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Tashkent reportedly says nothing over Malaysia Airlines plane crash in Ukraine

Bishkek (AKIpress) - mh17_crash_aap Official websites of the President's Administration of Uzbekistan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Uzbek Embassies in Malaysia, Russia and Ukraine have not released a single statement about the passenger jet which was downed on 17 July, UzNews reported.

The Uzbekistan Government has not attempted to express condolences or make a neutral statement about the necessity for a a comprehensive and through investigation into the causes of the accident, the publication continued.

An expert from the Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies speaking anonymously has explained what the Government thinks about this issue and why it is resisting stating its opinion.

“There is no general, official stance on this topic. The majority at the top tend to lean to the explanation supported by the West. However, I do not know what the President himself thinks,” the source said.

He also made it clear that if Uzbekistan does issue a statement about the causes of the Boeing crash and its investigation, the statement will not be pro-Russian. “Today, Tashkent maintains its previous position on the Crimea referendum. As always, Tashkent balances between the West and Russia, but to support Russia now means to support Ukrainian separatists.”

On March 4, the news agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Jahon – issued a statement about the situation in Ukraine. The Ministry stated its concerns about the threat to Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Uzbekistan is disturbed by the presence of a separatist movement in Ukraine, as there is the potential for a separatist rebellion in Uzbekistan itself.

The main threat for Tashkent is the escalation of separatist ideas in Karakalpakstan, an autonomous republic within Uzbekistan.

“The Crimean separation from Ukraine has stirred up the west of Uzbekistan, where the dream of independence is sleeping but not dead,” the expert noticed.

The Crimean situation has inspired activists of the unofficial party of National Revival “Erkin Karakalpakstan” (Free Karakalpakstan), and the potential victory of the rebels at the south-east of Ukraine will give them additional drive.

The last visible action of the Erkin Karakalpakstan occurred five-to-six years ago, when they approached the media and international organizations, calling for a referendum on independence for Karakalpakstan.

The party's leader, Ernazar Konyratov, stressed Karakalpak's distress caused by the genocidal policy of Tashkent.

Revival of the separatist idea in Karakalpakstan triggered by the situation in Ukraine can inflame similar beliefs not only among Karakalpaks (who are ethnically closer to Kazakhs than to Uzbeks), but also among the Samarkand Tajiks.

“Uzbekistan will never issue a statement which can be interpreted as supportive to separatists in the the Ukrainian south-east. It will not do so, even if faced by a serious cooling in political and economic relations with Russia,” the source added. “Tashkent will politely remain silent, allowing the involved parties solve their own problems.”


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