British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has condemned the Uzbek government's crackdown on protesters in the city of Andijon.

Speaking Sunday on the BBC, Mr. Straw said there had been a clear abuse of human rights, and urged Uzbek officials to allow foreign observers and international aid groups such as the Red Cross to survey the situation.

The Associated Press says that an Uzbek foreign ministry statement called Mr. Straw's comments ill-informed.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov blamed regional extremists, including Afghanistan's Taleban, for the violence.

But the New York-based Human Rights Watch organization argues that the Uzbek government can not use the war on terror to justify shooting demonstrators protesting poverty and repression.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.