Thursday, August 25, 2005
When Tashkent announced on July 29 that it had officially asked the United States to remove its forces from the Khanabad airbase in southern Uzbekistan - where they had been deployed for the past few years - the move came as no surprise given the growing friction between both countries following the May 13 events in Andijan. Still, this decision represents a major U-turn in Uzbek foreign policy, and will have long term consequences for Uzbekistan and the entire Central Asian region...The question - will the left care anymore about human rights abuses in Uzbekistan now that it is no longer an American ally?
Tashkent is now turning towards its old historical ally - Moscow - that is only to happy to renew strong ties. China, which is a new player in the region, is also strengthening relations with Uzbekistan, providing crucial new economic partnership.
Neither Moscow nor Beijing supports calls for an international investigation into Andijan, nor are they likely to demand reforms within Uzbekistan – a factor that will be welcomed by Tashkent.