Protesters picketed the Uzbek Embassy in Brussels on May 13, the anniversary of the Andjion violence (RFE/RL)
May 16, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- The Uzbek Foreign Ministry has called the European Union's sanctions against the country "counterproductive" for the interests of both parties, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.
The statement came after EU foreign ministers on May 14 decided to ease some of the sanctions it imposed on Uzbekistan after a government crackdown on protesters in the city of Andijon two years ago.
The decision means the EU has dropped four names from its original list of 12 senior officials banned from receiving travel visas to EU countries. But it made no change to an EU arms embargo on Tashkent.
Uzbek officials claim that fewer than 200 people -- most of them Islamic insurgents or security forces -- were killed in Andijon, while rights groups and eyewitnesses say several times that number of people died, most of them unarmed demonstrators that included many women.
Separately, Human Rights Watch has welcomed the EU's call for the release of rights activists jailed in Uzbekistan.
The New York-based rights group said the bloc was "finally" focusing its Uzbekistan policy on the victims of Tashkent's repression.
The group says at least 14 human rights defenders remain in custody in Uzbekistan on politically motivated charges.
(with material from hrw.org, Interfax)
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.