First meeting of Uzbek democrats in Brussels was in Euro Parliament

Yesterday, Uzbek democratic opposition leaders — the chairman of «Erk» Party Samad Murod, the vice-chairmen of «Birlik» Party Pulat Okhun, Daynov Tashanov, Hamdam Sulaymonov, the chairman of Sirdarya regional organization of «Birlik» Party Isroil Rizaev and rights activist Anvar Karimov met with Pablo Bartolozzi and his advisors in Euro Parliament in Brussels. Pablo Bartolozzi is the chairman of Euro Parliament committee of the relationship with Kazakstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Mongolia. Despite his busy schedule, Paolo Bartolozzi arranged a 30 minute meeting in the evening. The conversation was so interesting to him and the congressman spent 1.5 hours with Uzbek democrats.

In the organization of this meeting participated the «Birlik» party activists Anvar Usmonov (Munich) and Dilshod Tillahojaev (Brussels).

According to previously achieved agreements, Pulat Okhun took initiative in this meeting and before crossing over to the main subjects of the meeting and said the following:

«Unlike the other oppositionists and human rights activists from non-democratic countries we did not come here to cry and shed tears. The fighting for democracy and promoting democratic processes in our country are the duty of the opposition itself. We are strong in our beliefs, we do everything possible in order to reach our goals. At this moment we need the help of the West, particularly OSCE and the EU. I mean, we are here with concrete problems to discuss.»

Paolo Bartolozzi instantly responded and said that he was impressed by the words of Pulat Okhun and agreed that it is not formal speech time. «I am personally ready concretely to help Uzbek democrats in any way. I believe, we will make steps forward from today on», he said.

The main subject of the meeting was the status of opposition in Uzbekistan and how process of registration of the «Birlik» Party was going on. At first, Polat Okhun handed to the hosts the report in English that is describing «Birlik» Party’s short history of relations with the current authorities trying to obtain official status and registration. Then he described in details the fight in obtaining «Birlik» legal status. Mr. Paolo Bartalozzi got surprised that «Birlik» was standing up on its feet in such a difficult time and having in the beginning stage 5 thousand, then 21 thousand members. He was surprised to learn that the party submitted to the Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Justice all necessary documents, that all the lawful and unlawful demands of the Ministry were fulfilled and that the case of unlawful rejecting of registration of Party was submitted to the Supreme Court. Paolo Bartolozzi tried to get better into the situation by asking detailed questions.

Completing this particular theme of discussion, Paolo Bartolozzi promised to officially ask the report from Uzbekistan government about the status of the «Birlik» Party and to closely work on this problem. As it became known, on September 6 of this year, EU-Uzbekistan collaboration meeting will take place in Tashkent. Paolo Bartolozzi expressed his wish to invite democratic opposition activists who are active in Uzbekistan and of course to invite oppositionists who met with him today.

Discussion also covered the human rights situation in Uzbekistan and intergovernmental problems in Central Asia arising from lack of water resources.

Uzbek democrats especially noted about the productivity of this conversation and thanked Paolo Bartolozzi for his valuable time and got his permission for delivery of official information about this meeting.

The Brussels meetings of the Uzbek democrats are to be continued.