The death of President Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan from heart failure was announced on 21 December 2006.
The cotton industry in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan contributes to political repression, economic stagnation, widespread poverty and environmental degradation.
Sapamurad Niyazov's Turkmenistan, one of the world's most repressive regimes, has not responded to quiet diplomacy, modifying a few policies only when faced with a threat of sanctions or other punitive action.
More international involvement is needed in all spheres of youth activity in Central Asia, where around half the population is under 30.
The Annual Meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) commencing on 3 May 2003 is an opportunity to assess frankly and honestly the records of the governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
More than a decade after their independence, each of the Central Asian states is on its own particular path of political and economic development. While most have achieved at least partial integration within the international community, one stands out as an exception: the remote former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan, on the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea.
For the past decade Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan have all been involved in high stakes negotiations to define their respective borders. Strong-arm politics, economic pressures, shadowy backroom deals, nationalist sentiments, public dissatisfaction and an environment of mutual mistrust have marked this process.
In response to the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on 11 September 2001, the United States and a broad though informal coalition of allies and like minded states are building up a military capability in Central Asia that will in all likelihood strike inside Afghanistan.