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Uzbek Authorities Probe Branch Of U.S. NGO

(RFE/RL) February 26, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- The Uzbek Justice Ministry is investigating U.S. nongovernmental group Project HOPE to determine whether the group's activities in the country comply with its declared goals and Uzbek law.

The organization has been running health projects in Central Asia.

"Project HOPE delivers humanitarian aid all over the region, throughout countries," Tom Mohr, who oversees Project HOPE's tuberculosis-control project in Almaty, told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service today. "To Uzbekistan, Project HOPE has delivered a huge amount of humanitarian aid over the last six years. And where aid is delivered in those countries, that's always decided together, jointly with the government and with the agreement of the government that we're working with."

As reports of the investigation emerged, Aktam Jalilov, an official of the Uzbek think tank Regional Policy Foundation, said Project HOPE helped deliver humanitarian aid to a camp of Uzbek refugees in Kyrgyzstan in May 2005.

Jalilov told journalists that the camp accommodated members of the banned Islamic group Akromiya following a government crackdown in the Uzbek eastern city of Andijon.

Tashkent has forced a number of Western-funded organizations to stop operating in the country in the past months.

(RFE/RL Uzbek Service,, Interfax)

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RFE/RL Central Asia Report

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