TASHKENT, March 22 (RIA Novosti) - Kazakhstan's president said the actions of the authorities in neighboring Uzbekistan during the Andijan uprising in May 2005 were justified.
"In Andijan, you protected the peace of 26 million Uzbekistanis," Nursultan Nazarbayev, currently on a state visit to the neighboring Central Asian republic, told his Uzbek counterpart, Islam Karimov.
Uzbek authorities claim the Andijan uprising on May 12-13 last year was masterminded by Islamic extremist groups linked to international terrorist organizations. Official statistics say 187 people died in the ensuing violence, including 60 civilians and 31 policemen.
However, human rights groups say about 700 civilians died as a result of a violent crackdown by security forces and police. Law-enforcement bodies said 94 terrorists were killed and 76 injured as a result of antiterrorism measures.
Special services said extremists were planning to destabilize both Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, Nazarbayev said.
He said a head of state could not take other measures as terrorists had seized government buildings and prisons, adding that similar measures were taken throughout the world in similar situations.
"A different outcome would have destabilized the region today," Nazarbayev said.