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The EC has opened an office in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, as a pilot project in countries where it has no permanent representation in order to provide assistance towards development and social work, local media reported.

Called the House of Europe, the office will be the main source of information about the programmes of Technical Assistance for the Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS) and other activities of the EC. It will also provide support in the management of the programmes of small projects and other sub-programme within the framework of TACIS.

Uzbekistan will also see more activity in its fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS as implementation of a campaign by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) gets under way.

Uzbek local media reported that a project to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in Central Asia would be launched under the aegis of USAID and the Population Services International - a non-profit-making organisation. The campaign would start in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, where people would be sensitised to the disease, and offered condoms free of charge.

The USAID's campaign is part of an international effort, coordinated by the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in partnership with the individual governments, to prevent an outbreak of an epidemic.

International support for various health projects in Central Asian countries continues with the German government earlier this week allocating US $1.49 million to help Tajikistan fight tuberculosis (TB). The Tajik health authorities signed an agreement with the German Credit Institute for Economic Rehabilitation on Thursday to obtain the allocation. According to data from the Tajik National Committee for Statistics, a total of 1,156 cases of TB were reported in 2002, against 804 in 2001.

Meanwhile, as 11 September approaches, Kazakhstan's special security service is warning of possible terrorist attacks on the missions of United States, Israel, Russia and Uzbekistan. "Signals have been received that terrorist acts may be carried out against missions of these countries in Kazakhstan," a deputy chairman of the National Security Committee, Bauyrzhan Yelubayev, was quoted by the local media as saying.

Neighbouring Kyrgyzstan's national security service said it had prevented a series of terrorist acts by members of an Islamic extremist organisation due to have been perpetrated to coincide with the country's celebration of its independence day, 31 August.

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Nikolai Tanayev said on state television that a large cache of arms and explosives had been discovered in a village last week. The arms were to have been used by a radical Islamic movement, he said.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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