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Turkmenistan: Uzbekistan Protests Raid On Its Embassy

Tashkent, 17 December 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The Uzbek Foreign Ministry today has lodged an official protest with Turkmenistan over yesterday's invasion of Uzbekistan's Embassy in Ashgabat by Turkmen security officials. The statement says about 15 Turkmen security officials entered the building despite the protests of Uzbek diplomats and conducted a search of the ambassador's residence.

Turkmen security officials said that Turkmen nationals -- who, they claimed, were involved in the alleged assassination attempt on President Saparmurat Niyazov -- were hiding in the embassy building.

The Uzbek Foreign Ministry says that it regards the incident as a gross violation of the norms and principles of the international law, including the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations.

The ministry asked Turkmenistan for an immediate explanation of the incident and demanded immunity for its diplomatic mission in Turkmenistan.

So far, there has been no official comment from Ashgabat.