Actual - 20 April 2008
04:01 - President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov must do two steps toward democracy
(Appeal of Popular Movement “Birlik” Party to the EU Counsel of Foreign Affairs Ministers, 04.20.2008)
Dear Sirs/Madam,

The European Union will soon discuss the issue about new formats of sanctions against Uzbekistan that were implemented after bloody events in Andijan in May 2005.

We still believe dictatorships cannot be won only by enforcing of sanctions and their isolation from outside world. To that there are historical examples - Cuba, Iraq, Northern Korea, etc. Therefore we have repeatedly called for skilfully combining external pressure upon government of President Islam Karimov to integrate Uzbekistan into the international institutions, and thus, to promote achievement of a major objective - prompt democratisation of our country.

Though the recent release of several political prisoners in Uzbekistan is the step in the right direction, but it is too early to speak about noticeable changes in policy of Uzbek government and to speed up the process of forming the normal relations between EU and Uzbekistan. Real steps toward building civil society are respect for human rights, and actual observance of the right of citizens to participate in political process of the country. Unless opposition parties and citizen’s associations do not legally exist in Uzbekistan, movement of the country toward democracy is impossible.

Popular Movement “Birlik” Party of Uzbekistan believes, and it is the position of the whole democratic opposition in our country, that Uzbek authorities should make at least following steps, as a condition for the further improvement of the relations between EU and Uzbekistan.

1. Register Popular Movement ‘Birlik” Party of Uzbekistan, the only opposition organization engaged in dialogue with the Ministry of Justice regarding registration.

2. Immediate release of all political prisoners.

We hope that issue of sanctions will be decided taking into account suggestions put forward by Uzbek democratic opposition, and European Union will not sacrifice basic democratic values for the geopolitical interest and will make positive influence to the development of democratic process in Uzbekistan.

As always was the case, Party “Birlik” expresses readiness to cooperate with the corresponding structures of the European Union for the solution of all problems in the area of European Union - Uzbekistan relationship.

Abdurahim Polat
Chairman, Popular Movement “Birlik"
Party of Uzbekistan
Tel: 1-703-455-9053

Pulat Akhunov
Vice-chairman, Popular Movement “Birlik" Party of Uzbekistan
Tel: 46-42-229860