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Uzbek Banks Suspend Money Transfers To Kyrgyzstan

Ethnic Uzbeks carry belongings as they return to the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh from Uzbekistan shortly after the June violence.
Uzbek banks and other financial institutions have blocked financial transfers to Kyrgyzstan for the past several months, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

A representative of the National Bank of Uzbekistan responsible for international transactions confirmed to RFE/RL that all Uzbek banks suspended transactions with Kyrgyzstan in the wake of deadly violence between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in June.

The bloodshed, in the southern Kyrgyz regions of Osh and Jalal-Abad, left more than 400 people dead and uprooted hundreds of thousands of people, including sending many would-be refugees to the Uzbek border.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the problem is of a technical character and due to "a system failure" between the two neighboring countries.

"This suspension is temporary but we can't say when operations will resume," the source said.

Ethnic Uzbek activists in Osh say the decision to suspend money transfers to Kyrgyzstan has had a negligible impact on the lives of Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan.

"Both before and after the June events, virtually no financial operations, including by charitable organizations, were routed via Uzbek banks," said Izzatulla Rahmatulalev, the head of the Osh-based nongovernmental organization Order and the Law. "Uzbeks on both sides of the Uzbek-Kyrgyz border use cash in trading and other financial activities. That's why [most] people did not even notice this several-month long suspension [of transfers]."

Contacted by RFE/RL, the press officer of the National Bank of Kyrgyzstan could not confirm Uzbekistan's unilateral suspension of money transfers to Kyrgyzstan.