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Direct Talks To Precede EU Decision On Uzbek Sanctions

BRUSSELS, October 26, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The European Commission today said a meeting of EU and Uzbek foreign ministers in Brussels in early November will decide whether the EU will extend by another year the sanctions it put in place one year ago.

The EU imposed an arms embargo and a travel ban on selected Uzbek officials in the wake of the massacre of demonstrators by government troops in Andijon in May 2005.

Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, EU Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said the upcoming meeting will allow the EU to acquire firsthand information on the Uzbek stance.

The European Union, the United States, and the United Nations have urged Uzbek authorities to allow an independent investigation into the bloodshed, which activists say resulted in the deaths of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators.

"In order to enable the member states to obtain a full and comprehensive picture of the situation in Uzbekistan, a Cooperation Council will be held with Uzbekistan in the beginning of November," Fischer Boel said. "Moreover, this Cooperation Council will provide an opportunity for the EU to raise directly with the Uzbekistan authorities at ministerial level our many concerns on Andijon and its aftermath."

Fischer Boel said the EU will decide whether to extend sanctions by November 14. She also indicated that Brussels is unlikely to add new sanctions to the existing list.

A draft resolution on Uzbekistan that was expected to come to a vote by the European Parliament later today calls for the extension of the visa ban to President Islam Karimov, among others, and the freezing of their assets in the EU.

Aftermath Of Andijon

Aftermath Of Andijon

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


An annotated timeline of the Andijon events and their repercussions.