Uzbekistan’s parliament has passed legislation to enact a new strategic document that rules out the possibility of hosting foreign military bases, reports NBCA of IWPR.
“It was no surprise the law was passed on July 31, since it had been proposed by President Islam Karimov, and the Uzbek parliament does not oppose his decisions. But it runs counter to earlier media reports that Uzbekistan was at least considering whether to host United States or other NATO military facilities after international forces withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014,” writes the agency.
The Uzbek government closed a US military airbase at Karshi in 2005 after international condemnation of the mass shootings of civilians in Andijan in May that year. More recently, however, Uzbekistan’s relationship with the West has improved, as it has become a key overland transit route for supplying NATO troops in Afghanistan.
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“This strategy was approved swiftly with no discussion, and it reflects Tashkent’s current concerns and needs. It creates the legal foundations for a flexible approach to participating in or abstaining from [regional] integration, in structures that include the Russia-Belarus-Kazakstan Customs Union, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation,” says Kamoliddin Rabbimov, an Uzbek political analyst based in France in an interview with IWPR.
The expert continues that the document also makes it clear that Uzbekistan will not take part in peacekeeping operations abroad. “Tashkent probably wants to insure itself against having to get involved in situations like those [ethnic clashes] that occurred in Osh and Jalalabad in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan in June 10,” said Rabbimov.