It appears that Uzbek President Islam Karimov’s efforts to obtain a one-on-one meeting with US President Barack Obama are coming up short, an informed source indicates. Obama's preliminary schedule for the upcoming NATO summit reportedly does not include individual meetings with any of the Central Asian leaders who are planning on attending the event.
Uzbekistan is a key cog in the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), a web of air, road and rail links in Central Asia that currently serves as the primary supply line for US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Seeking a PR boost for his regime -- which rights groups assail as one of the world’s most repressive -- Karimov has tried in recent weeks to parlay Tashkent’s strategic importance into some private time with Obama when NATO leaders gather in Chicago on May 20-21. Karimov is one of several Central Asian leaders planning to be in Chicago for the summit.
To read the full story
Deirdre Tynan is a Bishkek-based reporter specializing in Central Asian affairs.