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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 December 2005, 23:03 GMT
Uzbeks allow Germany to keep base
By Catherine Davis
BBC News

Uzbekistan has agreed to allow German troops to continue to use the Termez military base near the Afghan border.

The agreement reached on Saturday in Tashkent means Germany is now the only Nato country allowed to deploy troops in Uzbekistan.

Last month the Uzbek government told several European countries they could no longer station troops in the central Asian state or use its airspace.

The United States had already been forced to hand back its base.

Uzbekistan has been an important hub for US-led operations in Afghanistan since late 2001.

Moscow-Berlin-Tashkent axis

But relations between the West and Tashkent have soured following international criticism of the way Uzbek forces suppressed mass protests in the city of Andijan in May.

Bodies in Andijan. File photo
Uzbekistan is under intense pressure over the Andijan killings

There has been no official explanation as to why Germany alone is able to retain its base.

One suggestion is that Moscow, to whom Tashkent has moved closer in recent months, also has strong relations with Germany.

Observers also point to the decision by the German authorities to grant the Uzbek interior minister a visa on medical grounds, despite the minister being one of 12 Uzbek officials banned from entering the European Union.


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