European Socialists put EU ministers under pressure over Uzbek killings

Tue 13 Sep 2005

The failure of EU ministers to act over the killing of up to 1,000 civilians by security forces in Uzbekistan has brought strong protest from leading Socialist MEPs.

On 13 September the MEPs tabled a parliamentary question protesting that four months after the killings in Andijan, Uzbekistan, no action has been taken by the EU and the Uzbek government has ignored international calls for an independent enquiry into the events.

The Council has repeatedly strongly condemned the "excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by Uzbek security forces" in which possibly as many as 1000 civilians were killed on 12 and 13 May 2005. But neither the European threat of partial suspension of the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement, nor the appointment of a special envoy for Central Asia, Mr Jan Kubis, has led to any result.

"Why hasn’t stronger and swifter action been taken against Uzbekistan?" ask Socialist Group vice-presidents Hannes Swoboda and Jan Marinus Wiersma today.

Said Mr Wiersma: "The European Parliament has strongly condemned the behaviour of the Uzbek authorities and has urged the Council to take a firm stand in this issue. But it didn’t even appear on the agenda of the Foreign Ministers’ recent informal meeting in Newport".

Said Mr Swoboda: "Apparently, if we do not follow up European Parliament resolutions ourselves, they are quickly forgotten."

They have submitted written questions to the Council, asking what action has been taken so far, what action is being considered and whether diplomatic efforts, including those by Mr Kubis, are being coordinated with Russia and the US.