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Tuesday, June 14, 2005


EU threatens to loosen ties with Uzbekistan

From Reuters AlertNet:

European Union foreign ministers on Monday threatened to scale back ties with Uzbekistan unless the central Asian state allows an independent probe into recent bloodshed by the end of June.

The ministers also urged Uzbekistan to allow the 25-nation bloc's human rights official to visit eastern regions of the former Soviet republic, where some 500 people are reported to have been killed when troops put down a revolt on May 13.

The statement added that any EU measures would be meant to spare the Uzbek population, which could mean that the bloc was considering a freeze in diplomatic ties or travel ban for government officials rather than trade sanctions.

EU ministers created the post of the bloc's special envoy to central Asia on Monday, seeking to increase its influence in the region in wake of unrest in Uzbekistan. Russian-speaking Slovakian diplomat Jan Kubis is favourite for the job.

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