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NATO Warns Uzbekistan on Crackdown

NATO has warned Uzbekistan that its ties with the security alliance depend on its commitment to upholding basic human rights.

A NATO statement, issued Tuesday in Brussels, condemned the recent reported use of excessive force against protesters and supported the United Nations' call for an independent inquiry.

Witnesses, human rights groups and Uzbek political opposition activists say the crackdown in the eastern part of the country killed up to 1,000 people. But Tashkent puts the death toll at 169, including 32 soldiers.

Also Tuesday, Human Rights Watch called for the release of a prominent Uzbek human rights activist, Saidjahon Zainabitdinov, who was jailed following the clash.

Meanwhile, China today declared its support for the Uzbek government of President Islam Karimov, saying whatever happened in the country is an internal affair. President Karimov is to visit Beijing Wednesday.

Some informationfor this report provided by AFP.

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