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Thursday 30 August 2012

Uzbekistan Bans Foreign Military Bases on its Territory


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TASHKENT (Xinhua) – Uzbekistan’s parliament voted Thursday to ban foreign military bases on its territory.

Uzbek soldiers have their parachute harnesses checked before a practice jump from a tower at Fort Bragg, N.C., on Sept. 8, 1997. The soldiers will take part in the longest distance airborne operation in history during Exercise Central Asian Battalion ‘97. Exercise Central Asian Battalion ‘97 involves more than 900 military personnel from Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan who are training with over 500 U.S. military troops to hone their skills in peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance. The exercise was intended to enhance regional cooperation and increase interoperability training among NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. The exercise was being held in Shymkent, Kazakhstan, and Chirchik, Uzbekistan.
(Photo: DoD, by Staff Sgt. David L. Wilcoxson, U.S. Air Force)

The members of the Senate, parliament’s upper house, approved a foreign policy bill at a plenary meeting. The document, which declares that Uzbekistan will not take part in any military and political blocs, allows no deployment of foreign military bases or other facilities on its territory.

Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Komilov (عبدالعزیز کاملوف) presented the bill to the Uzbek senate Thursday saying that “there will not be any bases or operations centres on our territory.” He was referring to reports in Russian media which said Uzbekistan might host a regional operations centre for the United States after its pullout from Afghanistan in 2014. Kamilov declared Uzbekistan would not join any military blocs and would “reserve the right to leave any interstate structures if they become military-political blocs.”

“An Uzbek soldier will never fight abroad,” Kamilov stressed. The concept, initiated by President Islam Karimov, also states that Uzbekistan will take political, economic and other measures to stay away from conflicts in neighbouring countries. The bill underlines that Uzbekistan remains committed to its open, well-intentioned and pragmatic policy toward its closest neighbours and wants solutions to all political, economic and environmental problems facing the region today to be governed by mutual respect for interests, constructive dialogue and international law.

In June, Uzbekistan suspended its membership of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), an intergovernmental military alliance in the Commonwealth of Independent States.

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