Uzbek President Islam Karimov (file photo)
1 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin today reaffirmed Russia's friendship with Uzbekistan as the Central Asian country marks Independence Day.
In an Independence Day message to Uzbek President Islam Karimov, Putin says he is sure that bilateral cooperation will continue to grow between the two states.
He also says he is certain that Russia and Uzbekistan will continue to strengthen joint efforts against international terrorism and extremism.
Putin recently rallied to Karimov's defense when Western states and organizations accused the Uzbek military of using indiscriminate force against civilian protesters after an uprising in May. The Uzbek government says 187 people -- mostly Islamic extremists -- were killed. Rights advocates estimate the toll to be much higher and say many of the victims were civilians.
(AFP)For RFE/RL's full coverage of developments in Uzbekistan, see "News And Features On Uzbekistan"