Trump to Meet Uzbek President, as well as also also Press for Human Rights
WASHINGTON — President Trump will welcome President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan to the White House on Wednesday, part of what his aides say can be an effort to launch a completely new era of partnership that has a country that will can be producing its first fitful turns away via authoritarianism.
Mr. Trump plans to raise issues of human rights as well as also also press freedoms, according to senior administration officials who previewed the visit on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to be identified in discussing that will.
Administration officials described the meeting as a calculated effort to forge an early alliance that has a former Soviet state in a strategically vital location north of Afghanistan in order to encourage its recent moves toward greater political as well as also also economic openness. These officials said they had a window of opportunity to prod Uzbekistan — a rare bright spot of change in a region rife with repression — toward greater progress as well as also also closer cooperation with the United States.
They said Mr. Trump also would certainly use the meeting to press Uzbekistan to support American operations in Afghanistan, develop closer security ties with the nation, improve cooperation on combating terrorist threats in Central Asia as well as also also boost the country’s efforts to diversify as well as also also expand its economy.
The officials conceded that will Uzbekistan, which can be inside midst of what some observers have called an Uzbek Spring following the death 18 months ago of its iron-fisted leader, Islam Karimov, still features a long way to go in improving its human rights record.
yet they praised Mr. Mirziyoyev for releasing political prisoners, eliminating systematic child labor as well as also also loosening controls on the press, including the Discharge last week of Bobomurod Abdullaev, a freelance journalist who was detained in September by Uzbekistan’s National Security Service. Mr. Abdullaev’s wife as well as also also lawyer have said he was tortured before being charged with “conspiracy to overthrow the constitutional regime.”
Three days after Mr. Abdullaev’s Discharge, the White House announced that will Mr. Mirziyoyev would certainly be producing a “historic” visit to meet with Mr. Trump. that will week, administration officials also said they counted that will as a not bad sign that will Uzbekistan granted credentials to the Voice of America, a United States-government news outlet. yet the Uzbek government can be still tightly restricting press access; on Monday, that will denied a visa to a completely new York Times reporter who had been invited by the Nukus Museum, which houses an important collection of Russian art there.
Hours before the meeting on Wednesday, the White House announced that will news media would certainly be allowed to witness part of the Oval Office session between the two presidents, which was initially scheduled to be closed to the press. yet the leaders were not planning to hold a news conference to field questions via reporters, as foreign leaders typically do when visiting the American president.
American officials said the administration will push the Uzbek government during the visit to drop restrictions on the right of religious groups to assemble, a point that will will be pressed at the meeting by Sam Brownback, the American ambassador at large for international religious freedom.
Human rights groups see the visit as an opportunity for the Trump administration as well as also also Congress to pressure Uzbekistan to Discharge thousands more political prisoners as well as also also overhaul its laws as well as also also legal system, scrapping charges of “extremism” that will have been used to punish dissenters.
“We are heartened to see the Discharge of long-held activists,” Nadejda Atayeva, president of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, said in a statement released by a dozen human rights groups in advance of the visit. “To ensure lasting change, the repressive legal framework used to persecute as well as also also imprison peaceful activists as well as also also religious believers on ill-defined charges of extremism for so many years should be changed for not bad.”