, and GM will speak, as will representatives from the state-run Uzbek energy companies, but they are almost overwhelmed by the government heavy-weights.
Dr. Frederick Starr, long a friend to Central Asian governments, will also speak.