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Uzbekistan Rejoining CSTO Not On The Agenda, Prime Minister Says

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Uzbekistan says it has no plans to rejoin a post-Soviet security bloc led by Russia, indicating the country’s policy would remain the same despite a leadership change.

“The question of renewing our CSTO membership is not on the agenda, Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov said in a televised interview on July 5.

There are no plans to discuss or review this matter in the future,” he added.

The CSTO is a Russia-led regional security group of former Soviet republics that also includes Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan.

Uzbekistan, which has had a rocky relationship with Moscow, suspended its membership in the bloc between 1999 and 2006 and then quit it altogether in 2012.

Some have wondered whether Tashkent would rejoin the grouping after longtime Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyaev was elected president in December 2016.

He replaced Islam Karimov, whose death was announced in September after more than a quarter-century of autocratic rule in the most populous former Soviet republic in Central Asia.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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