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France urges closer security ties with Uzbekistan after militant attacks

17 April 2017 11:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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REUTERS, 16th APRIL, 2017 - France and  Uzbekistan need to strengthen security cooperation in order to combat  jihadist groups and prevent violent attacks, French Foreign Minister  Jean-Marc Ayrault told Reuters on Saturday during a visit to the Central  Asian nation.

Suspected  Islamist militants from the mainly Muslim ex-Soviet region of Central  Asia have been blamed for two attacks this month: a metro bombing in  Russia’s second city, St. Petersburg, on April 3 and an attack in  Stockholm on April 7, where a truck rammed a crowd of people on a busy  street.

The Uzbek government said  this week it had informed one of its Western partners that Rakhmat  Akilov, the Uzbek national suspected of being behind the Stockholm  attack, was an Islamic State affiliate.

Ayrault,  who met Uzbek Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov and Foreign Minister  Abdulaziz Kamilov in Tashkent, said security was on the agenda, as well  as economic reforms and human rights.

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