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Monday, June 20, 2005

 

Uzbekistan targets 'so-called democrats'

From EurasiaNet:

The US-Uzbek strategic partnership appears caught in a downward spiral. Uzbek President Islam Karimov’s administration has added "so-called democrats" to its internal enemies list, which has long been dominated by Islamic militants. Such a move indicates that Tashkent could be preparing to make a break with Washington.

Uzbek officials have long viewed Islamic militants -- who have been blamed for numerous instances of violence, starting with a serious of bombings in Tashkent in February 1999 -- as the main source of domestic instability. But in a television interview broadcast June 15, Uzbek Culture Minister Alisher Azizkhojayev indicated that the government now believes that civil society activists also pose a threat to Uzbek stability. "If we talk about our internal enemies, they come in two types," Azizkhojayev said. "Some are religious extremists and some are so-called democrats who have spread rumors and falsehoods to the outside world."

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