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Uzbek refugees leaving Kyrgyzstan for Romania last week
Bishkek, 4 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz Prosecutor-General Azimbek Beknazarov said today that 15 Uzbek refugees who remain in Kyrgyzstan will probably be sent back to Uzbekistan unless a third country offers to grant them political asylum.
"Today, no one state is willing to take [the 15 refugees alleged by Uzbek authorities to be criminals]. In such circumstances, I don't have another option except to deport them back to Uzbekistan. If there will be a country that says, 'We are giving them refugee status,' and if it produces a document saying 'This is a decision on that,' then I will transfer them to that country."
Beknazarov said the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was negotiating with countries in Europe to find a country willing to take the 15 Uzbeks.
Last week the UNHCR helped transfer 439 Uzbek refugees to Romania. Hundreds of Uzbeks crossed into Kyrgyzstan in May when Uzbek troops fired in demonstrators in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijon.
(RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service)