Uzbekistan bans foreign military bases

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Tashkent : Uzbekistan will not host any foreign military bases on its soil, Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov said Thursday.

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“There will be no foreign military bases or (military) objects in Uzbekistan,” Kamilov said in the Senate, adding that there would be no “operative groups” allowed either in the Central Asian country.

Uzbekistan’s lower house of parliament in September passed President Islam Karimov’s new foreign policy strategy, which rules out Tashkent’s membership in any military alliances and bans foreign military bases on Uzbek territory, Central Asian Fergana News Agency reported.

Uzbekistan, which did not have a specific foreign policy document until recently, rejects any membership in military alliances and “reserves its right to quit an interstate coalition if it turns into a military alliance”, Fergana quoted the foreign policy strategy as saying.

According to the document, Uzbekistan would not host foreign military bases on its territory, a fact that would alleviate the concerns Russia has had over Tashkent’s possible cooperation with NATO ever since Uzbekistan suspended membership in the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in late June.

The Uzbek foreign policy strategy also states that the country will not participate in any military campaigns abroad, according to Fergana news.