EU lifts sanctions on Uzbekistan, keeps arms embargo

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The European Union has dropped its remaining sanctions against Uzbekistan, except for an arms embargo, a source in the French Foreign Ministry said Monday.
LUXEMBOURG, October 13 (RIA Novosti) - The European Union has dropped its remaining sanctions against Uzbekistan, except for an arms embargo, a source in the French Foreign Ministry said Monday.

The decision follows the release earlier this year of several human rights activists.

The sanctions, including travel bans for top Uzbek state and government officials, were imposed in 2005, following the shooting of demonstrators in the city of Andizhan.

France currently holds the EU's six-month rotating presidency.

In May 2007, foreign ministers of 27 European Union nations extended sanctions on Uzbekistan, introduced over the violent suppression of an uprising in the country that came to be known as the Andizhan massacre.

The sanctions were triggered by the Uzbek authorities' refusal to allow an international investigation into the events in the eastern city. Rights activists alleged that troops opened fire on thousands of protesters. Official statistics said 187 people were killed but rights groups said the death toll was far higher.

The EU previously said it might review the sanctions if Uzbekistan agreed to continue negotiations on civil rights and freedoms in the Central Asian republic.

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