UN chief hails Uzbekistan's efforts to assist civilians fleeing Kyrgyz unrest

09:51, June 17, 2010      

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UN Secretary-general Ban Ki- moon on Wednesday voiced his appreciation of the efforts by Uzbekistan to address the crisis in neighboring Kyrgyzstan, where 187 people were killed and some 2,000 others injured in the deadly inter-ethnic clashes in the south part of the country.

The Uzbek government estimates that around 75,000 people from southern Kyrgyzstan have crossed over the border since the clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks began last week.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Monday that about 80,000 ethnic Uzbeks have arrived in Uzbekistan, with about 15,000 waiting to cross.

During a brief airport stop-over in London on his way back to New York, the secretary-general spoke by telephone on Wednesday with President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan to discuss the crisis in Kyrgyzstan and the plight of ethnic Uzbeks, Farhan Haq, Ban's associate spokesman, told reporters here.

The secretary-general told the Uzbek president that he highly appreciated Uzbekistan's constructive efforts in addressing the alarming humanitarian situation in Kyrgyzstan, particularly in opening the border for refugees and providing for their care despite limited resources, Haq said.

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