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Uzbekistan

Yearbook 2009

Uzbekistan. At the beginning of the year, Uzbekistan agreed with the United States that non-military US equipment should be transported through the country to Afghanistan. According to countryaah, US criticism of the country's repression of human rights has been mitigated in recent years as the US military has increased the need for allies among Afghanistan's neighboring countries. When the state-sponsored US organization Freedom House ranked freedom of the press in the world during the year, Uzbekistan ended up in place 189 of 195. The repression of regime-critical journalists and other opposition activists continued with so-called disappearances, captive countries without trial and torture. Against this background, Norway decided to refrain from using a Uzbekistan airbase for intermediate landings with transport to Afghanistan.

2009 Uzbekistan

In the spring, the EU agreed with Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Egypt to build the so-called Nabucco gas pipeline from the Caspian Sea area to Europe. According to reports, Uzbekistan was pressured by the Russian Federation not to join the settlement.

Four years after the Andizyan massacre, when hundreds of opposites are believed to have been killed by security forces, in the spring, Fergana Valley in eastern Uzbekistan became uneasy. According to independent media, a group of gunmen attacked a police station on the border with Kyrgyzstan, and at least two people were killed.

In June, nearly a ton of heroin worth the equivalent of over SEK 2 billion was burned. It happened outside the capital Tashkent in the presence of diplomats and journalists. According to authorities, the drug had been used as evidence in trials. Uzbekistan claims to have fired over 43 tonnes of drugs in the last 15 years. Smuggling from Afghanistan through Central Asia has increased.

During the summer, Uzbekistan participated in talks to form a security pact in the region as counterbalance to NATO, and in which the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Belarus would also participate. However, there were stated doubts in several countries. After Uzbekistan released some political prisoners and decided to abandon the death penalty, the EU decided in the autumn to lift the arms embargo on the country that has been in effect since the Andizjan massacre in 2005.

The December election was seen by the oppressed opposition as an attempt by President Islam Karimov to show the outside world a facade of democracy. Although four parties participated, all supported the president. The OSCE considered it pointless to send any major delegation of election observers. A second round of elections would be held in January 2010.

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