A year after the tragic events in Andijan in May 2005, it can be stated that these events turned out to be a serious test of the strength of diplomatic relations between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
The biggest problem for the new authorities in Kyrgyzstan turned out to be refugees from the Andijan region of Uzbekistan. No one knew what to do with them. No one knew exactly how many of them. Figures varied depending on who voiced them. According to various estimates, the number of refugees was from five hundred to seven thousand people.
The new government of the Kyrgyz Republic, which was hastily formed after the events of March 24, 2005, and which led to the resignation of ex-President Akayev, experienced unprecedented diplomatic pressure from the countries of the European Union, the United States, Russia and Uzbekistan. Each of them offered his only way to solve the problem situation around the refugees.
But, out of harm's way, the new leadership of Kyrgyzstan refused to grant refugee status to citizens of Uzbekistan who were in the country. The governments of the European Union and the United States reminded the Kyrgyz president about the international agreements and conventions on the rights of refugees signed by Kyrgyzstan. But, the Bakiyev-Kulov government was in no hurry to solve this problem in favor of Western countries, knowing full well that at the very beginning of their own rule they needed to maintain good diplomatic relations with their close neighbors. But, at the same time, the government provided the necessary humanitarian assistance to the refugees.
It should be recalled that then, in Kyrgyzstan itself, the political situation was far from ideal. The country was still in a state of mild anarchic euphoria from the events of March 24, 2005.
It is symbolic that a month before these events in April 2005, the government of Uzbekistan for the first time (!) Provided large-scale humanitarian aid to the southern regions of Kyrgyzstan in the form of fertilizer seeds, fuels and lubricants in the amount of 60 cars. There has not been such a wide gesture by official Tashkent against Kyrgyzstan.
Quite a few documents and pacts “on eternal friendship and cooperation” have been signed between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, but in fact diplomatic relations are far from ideal. From time to time, the parties exchange mutual claims on cross-border and gas issues. At the same time, checkpoints on the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border on both sides are speaking the name, such as "Dostuk \ Druzhba", "Yntymak \ Consent" ...
Another, rather, serious problem was the official statements of the top officials of Uzbekistan about the involvement of the citizens of Kyrgyzstan in the events in Andijan, and even more so, that the people who organized the insurgency in Andijan allegedly underwent training on the territory of this country. Hot on the heels of the Andijan events, Uzbek President Islam Karimov highlighted the fact that a revolt in Andijan was being prepared from the outside. And the fact that “the man with whom the talks were being held in Andijan and who was in the seized building of the city’s administration hid in Kyrgyzstan together with his accomplices,” stressed the head of state Karimov.
In its report on the Andijan events, the General Prosecutor’s Office of Uzbekistan openly talks about the preparation of 70 participants in the Andijan insurgency in the Osh and Jalalabat regions of Kyrgyzstan. At the trial in Andijan, in the fall of 2005, several citizens of Kyrgyzstan also found themselves in the dock. The relatives of the detainees even held two press conferences at the information-analytical bureau Akipress-Fergana in Osh, in June 2005, in defense of their relatives. Official Kyrgyz authorities were demonstratively neutral.
As for the report of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Uzbekistan on the Andijan events, the former General Prosecutor of Kyrgyzstan Azimbek Beknazarov called such statements of his colleagues from Uzbekistan absurd. Moreover, stressing that the power structures of Kyrgyzstan, together with their colleagues from Uzbekistan, could not find confirmation of the statements of the prosecutor’s office of the neighboring state.
It is noteworthy that when Beknazarov was the republic’s prosecutor general, international humanitarian organizations blamed the Kyrgyz government for extraditing refugees to the Uzbek side. The Foreign Ministry of Kyrgyzstan rejected such statements, but as it has now become known, there have been cases of the extradition of refugees.
The desire to maintain good diplomatic relations with neighboring Uzbekistan put official Bishkek in a deadlock. On the one hand Tashkent, and on the other Western Europe and the USA. Official Tashkent as pressure on Kyrgyzstan used the “traditional” method - the gas problem. Uzbekistan in July 2005 unilaterally terminated the previously signed intergovernmental agreement on gas supplies to the country. Although, at the same time, the government of Uzbekistan emphasized that there is no connection with the Andijan events. But, be that as it may, the contract was terminated after a decision was made on the humanitarian evacuation of refugees from Kyrgyzstan to Romania. That is why the Kyrgyz government made almost a “Solomon decision”, giving the international humanitarian organizations, the US government and the European Union, to solve this problem on its own without its participation. As a result, an unprecedented humanitarian action was undertaken with the help of American military forces stationed near Bishkek to transport 443 refugees to Romania. Some of them have already been granted political asylum in Sweden, Denmark and Germany.
Commenting on the Andijan events in Uzbekistan, timid attempts were made in the Western media to draw parallels between the events in March in Kyrgyzstan and in May in Uzbekistan, dubbing them the so-called color revolution in the region. In the West, there was a great temptation to make another “revolution”. To this, the executive secretary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Zhang Deguan, stated that “it’s impossible to conclude from the one incident in Andijan and the change of power in Kyrgyzstan that the situation in the Central Asian region is unstable. I do not think that Central Asia is in a state of chaos. I am deeply convinced of this. ”
The head of the Uzbek state, Karimov, said that “the essence is not how to name these revolutions -“ tulip ”or“ orange ”. I would call them just operations. These operations are most unceremoniously and with impunity carried out on the territory of the CIS ”. According to the Uzbek leader, the scenario of the Andijan events was supposed to be a repetition of the events in Bishkek on March 24, but in a worse version.