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Top Uzbek Officials Need Karimov's OK For Foreign Trips

President Islam Karimov (right, with Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao) wants to keep a close watch on senior Uzbek officials' own plans abroad.
Uzbek President Islam Karimov is requiring top state officials to obtain special approval before traveling abroad in order, he says, to safeguard state secrets.

Karimov's decree was signed last week but only published in Uzbek media on March 10.

According to the decree, officials holding the country's top 25 positions, including Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyaev, will first need the president's personal approval before embarking on a foreign trip.

Foreign trips by senior officials from Uzbek's law-enforcement bodies must also be approved by the president's office.

Fifteen other state officials, including the heads of the state TV company and state agencies, as well as the state Arts Academy, need special approval from the cabinet for foreign business trips.

Penalties for traveling abroad without special state approval are to be defined within a month, the document said.

Based on reporting by AFP and