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Russian, Uzbek Defense Ministers Meet


http://gdb.rferl.org/BDF0CD7A-FB73-488E-954E-A65FA11F3264_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/BDF0CD7A-FB73-488E-954E-A65FA11F3264_mw800_mh600.jpg Russian military exercises in Siberia (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) September 22, 2006 -- The defense ministers of Russia and Uzbekistan have begun talks expected to focus on ways to enhance bilateral defense cooperation, the security situation in Central Asia, and the fight against terror.


Addressing reporters at the start of the meeting, which is being held in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov praised defense ties between the two countries, saying they were "quantitatively and qualitatively" satisfactory.


Russia and Uzbekistan are both members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a regional grouping that also includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.


While in Russia, Uzbekistan's defense chief, Ruslan Mirzaev, will also attend a joint counterterrorism military exercise in the Krasnodar region.


The five-day drill, which began on September 19, involves Russian and Uzbek special forces and airborne troops.


(Interfax-AVN, ITAR-TASS, RIA-Novosti)

Uzbekistan, Russia, And The West

President Karimov (left) with Russian President Putin in July 2005 (epa)

BETWEEN EAST AND WEST: One of the ramifications of the May 2005 bloodshed in Andijon has been a souring of relations between Tashkent and the West, accompanied by a raproachment between Uzbekistan and Russia. Following sharp U.S. and European criticism of the Andijon crackdown, Uzbekistan kicked the United States out of the Karshi-Khanabad air base and began actively courting Moscow.
"Today, we are reaching an unprecedented level in our relationship," Uzbek President Islam Karimov said during a November 2005 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, at which the leaders signed a strategic-partnership agreement. "I understand and we all understand in Uzbekistan that it is unprecedented that Russia signs such a partnership agreement with Uzbekistan."


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THE COMPLETE STORY: A dedicated webpage bringing together all of RFE/RL's coverage of the events in Andijon, Uzbekistan, in May 2005 and their continuing repercussions.


CHRONOLOGY

For an annotated timeline of the Andijon events and their repercussions, click here.

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