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Uzbekistan: Factbox Of Uzbek-Russian Relations

President Karimov (left) meeting in Moscow with President Putin in June 2005 (epa) A timeline of Uzbek-Russian relations and important related events in the region since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

May 9, 2006: President Islam Karimov urged the strengthening of friendship and cooperation between the Russian and Uzbek peoples in the face of what he called dangerous modern challenges that threaten the two countries and future generations.

March 20, 2006: President Karimov criticized Western countries and organizations for waging an "information war" against his country.

January 31, 2006: In a Kremlin press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin defends Moscow's ties with Uzbekistan. "We don't need a second Afghanistan in Central Asia and we will act very carefully there," Putin said. "We don't need a revolution [in Central Asia], what we need is evolution that would help consolidate the values you just mentioned, while averting outbursts such as the one we witnessed in Andijon."

January 25, 2006: Uzbekistan becomes the sixth member of the Eurasian Economic Community (EES) at a summit in St. Petersburg of that Russian-led grouping.

January 13, 2006: An Uzbek court has suspended the activity of the U.S.-based pro-democracy group Freedom House, saying it lacked transparency in its work. Earlier, Uzbek courts suspended and later closed the offices of IREX, which ran education programs. The London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting withdrew from the country citing security concerns.

November 23, 2005: NATO says the Uzbek government has told the alliance it can no longer use Uzbekistan's territory or airspace for operations in neighboring Afghanistan.

November 22, 2005: The United States says the last U.S. troops have flown out of the Karshi-Khanabad Air Base in Uzbekistan, ending four years of operations at the base to support operations in neighboring Afghanistan.

November 14, 2005: Presidents Putin and Karimov sign an alliance treaty in Moscow that includes an accord stating that an attack on either country will be considered an act of "aggression" against both. The treaty also gives Russia the possibility of using a military base in Uzbekistan.

October 21, 2005: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrives in Tashkent for talks with President Karimov and Foreign Minister Elyur Ganiev. Lavrov said Russia and Uzbekistan are "united by the need to fight the threats of extremism and terrorism."

October 12, 2005: Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov sharply criticizes the European Union for imposing sanctions against Uzbekistan for its refusal to permit an international probe into the Andijon bloodshed in May.

October 7, 2005: President Karimov thanks Russian President Putin for his support following the May violence in Andijon. "The problems that emerged in Uzbekistan in connection with the Andijon events showed very clearly who is who, so to speak," Karimov said. "And in this respect Russia once again proved its reliability."

September 19-24, 2005: Russia and Uzbekistan hold joint military exercises.

December 22, 2004: Russian State Duma ratifies agreement on strategic partnership with Uzbekistan.

October 20, 2004: Yury Lebedev, the economic adviser at the Russian Embassy in Uzbekistan, says Russian companies will invest $2.1 billion in 37 projects in Uzbekistan. More than $2 billion is expected to go to the oil-and-gas complex. Gazprom plans to invest $1 billion to develop gas condensate fields in the Ustyurt region and $15 million to extend the life of the Shakhpakhty field; LUKoil plans to invest more than $995 million for natural-gas extraction in the Bukhara-Khiva region.

October 18, 2004: Interfax reports Uzbekistan "urges" Russian investors to take part in privatizing key enterprises, offers stakes in the Syrdarya thermal-power plant (48 percent), the Novoangrenskaya thermal-power plant (49 percent), the Ugol coal company (49 percent), and Kaolin (100 percent); oil-and-gas enterprises include Uznefteprodukt (44 percent), Uzneftegazmash (39 percent), Uzgeoburneftegazdobycha (44 percent), and Avtogaz (70 percent).

August 27, 2004: Parliament ratifies strategic-partnership agreement with Russia.

August 26, 2004: President Islam Karimov tells journalists in Tashkent that "Russia has had and still has strategic interests in Uzbekistan. It's another matter on which basis new relations are built. Old approaches and criteria are unacceptable." He announces that the two countries will hold joint military exercises in Uzbekistan in 2005.

June 16, 2004: Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Tashkent, and signs the Duma's ratification of the Russian-Uzbek joint defense accord, including an agreement on cooperation between air-defense forces.

