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U.S. Official Says Not Enough Progress In Uzbekistan

Almaty, 16 July 2004 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. assistant secretary of state for Eurasian Affairs, Elizabeth Jones, said today that Uzbekistan needs to make faster progress in its reforms.

"There has not been progress [in Uzbekistan] in registration of political parties, development of free media, some of the areas that are necessary to make progress in political reform and democratization," she said. "And we were also not able to point to sufficient progress in economic reform because the economic life of the country is so stagnant."

Speaking in neighboring Kazakhstan, Jones acknowledged that there had been some progress in Uzbekistan, mentioning that the government had allowed representatives from the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit predetention centers to investigate allegations of police torture and that there had been an overall improvement in the training of police officers.

Jones said she believed the Uzbek government would eventually realize that developing the country's economy and allowing greater political freedoms are key to creating stability in the country.

(Kazakh Service)