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Kyrgyz Officials Seek Release Of People Detained In Uzbekistan

BATKEN, Kyrgyzstan -- Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry officials met with Uzbek authorities today in an effort to secure the release of 11 Kyrgyz citizens detained in Uzbekistan while transporting explosives used for mining work, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The talks between officials of the two countries are taking place in the Kadamjay district of southern Kyrgyzstan's Batken region.

The 11 Kyrgyz were detained by Uzbek border guards at the Javaghy border crossing on July 23 while transporting 40 tons of explosives from a chemical plant in Tajikistan.

The Kyrgyz were kept for 10 days at the checkpoint and later transferred to an unknown location in Uzbekistan.

The explosives belong to the KyrgyzGeoloTekhKomplekt geological corporation, which uses them for mining operations.

The Uzbek government says explosives may be transported across Uzbek territory only with special permission, which must be applied for 10 days in advance.

KyrgyzGeoloTekhKomplekt officials say varying quantities of the same explosive have been transported regularly from Tajikistan via Uzbekistan for several years without any problems.