June 3-4, 2004: Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov visits, and signs an agreement on strategic partnership.

May 11-12, 2004: Russian Defense Minister Ivanov visits and announces Russia and Uzbekistan will hold joint military exercises in 2005.

February 16, 2004: Russian news program "Vesti" reports that a Hizb ut-Tahrir leader, Yusuf Kasimakhunov, has been detained in Moscow by the FSB.

August 6, 2003: Putin visits Uzbekistan, meeting with Karimov in Samarkand.

July 3, 2003: Justice Minister Abdusamat Palvan-Zade says Russia's announcement that it would take CIS citizens into its army is illegal. He adds that citizens of Uzbekistan are not allowed to join foreign armed forces.

May 22, 2003: General Viktor Storonin of the Russian Defense Ministry says on "Ekho Moskvy" that the Russian army will admit citizens from CIS countries on a contract basis.

May 19, 2003: Interfax reports that Uzbek government recently banned transit for Russian military cargo planes en route to Tajikistan.

January 23, 2003: Russian Embassy in Tashkent says Nikolai Mitrokhin of Memorial has been declared persona non grata by Uzbek government.

December 12, 2002: President Karimov questions Russian motives for setting up a military base in Kyrgyzstan, says Russia did not react when Uzbekistan appealed for help in 1999 during Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan incursions.

October 12, 2001: Joint Uzbek-U.S. statement confirms that the United States can use one Uzbek air base for campaign in Afghanistan. See also: Uzbekistan: Regional Ambitions May Hit Limitations and Central Asia: Six Months After -- Alliances Shift With West, Russia. (Also related: Russia's Image On The Rise In Central Asia, Russia's Image Rising -- Cultural Ties With Kyrgyzstan And Uzbekistan Still Strong, and Russia's Rising Image -- Still No Local Alternative To Russian Media.)

October 11, 2001: Security officials from Shanghai Cooperation Organization meet in Bishkek to discuss creation of a regional antiterrorism center; Uzbekistan does not attend meeting.

December 14, 2000: ITAR-TASS cited Presdient Karimov as saying Uzbekistan respects Russia's interests and its position in the Central Asian region.

July 11, 2000: Russian Deputy Air Force commander Yury Bondarev said Uzbekistan and Russia have started a joint duty program.

May 18-19, 2000: Russian President Putin visits Tashkent.

April 20, 2000: ITAR-TASS reports Russia will ship 50 armored personnel carriers to Uzbekistan in 2000.

April 14-15, 2000: Uzbek and U.S. troops conduct joint military exercises in Chirchik area.

March 28-April 6, 2000: The Southern Shield Comonwealth-2000 military exercises are held; first stage: troops from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan drill in Tajikistan; second stage: exercises in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan near the Afghan border with Russian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik, and Uzbek troops participating; exercises involving CIS air defenses held on 5-6 April involving Belarus and Armenia.

January 24-25, 2000: CIS summit in Moscow, Karimov said Russia is the backbone of the CIS. (See also: Russia: Putin Could Increase Economic Pressure On CIS Countries.)

December 10, 1999: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visits Tashkent.

April 24, 1999: At a ceremony at the Uzbek Embassy in Washington, Uzbekistan officially becomes member of GUAM, making it GUUAM.

April 8, 1999: President Karimov questions need for a Russian base in Tajikistan, says increased militarization of Central Asia will destabilize region.

February 24, 1999: AP and Interfax report that Russia has extradited to Uzbekistan a man suspected of involvement in the Tashkent bombings. Interfax reports three Uzbek citizens caught with weapons on Daghestani-Chechen border; Asia-Plus reports one person arrested in Tashkent is a Tajik citizen.

February 11, 1999: President Karimov meets with Russian Federation Council chairman Yegor Stroyev. He later says "Russia does not have a clear policy" for countries in the Central Asian region. Karimov says: "When the Taliban captured the northern part of Afghanistan and were pointed toward us, no one from the CIS helped us."

February 2, 1999: Uzbek Foreign Ministry announces intention to withdraw from CIS Collective Security Treaty.

