UZBEKISTAN LOOKS WEST.

Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 37

President Islam Karimov stated yesterday that Uzbekistan as a "nonaligned" state rules out joining any bloc. Specifically, he expressed "disagreement with certain leaders" who seek to transform the CIS into a political-military alliance. At the same time, Karimov anticipated that Uzbekistan will intensify its cooperation with NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, including joint military exercises — an activity he termed "promising." Uzbekistan also aspires to "integration" with the European Union and other international organizations, Karimov asserted. He was speaking at a meeting with Latvian president Guntis Ulmanis in Tashkent. Karimov also endorsed Latvia’s bid to join NATO — an alliance which does not threaten anyone, Karimov said, implicitly distancing himself from Moscow on this point as well. (Interfax, BNS, February 20)

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