EU imposes sanctions on Uzbekistan


By Stephen Castle 
Published: 30 September 2005 

http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article316087.ece

The EU has imposed "smart sanctions" on Uzbekistan
after it refused to allow an international inquiry
into the killing of 500 people there earlier this
year. 

The decision yesterday, to be approved by EU foreign
ministers on Monday, marks a hardening by the
international community against Tashkent. Criticism of
the Uzbek authorities from Washington has already led
to the US being ordered to remove its airbase at
Karshi-Khanabad, in the south-east.

The toughly worded text, drafted by EU ambassadors,
highlighted the "excessive, disproportionate and
indiscriminate use of force by the Uzbek security
forces" on anti-government protesters in Andijan, in
the east, on 12 May. Ministers are "to impose an
embargo on exports ... of arms, military and other
equipment that might be used for internal repression".

The declaration was approved unanimously by the senior
diplomats, making it almost certain to go through on
the nod on Monday. Visa bans will apply to "those
individuals directly responsible for the
indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force in
Andijan". Other measures include cuts to European aid
programmes; some of the remaining aid money will be
redirected to pro-democracy NGOs.

Unrest erupted on 12 May after supporters of 23 local
businessmen, accused of Islamic extremism, broke into
Andijan's prison and freed them. Armed men then
occupied the town hall and sparked a huge
anti-government protest. Witnesses say more than 500
people were killed by security forces. The government
has rejected demands for an international
investigation. 





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