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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

 

British soldiers won't return to Uzbekistan

From The Scotsman:

BRITISH soldiers will not be sent back to Uzbekistan to train with the central Asian republic's military forces, the Ministry of Defence said last night.

The Scotsman yesterday revealed that 150 British soldiers had taken part last year in Exercise Timur Express, exchanging tactics with Uzbek forces.

Last month, Uzbek government troops killed hundreds of unarmed pro-democracy protesters in the city of Andizhan, in a massacre that was condemned by human rights groups and western countries, including Britain.

The MoD said in a written statement to The Scotsman on Sunday that Exercise Timur Express had been an "annual training exercise", meant to encourage military reform in Uzbekistan.

Yesterday, however, an MoD spokesman said: "There will be no such exercise this year - there are no current plans to return."

The statement on Sunday about an "annual exercise" had been "a mistake", the spokesman said.

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