Questions in Parliament on exemptions and violations of Uzbek travel ban


From Hansards on the 24th November.

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the exemption of Islam Karimov and his family from the list of Uzbek officials banned from travelling to the European Union. [30702]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: We have not ruled out adding further names to the list of those subject to the EU’s visa ban. When adopting the measures on 3 October, the EU recognised the need to maintain contacts with Uzbekistan. Inclusion of the President on

the list would reduce prospects of continued dialogue. The measures introduced by the EU will be reviewed in the light of developments in Uzbekistan.

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the effectiveness of the EU travel ban on Uzbek officials; and what assessment he has made of the implications for the ban of Uzbek Interior Minister Almatov’s presence in Germany. [30869]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The measures announced by the General Affairs and External Relations Council on 3 October in relation to Uzbekistan came into force on 14 November. They clearly demonstrate the profound concern of the European Union (EU) about the situation in Uzbekistan and the EU’s strong condemnation of the refusal of the Uzbek authorities to allow an independent international inquiry into the events in Andizhan in May.

The EU travel ban stands. Almatov’s visa was issued before the travel ban came into effect. The travel ban allows for exemptions in cases of urgent humanitarian need. The German authorities checked that the medical case for the visa was urgent before deciding to issue.

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