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U.S. Welcomes Romanian Move To Accept Uzbek Refugees

Uzbek refugees onboard their flight to Romania Washington, 28 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The United States today welcomed Romania's decision to accept nearly 450 Uzbek asylum seekers on a temporary basis.

The U.S. State Department says the move shows Romania's commitment to helping international efforts to assist those seeking protection from persecution.

Romania is to be a temporary location for the refugees, where they will be processed for final resettlement. The UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights is negotiating with several countries over the final relocation of the refugees.

A spokesman for Canada's immigration ministry, Steven Heckbert, today said that Canada will welcome 50 of the refugees. The Uzbek refugees fled eastern Uzbekistan in May after an insurrection and a military repression that the UN described as a "mass killing."

(U.S. State Department, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service, ITAR-TASS, Interfax, Reuters, AFP)