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Uzbek Leader Addresses Nation On Independence Day

1 September 2005 -- Uzbek President Islam Karimov called for public vigilance against what he called "forces of evil intentions among neighboring and distant nations."

Karimov made that call yesterday in a nationwide address marking Uzbekistan's 14th anniversary of independence being celebrated today.

Karimov said some unnamed nations are "not afraid of committing subversive and evil acts" against Uzbekistan's interests.

Karimov also said Uzbekistan still needs to tackle some difficult issues and problems facing the country. He said state security, providing jobs, and implementing large-scale reforms "in all spheres and sectors" are among those tasks.

Karimov also expressed his "endless love and boundless respect for all the people of Uzbekistan."

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier today reaffirmed Russia's friendship with Uzbekistan, saying he is sure that bilateral cooperation will continue to grow between the two states.

(BBC Monitoring/Uzbek TV/AFP)

For RFE/RL's full coverage of events in Central Asia, see "Central Asia In Focus"