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

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Labour, Stroud

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of whether the situation in Andijan, Uzbekistan has been stabilised; and if he will make a statement.

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

Staff from the British Embassy in Tashkent have made five visits to Andizhan (Andijan) and the surrounding region since the unrest began. David Moran, our Ambasssador to Tashkent, visited first 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.

He visited Andizhan again on 26 May, when he saw the central Yangi bazaar, and city's central square. On the same visit, he also went to the border town of Karasu, where he observed brisk market trading. Since the visits made by Embassy staff earlier in May, however, he noticed a significant increase in security service presence, and commented that members of the public appeared afraid to approach him.

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