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U.S. Congressmen Urge Cutoff Of Uzbek Payments

30 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Two U.S. legislators have introduced a resolution calling on the Bush administration to end the Department of Defense payments to the Uzbek government.

The measure by Congressmen Bill Delahunt and Lloyd Doggett also urges the administration to press for International Criminal Court prosecution of Uzbek President Islam Karimov for the crackdown in Andijon.

Delahunt told RFE/RL he wants the United States to break off any support for Karimov.

"In essence this is the culmination of a concern that I have shared for some time now and it's an effort to bring to the attention of the Congress the conduct of Mr. Karimov, one of our partners in the so-called 'coalition of the willing.' I
think it's time that we be very clear, draw a very bright line, and disassociate ourselves from the Karimov government," Delahunt said.

The future of the measure is not certain. Most members of Congress oppose the International Criminal Court, as does the administration. The U.S. Department of Defense recently announced its plans to pay the Uzbek government $23 million for use of the Karshi-Khanabad air base, which the U.S. will vacate in several months.

The U.S. State Department is withholding about $20 million in potential aid pending Uzbek government action on human rights reforms.

Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org



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