UK and Germany Agreed to Allow Visas for Uzbek Politicians

From Hansards on 1st December

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answers of 24 November 2005, Official Report, columns 2247’48W, on Uzbekistan, to the hon. Member for Hammersmith and Fulham (Mr. Hands), when EU Ministers plan to review the exemption of Islam Karimov and his family from the list of Uzbek officials banned from travelling to the European Union; what discussions he has had with German authorities regarding the visit of Uzbek Interior Minister Almatov; and whether Mr. Almatov is still in Germany. [33768]

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 Council decided to implement these measures for an initial period of one year. In the meantime, the Council will keep under constant review the measures it has implemented in the light of any significant changes to the current situation, in particular any that demonstrate the willingness of the Uzbek authorities to adhere to the principles of respect for human rights, rule of law and fundamental freedoms.

The German authorities consulted us before Almatov’s visa was issued and we agreed with their assessment that Almatov qualified for an exemption as a case of urgent humanitarian need. Our embassy in Berlin remains in contact with the German authorities with regard to this case.

The details of Almatov’s presence are a matter for the Germans.