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Russia, NATO Split Over Uzbekistan


http://gdb.rferl.org/DBFF18EF-A87A-47EB-B1F5-E6EC315F9094_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/DBFF18EF-A87A-47EB-B1F5-E6EC315F9094_mw800_mh600.jpg 10 June 2005 -- Divisions have emerged between Russia and NATO over the recent unrest in Uzbekistan, with Russia opposing NATO-backed calls for an international inquiry into the shootings in Andijon.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, on a visit to Brussels to meet with NATO officials, said yesterday that the 13 May violence in Andijon was orchestrated from Afghanistan, and that 50 non-Uzbeks were among those killed and detained by the Uzbek authorities.

"The situation in a number of regions in Asia and Middle East, where we can see an increase in radicalism and a further escalation of terrorism, is a cause of much concern," Ivanov said. "Indicative in this aspect are the recent events in Uzbekistan. According to the information we have, the events were inspired from the territory of Afghanistan."

Ivanov gave no further details, and no confirmation was available.

NATO has joined the United Nations, the European Union, and United States in calling for an independent international probe into the Andijon events.

The Uzbek government says 173 people were killed, including soldiers and militants, when troops opened fire to quell an uprising in Andijon. But international rights groups and local opposition political parties say the number of dead could be as high as 1,000 and could include unarmed civilians.

(Reuters/dpa)
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