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Saturday, May 21, 2005

 

Rice threatens to cut aid to Uzbekistan

From Voice of America:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Friday raised the prospect of a further cut in U.S. aid to Uzbekistan if the government of President Islam Karimov continues to resist calls for an investigation of last week's Uzbek political unrest. The United States and other countries have called for a credible probe of the violence that includes international involvement.

At a news conference here with Iraqi Planning Minister Barham Salih, Secretary Rice said the United States has relations with the Karimov government and is using them to urge authorities to respond positively to what she termed the international community's justified concerns about what happened in Andijon.

If it does not, she indicated the Uzbek government could face a repeat of the 11-million dollar aid cut the Bush administration enacted last year under a human rights mandate from the Congress.

"As to what consequences there might be, I think Uzbekistan does not want to endure further isolation from the international community,” said Ms. Rice. “And secondly, I would just note that we have concerns about human rights, which we expressed through a human rights report and which actually have certain certification requirements for any assistance to Uzbekistan. We withheld $11 million last year because of those requirements. There are additional funds that we cannot make available to the government without further human rights certification."

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