The shareholders of the leading Kyrgyz state-owned power company have approved a multi-million dollar contract with the Czech firm Liglass Trading on the construction and operation of two hydro-electric plants in Kyrgyzstan as well as series of smaller electricity-generating projects. The contract was approved by a strong majority of 97.6 percent shareowners despite speculation in the Czech and Kyrgyz media that the Czech company may be unreliable and warnings from Kyrgyz diplomats that Liglass Trading lacked credibility and that a sister company of the firm was on the brink of bankruptcy. The contract with Liglass was signed on July 10 at a ceremony in the office of the government at which Kyrgyz President Atambajev himself was present. Both Prague Castle and the Czech Trade Ministry lobbied for Liglass.
Four Czechs have been placed in quarantine in Kazakhstan after coming into contact with bubonic plague sufferers. An outbreak of the disease is reported in the eastern part of the country where over a hundred people are either being treated or are under medical surveillance. The plague claimed its first victim last week – a fifteen year old boy. The Czech Foreign Ministry has issued a travel warning to the country.
The Czech president Vaclav Klaus is on a state visit to the countries of Central Asia. After visiting the huge, mineral-rich, but sparsely populated Kazakhstan, he moved on to Kyrgyzstan, and before returning next Wednesday, will also visit Uzbekistan. According to president's spokesman, Jiri Hajek, the visit is both politically and economically very important to the Czech Republic. He points to ties going back to communist days, which the president is keen to renew. So how deep are the links between the Czech Republic and Central Asia, and how