Thursday, August 16, 2012 -
The U.S. government is now stepping up attacks on the Uzbek government for revoking the licenses of Russia’s Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) this summer.
The U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe sent a strongly worded letter to Uzbek President Islam Karimov, warning him that the jailing of five MTS executives has a “chilling effect on foreign investment,” the Financial Times (FT) news agency reported Thursday.
The letter was issued just as U.S. Under Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake arrived in the Uzbek capital Tashkent for annual discussions with the Uzbek government.
The American government also warned Uzbekistan of a “deterioration in bilateral ties” if the issue with MTS were not resolved quickly.
Earlier this month, an Uzbek court upheld the decision to revoke all MTS licenses in the country, while fining the Russian firm hundreds of millions of dollars in fees incurred from the failure to pay taxes.
MTS says all charges brought by the Uzbek state are baseless.
Nine million Uzbeks have lost their mobile service provider as a result of the conflict between MTS and Uzbekistan.