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Foreign Diplomats Visit Scene Of Uzbek Unrest

11 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A delegation of foreign diplomats today toured the Andijon area of eastern Uzbekistan, where a violent uprising took place in May.

The tour was at the invitation of the Uzbek government. The group comprised representatives from Russia, China, Iran, India, Pakistan, and Central Asian countries. The diplomats met officials in Andijon, visiting the prison where the uprising began and the main square where violence erupted.

Human rights advocates say up to 750 people died when government troops opened fire on unarmed civilians on 13 May 13 in Andijon. Authorities deny that and say 173 people died. President Islam Karimov blamed the violence on Islamic radicals.

Western countries have called for an international probe into the violence, but the Uzbek government refused, assenting only to a working group of diplomats to monitor its own investigation.