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U.S. To Leave Uzbek Base

27 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A senior U.S. diplomat has confirmed that U.S. forces will leave their base in Uzbekistan at the Tashkent government's request.

The announcement was made today by Daniel Fried, an assistant U.S. secretary of state, following a meeting with Uzbek President Islam Karimov in Tashkent.

Uzbekistan has played host to U.S. troops for operations in Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. Tashkent asked in July that they leave the country within six months.

The request came after relations soured following U.S. criticism of the Uzbek government's crackdown on protesters in Andijon in May.

Fried said the United States will withdraw from the base within the period demanded by Uzbek authorities.

He also dismissed charges that the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent had given money to those who allegedly plotted the Andijon rebellion. The charge was made by a defendant in the ongoing trial of 15 men suspected of involvement in the 12-13 May revolt.

(compiled from agency reports)