Iran's pro-reform President Mohammad Khatami concluded a groundbreaking visit to Germany on July 12. The trip largely succeeded in producing a thaw in bilateral relations. Ties had languished for several years because of several incidents.
The UN Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) officially ended on May 15. Following his final report to the UN Security Council last week, the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Tajikistan, Ivo Petrov, spoke on May 16 to the press at UN Headquarters in New York. Petrov called UNMOT a success, but said that problems may still lie ahead for Tajikistan.
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright concluded a three-country tour of Central Asia on April 19. During stops in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, Albright focused talks with regional leaders on a variety of security-related issues, including drug trafficking, counter terrorism and border control.
Moscow's military campaign in Chechnya is a source of friction in Russia's relations with Western European nations The European Union has been critical of the conduct of Russia's assault. On March 20, for example, EU foreign ministers issued a statement that faulted Russia for not establishing an adequate humanitarian aid infrastructure in Chechnya.
Avdy Kuliev is a leader of the Turkmen political opposition in exile. He was independent Turkmenistan's first Minister of Foreign Affairs, serving until May 1992, when he resigned in protest of repressive policies. Since then, he has faced three fabricated criminal charges, including attempted overthrow of the state, which carries the death penalty, and moved to Moscow.
Yevgeny Zhovtis is among Central Asia's most prominent human rights advocates. On November 9, 1999, a fire destroyed the human rights bureau's offices in Almaty. [For background see "A Fire With Human Rights Implications."] Investigators have confirmed that the blaze was an act of arson.