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Uzbekistan's government has denied reports that the country has had a secret program to sterilize women to control birth rates.

Responding to the claims, the Uzbek Foreign Ministry called the government’s family-planning program a model for other states not only in Central Asia but around the world.

International human rights groups and some Western media have accused the Uzbek government of practicing a state policy of forced sterilization to control the birth rate in the impoverished country.

Uzbekistan, with a population of almost 30 million, is the most populous country in Central Asia.

Basd on reporting by Jahon and AFP