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Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 09:15 GMT 10:15 UK
Uzbekistan ready to help US

Uzbekistan says it is ready to discuss any form of co-operation with the United States in what it calls the struggle against international terrorism in the region.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bakhodyr Umarov, told the BBC that Uzbekistan would try its best to help the Americans.

But Mr Umarov would not comment on a suggestion in the Washington Post newspaper that this might include the presence of United States troops on Uzbek soil: He just said Uzbekistan was open to dialogue on the issue if asked.

Two neighbouring countries - Russia and Tajikistan - have said they will not allow Nato forces on their territory.

The Uzbek President, Islam Karimov, has been forthright in his condemnation of Taleban support for militants of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

Last year the movement staged armed incursions into Uzbekistan and wants to establish an Islamic state there.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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