By empty (2/13/2003 issue of the CACI Analyst)The United States Congress has stepped in to find nearly $300m in humanitarian and reconstruction funds for Afghanistan after the Bush administration failed to request any money in its latest budget. One mantra from the Bush administration since it launched its military campaign in Afghanistan 16 months ago has been that the US will not walk away from the Afghan people. President Bush has even suggested a Marshall plan for the country, and the Afghan leader, Hamid Karzai, will visit Washington later this month.
By empty (2/19/2003 issue of the CACI Analyst)Speaking at a session of the Eurasian Economic Commonwealth (EES) in Moscow on 19 February, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said he supports the idea of using the Russian ruble as the organization\'s common currency. The idea was proposed earlier at the session by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, who said, \"It is nonsense that businessmen in these countries make deals in foreign currencies and part of their profits goes God knows where.\" Kasyanov also proposed the creation of a Eurasian natural-gas consortium, which would create uniform trade and transit conditions for all members.
By empty (2/19/2003 issue of the CACI Analyst)The Moscow Municipal Court on 18 February convicted Professor Anatolii Babkin of spying for the United States and handed down an eight-year suspended sentence, plus five years\' probation. The court also banned Babkin from conducting any research or working as a professor for three years, banned him from holding any administrative posts at his research center, and stripped him of his academic honors. Babkin\'s lawyers deny that he engaged in espionage and say he merely authorized the transfer of certain scientific papers to an American university under the terms of an approved contract.
By empty (2/19/2003 issue of the CACI Analyst)Moscow welcomed Tbilisi\'s agreement to extend the mandate of the CIS Collective Forces for Maintaining Peace in the zone of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict for another six months. As the Russian Foreign Ministry reported on Tuesday, Russia\'s Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov pointed out at the meeting with Georgian Foreign Minister Irakly Menagarishvili that the decision would have a positive effect on the situation in the region. The two ministers exchanged views on the conflict settlement.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.