Public-sector employees in Uzbekistan's Jizzakh Province have not been paid since the beginning of the year. Banks are unable to transfer even part of their salaries to debit accounts, an opposition website is reporting.
Azerbaijani border guards report that Azerbaijani citizens have been crossing into neighboring Iran in droves since Tehran eased visa requirements.
Before Iranian visa requirements for Azerbaijanis were lifted, roughly 650 people per week would cross the border into Iran, stated Vusal Musayev, the head of Azerbaijan's Astarin border checkpoint, the Regnum news agency reported.
US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, will kick off a Central Asian tour on February 19 in Kyrgyzstan.
In Bishkek, Holbrooke will hold talks with Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. The US envoy's exact itinerary has yet to be confirmed, Mark C. Toner, a spokesman for the State Department said during a February 17 press briefing.
The International Monetary Fund is expected to make available a $74-million loan to buttress Armenia's economy, which has been badly shaken by a drop in remittances from abroad and the collapse of a construction bubble at home. The IMF board will make a final decision on the assistance late in March, Russia's ITAR-TASS new agency reported.
Kazakhstan, which now chairs the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, declared on February 16 that the OSCE will step up efforts to precipitate a settlement of the 22-year Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over the breakaway region of Nagorno Karabakh.
Sergei Bagapsh, the newly inaugurated de facto president of the breakaway region of Abkhazia, visited Moscow on February 17 to sign a military cooperation deal with Abkhazia's protector and northern neighbor, Russia.