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Russian Minister Slams EU Sanctions Against Uzbekistan

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (file photo) 12 October 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today sharply criticized the European Union for imposing sanctions against Uzbekistan for its refusal to permit an international probe into the Andijon bloodshed in May.

Lavrov told journalists in Moscow the sanctions were a "purely political instrument" that has proved ineffective in
Iraq and elsewhere.

EU diplomats announced the sanctions last week (3 October), condemning Uzbekistan's refusal to allow a probe and saying the Uzbek government used excessive and indiscriminate force in quelling a public rebellion in Andijon in which more than 700 people may have died.

The EU cut 3 million euros in aid to Tashkent, and also imposed an embargo on the export of arms and equipment that
Brussels says can be used for internal repression.

(Reuters, RFE/RL correspondent in Brussels)

For more news about events in Uzbekistan, see RFE/RL's webpage News and Features on Uzbekistan