November 30, 1998: At press conference in Tashkent, President Karimov says Uzbekistan did not have any role in the rebellion in Tajikistan earlier in the month, adds that fighting there was the result of an interclan power struggle and that Russia's FSB was probably involved including FSB Colonel Rezo Tursunov; says amount of drugs seized along Tajikistan's borders with Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan is proof that Tajik government and law enforcement agencies are involved in drug trade.

November 20, 1998: Uzbek government announces its battalion will not return to Tajikistan due to financial reasons.

November 16, 1998: Interfax and AP report that Uzbekistan has withdrawn its contingent from the CIS peacekeeping force in Tajikistan and redeployed it to the area along Uzbekistan's border with Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

October 11-12, 1998: Russian President Boris Yeltsin visits Tashkent, signs agreement aimed at expanding economic ties over next 10 years.

September 22, 1998: Centrazbat exercises open outside Tashkent with 1,443 military personnel from the United States, Russia, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan participating. Uzbek Defense Minister Khikmatullah Tursunov says Afghanistan is a center of international terrorism, religious extremism, and worldwide drug trafficking.

August 1, 1998: Russian journalists' rights activists Vitaly Ponomaryov and Nikolai Mitrokhin beaten in Tashkent.

May 6, 1998: President Karimov makes first official visit to Russia, meets with Yeltsin, signs agreements on building Il-76 and Il-78 aircraft and guaranteeing rights of journalists in each other's country.

February 3, 1998: Russia complains about recent Uzbek television broadcast on meeting of heads of state from four CIS Customs Unions countries, specifically the claim that "as a result of political games, several CIS states could easily become dependent on their elder brother."

June 9, 1997: Ultra Balance military exercises with U.S. troops end in Ferghana Valley.

April 29, 1997: Interfax and "Kommersant" report that President Karimov said Russian press is "in the pocket" of Russian companies such as Gazprom and LUKoil, urges deputies to adopt new legislation stipulating that not only journalists but their sources are liable for what is reported.

January 14, 1997: President Karimov accuses Tajik government of being "unable to cope with leadership," and Russian media of trying to pit Uzbeks and Tajiks against each other; describes conflict in Tursun Zade as a game between "thieves and convicts," some of whom "hold high positions in the Interior Ministry"; urges Tajik government to "come to its senses and establish peace on our border and agree with the opposition forces quickly."

October 10, 1996: Uzbek media reportedly lashes back at Russian media for slanderous coverage of Uzbekistan; for example, in articles in "Nezavisimaya gazeta" and "Izvestiya" in late September that allege corruption and political repression in Uzbekistan and hint at Uzbek government's support of unsavory Afghan leaders; Uzbek media says hostile coverage aimed at Russian efforts to play "big brother" in region.

February 22, 1996: Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov in Tashkent for talks with Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Komilov and President Karimov on regional security.

February 22, 1996: "Rossiskaya gazeta" reports that the Russian Embassy in Tashkent issues between 130-150 citizenship certificates daily; more than 170,000 in the last few years; says about 500,000 have left Uzbekistan for Russia.

February 8, 1996: Body of Sergei Grebenyuk, Russian reporter for Interfax, found in Karasu canal in Tashkent.

May 4, 1995: RTR reports Uzbek President Karimov backs U.S. trade embargo against Iran.

May 4, 1995: "Narodnoye slovo" reports Uzbekistan displeased with Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev's remarks about Russia's readiness to use force to protect ethnic Russians abroad.

March 7, 1994: Russian television officially stops in Uzbekistan; channel goes over to Uzbek Television third program which is partly devoted to relaying Turkish broadcasts.

February 15, 1994: Ostankino's Channel One (ORT) and Russian television (RTR) go off the air in Uzbekistan.

November 16, 1993: Uzbekistan gets most-favored-nation trade status from the United States.

March 20, 1992: Diplomatic relations established with Russia.

March 16, 1992: U.S. Embassy opens in Tashkent.

THE COMPLETE PICTURE: To view a complete archive of RFE/RL's coverage of Uzbekistan, click here.

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