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Mirziyoev Promises Citizenship To Long-Time Uzbek Residents, Other Reforms

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev

TASHKENT -- Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev has promised to provide citizenship to individuals who moved to the Central Asian nation prior to 1995 and have resided there since.

In his state-of-the-nation address to parliament on January 24, Mirzioyev said the move will solve the citizenship problem for some 50,000 people living in Uzbekistan.

He ordered the parliament to look into his proposal and prepare legislation on the matter by May 1.

Mirziyoev also announced a plan to liberalize the country’s internal migration by abolishing the Soviet-era system that barred people from rural regions from residing and working in Tashkent, the capital.

"It is true that we kept our people restrained for 30 years," Mirziyoev said, adding that the time came to stop the practice as it pushed hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks to seek jobs in other countries.

Mirziyoev also said that a Public Chamber will be established to monitor the activities of state entities.

According to Mirzioyev, a regional governor will regularly inform citizens about their activities via media outlets. Social changes, such as increases to wages, scholarships, and other allowances, will be introduced in coming months.

Mirziyoev, a former prime minister, became president after his predecessor Islam Karimov's death was announced in September 2016. Karimov ruled Central Asia's most-populous country of 32 million with an iron fist since before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Mirziyoev has taken steps to bolster the country's struggling economy and to implement reforms in Uzbekistan -- where rights abuses had been widespread under Karimov.