Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has welcomed measures taken by official Tashkent in the semi-autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan.

On Monday July 4, Emomali Rahmon held phone talks with his Uzbek counterpart Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

The Tajik president’s official website says the heads of states discussed issues related to state and prospects of further expansion of bilateral cooperation between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in the light of the agreements reached during Tajik president’s official visit to Tashkent on June 2-3 this year.  

They reportedly also exchanged views on the regional security issues and cooperation between their countries within the frameworks of reginal and international organizations.  

Tajik president expressed support for the efforts taken by the Uzbek authorities to stabilize situation in the Republic of Karakalpakstan of Uzbekistan, the Tajik president’s official website noted.  

It is to be noted that Kazakh and Kyrgyz leaders have also welcomed measures taken by official Tashkent to suppress unrest in the semi-autonomous Karakalpakstan. 

Akorda, an official website of Kazakh president, says that during his phone talks with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev noted timeliness of Uzbek authorities’ decisions to ensure stability in Karakalpakstan.   

A message posted on Kyrgyz president’s official website says Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov noted yesterday afternoon during his phone talks with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev that the Kyrgyz side perceived the ongoing events in Uzbekistan with great concern.  

Japarov reportedly stressed that thanks to "timely, decisive and coordinated" actions, it was possible to ensure the normalization of the situation in Karakalpakstan and prevent its further escalation.

Karakalpakstan occupies a large but sparsely populated part of Uzbekistan.  The Republic of Karakalpakstan with a population of about 2 million people is located in the north-west of Uzbekistan and is the largest region of the country, occupying about 40% of its territory.  The republic is home to Karakalpaks, an ethnic minority group whose language is closer to Kazakh than Uzbek. 

Karakalpakstan has been in ferment for several days following reports that a proposed constitutional reform will deprive it of autonomy.

Uzbekistan reportedly has not seen such large shows of public discontent since the bloody unrest that unfolded in the city of Andijan in May 2005, when security forces crushed a large protest, leaving large numbers of people dead.

On July 1, the entire sections of Karakalpakstan’s capital, Nukus, were cordoned off by police because of the demonstrations. Shops, restaurants and malls had shuttered in an apparent measure of precaution. 

The Uzbek authorities say at least 18 people were killed and 243 injured during last week’s unrest in Karakalpakstan. 

Mirziyoyev on July 2 dropped plans to amend articles of the constitution concerning Karakalpakstan’s autonomy and its right to secede, a day after protesters reportedly tried to seize local government buildings in the worst bout of violence in nearly 20 years.

The president also declared a month-long state of emergency in the northwestern province home to Karakalpaks, an ethnic minority group whose language is closer to Kazakh than Uzbek.

Speaking on July 3, President Mirziyoyev issued stark warnings about the dangers of inciting separatist tendencies, says a statement issued by Uzbek president’s official website.

“Calls for separatism and mass riots will be firmly crushed in line with the current legislation. Those responsible for this will suffer inevitable punishment,” he said.