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Kyrgyz Officials Visit Refugee Camps In Uzbekistan

A refugee stands by boxes with humanitarian aid in the town of Osh

A refugee stands by boxes with humanitarian aid in the town of Osh

ANDIJON, Uzbekistan -- An official delegation from Kyrgyzstan's Jalal-Abad region visited ethnic Uzbeks in refugee camps in neighboring Uzbekistan on June 22 and urged them to return home, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Jalal-Abad Governor Bektur Asanov led a delegation that met in Andijon with Uzbek Interior Minister Bahodyr Matlyubov and Emergency Situations Minister Tursun Hudoiberdyiev. They toured several camps that are housing the ethnic Uzbeks who fled the Kyrgyz cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad after ethnic clashes with Kyrgyz began on June 10.

Asanov met with several groups of refugees and urged them to return to Kyrgyzstan, saying that the situation there is under control and that international humanitarian aid has arrived. But many refugees expressed concern about their safety if they returned to Kyrgyzstan.

At least 208 people were killed in the clashes and hundreds of thousands fled their homes.

Andijon regional Governor Ahmadjon Usmonov told the Kyrgyz delegation that there are some 75,000 refugees from the Jalal-Abad and Osh oblasts at 57 camps in eastern Uzbekistan near Andijon, which is 40 kilometers from Osh.