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Uzbekistan Refuses NATO Call For Probe Into Unrest

Riots in Andijon on 14 May Tashkent, 2 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The Uzbek government today reiterated its refusal to allow an international investigation into last month's deadly violence in eastern Uzbekistan.

The Uzbek Foreign Ministry released a statement saying the demand for such a probe by NATO's Parliamentary Assembly is "groundless." The ministry said "all the necessary information" has already been sent to NATO Secretary-General Jaap De Hoop Scheffer.

The ministry says preliminary information from its own investigation shows the events in Andijon on 13 May were the result of what it calls planned "terrorist aggression." It said the unrest was conducted by radical, extremist, and religious forces "directed from abroad" and aimed at overthrowing the Uzbek government.

De Hoop Scheffer and the NATO assembly on 31 May condemned the government crackdown in Andijon, and backed a United Nations' call for an independent international probe.

(Interfax, AP, AFP, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service)

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