RealNews

West Urged to Get Tougher on Uzbekistan

Western donors, including the United States, are being urged to put tough conditions on future aid and loans to the Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan despite its cooperation in Washington’s “war on terrorism.” In a report released Tuesday, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) charged that President Islam Karimov has failed to follow through on economic and political reforms that he promised to implement at a meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush last March. The talks came after Karimov permitted Washington to use a military base in Uzbekistan for its campaign to oust the Taliban regime in neighboring Afghanistan. “Western embassies and governments are increasingly critical of the ‘positive engagement’ approach to Uzbekistan,” said ICG’s Asia Program Director Robert Templer. “With the U.S. need for a strategic partner fading, there is little to lose in taking a much tougher stance with President Karimov’s government.” Full Story

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