Uzbekistan

Council conclusions on Uzbekistan - 2675th General Affairs and External Relations Council meeting - Brussels, 18 Jul 2005

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The Council adopted the following conclusions:

"1. The Council remains profoundly concerned about the situation in Uzbekistan and condemns the Uzbek authorities' refusal to allow an independent international enquiry into the recent events in Andijan.

2. The Council recalls its Conclusions of May 23 and June 13 and regrets the fact that Uzbek authorities did not reconsider their position by the given deadline of the end of June.

3. The Council is particularly concerned with the conclusions of the ODIHR and OHCHR reports on the events in Andijan. The Council recalls the need for a credible, comprehensive and transparent independent international enquiry and will coordinate the necessary steps in that direction with the UN, OSCE and other relevant international organizations. In this context, the possible use of the Moscow mechanism of the OSCE is being considered.

4. EU-Uzbekistan relations are based on mutual respect for the principles of democracy, rule of law and human rights, which are enshrined in the EU-Uzbekistan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement as well as other international agreements. The Council condemns the Uzbek leadership for breaching these principles in the light of the reported excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Uzbek security forces during the Andijan events.

5. The Council notes the Commission's postponement of the subcommittee on economic issues scheduled for 13 July in Brussels.The Council invited the EUSR for Central Asia, Mr Jan Kubiš, to visit the region as soon as possible and agreed to review the EU-Uzbekistan Partnership and Coorperation Agreement in the light of his report.

6. The Council has decided that all bilateral ministerial contacts of the EU and its Member States with President Karimov and his government should include strong messages on the importance of respect for democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Uzbekistan.

7. The Council requests relevant Council bodies to follow closely the situation in Uzbekistan and to recommend subsequent measures as appropriate. In particular, they should keep under review the case for suspension of further elements of the EU-Uzbekistan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the introduction of an embargo on exports to Uzbekistan of arms, military equipment and equipment which might be used for internal repression as well as other targeted measures.

8. The Council is ready to re-examine these measures as soon as the Uzbek authorities have proven their readiness to allow an independent international enquiry into the events in Andijan of 13 May last, thus demonstrating their willingness to adhere to the principles of respect for human rights, rule of law and fundamental freedoms.

9. The Council takes note of the work already carried out by the Commission to re-orientate the Tacis programme in order to support increased focus on democracy and human rights, as well as on the needs of the population and to foster closer links with Uzbek civil society.

10. The Council remains concerned about the situation of the Uzbek refugees in the Kyrgyz Republic and calls on the Kyrgyz and Uzbek authorities to respect their international commitments and abide by international norms concerning the protection of refugees and asylum seekers."