Back in May I wrote about the Uzbekistan regime gunning down hundreds of demonstrators in the street. Today the Economist eviscerates the international community for its reaction saying:
That was three months ago. Since then, the European Union and America have expressed their horror at the worst massacre of demonstrators since Tiananmen Square by imposing the following sanctions on Uzbekistan:
In other words, they have done sod all. The European Union takes a particular bashing, but I suppose they have had their hands full dealing with the Chinese bra and t-shirt crisis.
A former member of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan is a part of the widest of Europe's concentric circles. It is a member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and it has a partnership and co-operation agreement (PCA) with the EU. So there is some justification in allowing Europe, with its famous common foreign and security policy, to take the lead.
If so, the European Union has risen to the occasion as grandly as it did over Bosnia, Iraq and on so many other occasions: with a display of spinelessness worthy of a sea full of jellyfish. First, in June, it demanded that Uzbekistan submit to an international investigation to determine precisely what happened in Andijan. Failure to comply by July 1st, it terrifyingly threatened, might lead to a �partial suspension� of the PCA. Some countries wanted to go so far as to threaten a visa ban for (some) Uzbek officials and possibly even an arms embargo�but that was reckoned to be a bit too tough.
July 1st came and went, as did August 1st. Still the EU has done nothing.
I suppose I can take the advice of Craig Murray - the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan and write to my MP to call for free elections in Uzbekistan, and demanding that Britain stops terming Karimov's murderous regime our "ally", but I did find her response when I wrote earlier this year about "incitement to religious hatred" deeply unsatisfying. She's now the PPS to the Minister of Defence though, maybe as John Reid's bag carrier she can at least be ashamed about things like the photo of the UK Defence Advisors assisting with defence reform in Uzbekistan on page 28 of this MOD/ Foreign Office document.