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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 May, 2005, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
Uzbek media continue to play down unrest
Uzbek President Islam Karimov
Coverage of the unrest has been limited to Karimov's comments

Uzbek state TV and radio are continuing to limit reports on the aftermath of unrest in the east of the country.

President Islam Karimov's press conference, in which he blamed the violence on criminals trying to overthrow the government, has been aired repeatedly.

But aside from this, the country's broadcasters have been showing their normal scheduled programmes - including classical music concerts and documentaries.

Foreign TV news programming available by cable, including CNN and the BBC, remains unavailable in the capital, Tashkent.

'No grounds for concern'

The Uzbek authorities have commented on the unrest to some media in the region.

The country's presidential press service told Russia's Itar-Tass news agency that the situation had returned to normal. "There are no grounds for concern," it said.

It denied reports that troops were on high alert and that roadblocks had been set up.

But the website Ferghana.ru, a Russian-language site which provides up-to-date reports from the region, told a different story.

"The central square in Andijan in front of the building of the regional administration and the main Navoiy Avenue are cordoned off by servicemen carrying assault rifles and about 15 armoured vehicles," it said

"All side streets leading to the city centre have been blocked by patrols," it added.

There are also conflicting reports from the region over who was responsible for the unrest.

The Ferghana.ru website interviewed a former member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) who said the militant group could have been behind the clashes.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointed the finger at "various groups from this region, from Afghanistan, from the Taleban camps".

In an interview with Itar-Tass he said the situation in Uzbekistan "causes concern, but Moscow is counting on the situation being resolved favourably".

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.




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