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Uzbek Leader Calls For Closer Ties With Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) with Uzbek President Islam Karimov (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) May 9, 2006 -- President Islam Karimov has called for closer ties between Uzbekistan and Russia.

In a letter to President Vladimir Putin to mark the 61st anniversary of victory in World War II, 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.

No details were given about the threats.

Relations between the two countries have improved over the past year, while ties between Uzbekistan and the United States have been severely damaged since a crackdown in the eastern town of Andijon nearly one year ago that officially left 189 people dead.


Uzbekistan, Russia, And The West

Uzbekistan, Russia, And The West

President Karimov (left) with Russian President Putin in July 2005 (epa)

BETWEEN EAST AND WEST: One of the ramifications of the May 2005 bloodshed in Andijon has been a souring of relations between Tashkent and the West, accompanied by a raproachment between Uzbekistan and Russia. Following sharp U.S. and European criticism of the Andijon crackdown, Uzbekistan kicked the United States out of the Karshi-Khanabad air base and began actively courting Moscow.
"Today, we are reaching an unprecedented level in our relationship," Uzbek President Islam Karimov said during a November 2005 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, at which the leaders signed a strategic-partnership agreement. "I understand and we all understand in Uzbekistan that it is unprecedented that Russia signs such a partnership agreement with Uzbekistan."


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THE COMPLETE STORY: A dedicated webpage bringing together all of RFE/RL's coverage of the events in Andijon, Uzbekistan, in May 2005 and their continuing repercussions.


For an annotated timeline of the Andijon events and their repercussions, click here.