Central Asia: Regional Security

House of Lords written question – answered on 5th October 2009.

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Photo of Viscount Waverley Viscount Waverley Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are their priorities towards Uzbekistan as regards (a) regional security and stability, (b) good governance, and (c) energy security.

Photo of Lord Malloch-Brown Lord Malloch-Brown Labour

The UK maintains a constructive and balanced relationship with Uzbekistan. That relationship also takes account of the EU sanctions regime imposed after the tragic events in Andijan (eastern Uzbekistan) in May 2005.

Our main priorities are to support good governance, democracy and human rights. We raise our concerns in a critical but constructive dialogue with the Uzbek authorities in Tashkent and in discussions with the Uzbek embassy in London. In addition, the EU has a comprehensive and results-oriented annual human rights dialogue with Uzbekistan, which includes a focus on the need for further progress in Uzbek promotion and protection of human rights.

Regional security is also a priority given the potential for instability in the Ferghana Valley (straddling the Uzbek, Kyrgyz and Tajik borders). There are several factors that may contribute to unrest there: growing poverty, a fall-off in remittances, and the relocation of extremists from Pakistan/Afghanistan into central Asia. We believe that Uzbekistan could have an important and positive influence in Afghanistan and more broadly.

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