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Uzbekistan Criticizes Renewal of EU Sanctions

Uzbekistan's government Wednesday criticized the European Union's decision to maintain arms sanctions it imposed on the former Soviet state after a bloody crackdown on a 2005 uprising.

In a statement, Uzbekistan's foreign ministry called the EU's decision counterproductive and biased, saying it is not in the interest of both groups.

On Monday, EU foreign ministers renewed the arms embargo, but lifted visa restrictions on four of 12 Uzbek officials banned from traveling to Europe.

The EU sanctions were imposed two years ago after Uzbekistan rejected the EU's demand for an independent investigation into the crackdown in the town of Andijan.

Uzbek officials blame Islamic militants for violence that left 187 people dead in Andijan. Human rights groups say that up to 750 people died when Uzbek troops opened fire on anti-government protesters.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.