EU & Uzbekistan to Resume Ties?

by Nathan Hamm on 9/1/2006

First it was the US showing up in Uzbekistan making noises indicating a renewal of ties may be on the horizon. Now the EU has sent a representative to Tashkent to discuss EU-Uzbekistan relations. The visit reportedly went quite well, even though human rights issues and Andijon were front and center for the EU delegation.

But, Turunen, stressed, “the real issue” for the EU remains the Uzbek authorities’ response to international concern over Andijon and the country’s human rights record.

Turunen said Uzbekistan appears ready to offer certain concessions on Andijon — which would, however, fall short of allowing the EU to conduct an inquiry.

“Well, it seems that at the moment the issue with the international inquiry is not on the agenda as such,” he said. “They are to a certain extent open to discuss on expert level the events that took place in Andijon and we have to now see what this amounts to, what concrete steps towards that direction could be taken.”

On the other hand, Turunen said, Uzbek officials appeared more amenable on resuming a more general human rights dialogue with the EU.

The visit came in response to Uzbek statements in June that they would be willing to resume contacts with Europe. Turunen said he is not sure why Uzbekistan is reaching out, but he suggested that perhaps they are seeking European investement in Uzbekistan’s energy sector. While that may be true, of much larger importance to Uzbekistan’s government, given its apparent interest in renewing some sort of relationship with the US as well, is in making sure than China and especially Russia are unable to wield too much influence over it.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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