A powerful earthquake registering 6.2 on the Richter scale struck Ferghana Valley early July 20, affecting Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. The epicenter of the quake was about 45 kilometers south of the Uzbek city of Ferghana.
Uzbekistan celebrated the 19th anniversary of its independence on September 1 with a flourish of patriotic slogans, warnings to be vigilant about external enemies, streets closed to traffic, and orders to dissidents not to go outside. President Islam Karimov announced that the average income was now $500 a month, and the state-run press carried stories about increases in pay.
Uzbekistan is chairing a meeting of the five Central Asian nations with Japan, the state news site gazeta.ru reported. This is the first such meeting of Central Asian foreign ministers with Japan's foreign minister since 2004. The meeting's agenda includes discussions on regional security and advancement of various economic programs.
International and local human rights groups continue to chronicle the aftermath of the conflict in southern Kyrgyzstan and the further gruesome discoveries of death and destruction. Ultimately, their efforts to build a record -- if and when validated – both by international observers and national courts of law -- could serve to build a basis for justice and stabilization in the region.
Forced to leave the shelter of hastily-made refugee camps in Andijan region and border areas of Uzbekistan, more than 75,000 ethnic Uzbeks, traumatized and wounded, made their way back to Osh to vote in the June 27 referendum.