the Disillusioned kid: Waving a straight banana in the general direction of Islam Karimov
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Saturday, October 01, 2005

Waving a straight banana in the general direction of Islam Karimov

Seeing as Nosemonkey's suggested people come here to find out more about the proposed EU sanctions against Uzbekistan I guess I'm duty bound to say something about it.

The proposals include an embargo on "arms, military and other equipment that might be used for internal repression," a cut in aid and visa bans on Uzbek officials implicated in events in Andijan (although a list of targets has yet to be drawn up). Although the move will not be approved by Foreign Ministers until Monday, the Commission has already prepared the neccesary legislation.

Clearly it's a good thing that something is finally being done about Karimov's human rights abuses, but as the Telegraph notes it's taken a while for the EU to get around to implementing these measures. The parallels with diplomatic sanctions levied against Mugabe don't exactly fill me with confidence. Perhaps the Uzbekistan solidarity movement (for want of a better term) should start looking for it's own Peter Tatchell? Further, as Nosemonkey points out, Karimov can still get weapons from Russia (or for that matter China), rendering the excercise primarily symbolic.

The EU's proposal comes shortly after the US dispatched a high-level delegation to Uzbekistan to have strong words with Karimov and criticised the regime at an OSCE human rights conference in Warsaw. The contemporaneity of these events has fuelled suggestions that western "retaliation" against Uzbekistan has begun in earnest. Whether this is the case or not remains to be seen, but it does seem that the US is going to leave Karshi-Khanabad airbase, formerly the linchpin in the US-Uzbekistan strategic relationship (I for one had wondered if this would actually happen).

Something's finally being done about Uzbekistan. This is a good thing. Whether the measures taken serve to improve the situation there only time will tell.

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