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Volume 501: debated on Wednesday 2 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the decision by the European Council not to renew the remaining restrictive measures against Uzbekistan as set out in the Common Position 2008/843/CFSP, with particular reference to the (a) sale, (b) supply, (c) transfer and (d) export of arms and related material to that country. (303379)

Many EU partners took the view that the sanctions against Uzbekistan had served their purpose. The sanctions would have expired by default on 13 November 2009 in the absence of consensus among member states to renew them. We supported the corresponding 2009 Council Conclusions—which maintain the need for progress in Uzbekistan and which contain a review mechanism— achieved that. We hope Uzbekistan will grasp this opportunity to work constructively with the EU and introduce further governance and human rights reforms. The UK stands ready to support that process. I underlined these points in a recent meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Ganiev.

Arms exports to Uzbekistan will still be controlled by consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria. The latter covers the export—including sale, supply and transfer—of military and dual-use rated goods. The EU criteria require an assessment of whether the goods might be used for internal repression.