Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 29th June 2005.

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Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Conservative, Hammersmith and Fulham

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what visits the UK ambassador in Tashkent has made to (a) Andijan and (b) the Fergana Valley since 17 May.

Photo of Douglas Alexander Douglas Alexander Minister of State (Europe)

David Moran, our ambassador to Tashkent, has made two visits to Andizhan (Andijan) since 17 May 2005.

The first was on 18 May. when he accompanied a group of diplomats, members of international organisations and the media. Mr. Moran's lobbying had been instrumental in prompting the Uzbek authorities to organise this visit. The event was tightly controlled, and Mr. Moran was unable to engage members of the public. Having pressed Uzbek Deputy Foreign Minister Nematov on these restrictions. Mr. Moran secured agreement that he and EU colleagues could return unaccompanied.

On 26 and 27 May, Mr. Moran returned to Andizhan. He visited the central Yangi bazaar, and the city's central square. There was a high security service presence, and members of the public appeared afraid to approach Mr. Moran. He had a similar experience at the Kyrgyz border near Pakhtaabad. and at the border town of Karasu. This represented a distinct change from public behaviour in early May. when people had gathered around the visiting Defence Attache"'s car. and asked him to pass news of events in Andizhan outside Uzbekistan.

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