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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 recent discussions (a) he and (b) his officials have had with those conducting the investigations into the Andijan uprising.

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

In late May 2005. Uzbek President Karimov responded to repeated calls for an independent, international inquiry by creating a Parliamentary Committee to investigate the events of 12–13 May in Andizhan (Andijan), inviting diplomats from the US, France, Russia, China and Uzbekistan's regional neighbours to observe its work. On 13 June, at the General Affairs External Relations Council (GAERC), we and our EU partners rejected Karimov's proposal, and reaffirmed our call for an independent international investigation, giving a deadline of 30 June. In view of this, we have made no attempt to contact the Uzbek Parliamentary Committee.

We are, however, continuing to monitor closely the situation in Andizhan. Members of staff from the British Embassy, Tashkent, have visited the area five times since 13 May. We are also aware of the reports published by the US-based NGO Human Rights Watch, and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe's (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), which suggest that the Uzbek authorities used indiscriminate and disproportionate force in Andizhan. These reports, which include interviews with eye witnesses now on the Kyrgyz side of the border, further underline the need for a comprehensive, international and independent inquiry in Uzbekistan.

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