BERLIN/TASHKENT | | usbekistan

BERLIN/TASHKENT (Own report) - To secure its influence in Central Asia in rivalry to Russia and China, Berlin is taking new initiatives toward Uzbekistan, the most populous country in the region. Among the five post-Soviet Central Asian countries, Uzbekistan has been Germany's key partner for the past 25 years, even hosting a Bundeswehr base over an extended period of time. Now the German government seeks to reinforce it position in Uzbekistan by expanding economic relations. Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, in office since one year, is initiating a neo-liberal policy in his country. At the same time, Russia's rise in influence in the economic and military sectors, alongside China's greatly enhanced economic advances has put Germany under pressure. If Germany does not want to lose ground in Central Asia, it must act quickly. more…

TASHKENT/BISHKEK/BERLIN | | kirgistanusbekistan

TASHKENT/BISHKEK/BERLIN (Own report) - With their brief stopovers in several Central Asian countries, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Chancellor Angela Merkel are seeking to secure Germany's position, which has become unstable in these countries. On Friday, Westerwelle will meet the Kyrgyz transitional president, who took office following the recent upheavals in that country. The current Kyrgyz government's close cooperation with Russia is threatening western influence. Observers are also warning that renewed unrest in Kyrgyzstan could spread to Uzbekistan and endanger its authoritarian regime, which for years has been receiving German support - including military aid. The Nabucco Pipeline project, which is to supply Europe with natural gas from the Caspian Basin bypassing Russia, is also in jeopardy. Not only Russian influence is growing in Central Asia. The People's Republic of China is also strengthening its position, seeking to secure access to the region's natural resources. Kazakhstan, where the German chancellor and foreign minister will arrive on the weekend is of special importance. more…

BEIJING/BERLIN | | chinausbekistan

BEIJING/BERLIN (Own report) - With sharp German criticism of human rights violations in Central Asia, the EU proceeded yesterday, Tuesday, with its negotiations for cooperation with the countries of that region. These negotiations, along the lines of an "EU Central Asian Strategy" successfully imposed by Berlin in 2007, are aimed at assuring German-European influence over the resources rich region along the Caspian Sea. This is of significant geostrategic importance. Against the opposition, put up by several EU countries, the German government has for years been ignoring the question of human rights violations, in Uzbekistan among others, so as not to impinge upon the efforts to develop cooperation. Government advisors in Berlin are now warning that China's influence in Central Asia is growing and blocking the development of closer links to Europe. It is a fact that Beijing's efforts to obtain access to the resources of Central Asia are quite successful. Berlin is increasing its pressure and is using suspected human rights violations to strengthen its own position. more…

MUNICH/BERLIN | | usbekistan

MUNICH/BERLIN (Own report) - The Siemens Corp. is tightly enmeshed with German foreign intelligence agencies and is said to have enabled the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND - Bundesnachrichtendienst) to spy on foreign clients. This was gleaned from reports in the press on the extent of corruption in Munich's traditional enterprise. According to these reports, employees of the German companies, which have delivered telephone systems or wire-tapping technology, for example to Arab countries, are using their knowledge to facilitate the BND access to recordings of telephone conversations. During his incumbency as BND President (1998 - 2005), the current Interior Ministry State Secretary, August Hanning, had sought to enhance cooperation between Siemens and German foreign intelligence. These efforts coincided with the comprehensive initiative being taken in the Federal Chancellery under Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his chancellery director at the time, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, to broaden the competence of the BND and establish an intelligence oriented "security community" in Berlin. Part of the plans are efforts to link private enterprises more closely to German repressive organs, with the aim of a "situation-oriented exchange of information". more…