Putin today signed into law a bill on strengthening political, economic, and security relations with Uzbekistan. Putin says today's talks also will help improve cooperation between Moscow and Tashkent.
"As you know, I have recently signed a law on the ratification of our treaty on allied relations, which represents, to a certain degree, a phase in improving the quality of our cooperation," Putin told Karimov. "I think all of this will be the subject of our conversation today as well as the situation in the region, which none of us is indifferent about because it is our home."
Facing Western criticism over the Andijon bloodshed, Karimov's government has forged closer security ties with Russia.
Moscow has supported the Uzbek government's rejection of calls for an international investigation into the killings.
(Reuters, AP, AFP)
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."
For an annotated timeline of the Andijon events and their repercussions, click here.