U.S President Barack Obama's administration has started legal procedures to enable the U.S. to provide Uzbekistan with limited military aid, CA-News reported U.S Deputy Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake as having said.
"We are in the process of using a temporary permit which will allow us to provide Uzbekistan with limited military assistance of a non-lethal nature. However we should closely consult with Congress. " Mr Blake said at a forum on U.S. national interests in Central Asian region in Washington on Wednesday.
The forum was organized by the Paul Nitze Institute of Central Asia and the Caucasus at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington.
"Everybody understands that this will be in our interests as it is necessary to support our troops," he said. "This is a limited permit for six months. I reiterate that we must submit a report to the Congress about what we do, how we use this money and what we do in other areas of our relationship with Uzbekistan."
Mr Blake's request for a six-month permit is included in the text of the budget bill on the appropriation for foreign transactions in 2012 that came into force in December 2011.
U.S. law prohibits spending any budgetary funds to provide Uzbekistan with military aid if the Secretary of State does not give a written authorisation 'for a period not exceeding six months, renewable for another six months until September 30, 2013' and does not confirm this permission in the interests of U.S. national security and is necessary to the U.S. to ensure access to and from Afghanistan..
According to the Silk Road news line, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided to use this resolution which was sent to the Congress along with a full package of supporting documents in mid-January.
According to the earlier spread reference to the U.S. State Department's budget request for the 2012 fiscal year under the section 'activity abroad', Obama's administration requested about $ 100,000 from the Congress for Uzbekistan within the 'foreign military financing' programme headed by the U.S. State Department and Pentagon.
'These funds will be used to transfer to the Uzbek Armed Forces non-lethal weapons to assist in ensuring the protection of U.S. military freight, going as transit through Uzbekistan and to Afghanistan', the budget reference said.
According to the Defence Security Cooperation Agency under the U.S. Defence Department which is responsible for the Foreign Military Financing Programme, its task is to provide grants for the purchase of U.S. military equipment, services and training, maintain regional stability as well as assist friendly countries and allies of the U.S. in strengthening their defence potential'.
The Administration also asked for an additional $300,000 under the International Military Education and Training programme for which the U.S. State Department and Pentagon are responsible.
"These funds will make it possible to finance training of Uzbek military officers with focus on such issues as human rights, civil control over the armed forces and other aspects concerning the relevant role of the Armed Forces in democratic society.
Training courses will make it possible to carry out preparation in accordance with international standards in area of human rights, civil control over armed forces and other aspects of a 'non-lethal' nature under the broadened International Military Education and Training programme, the budget reference said.
The U.S. hasn't provided military assistance to Uzbekistan since 2005 and in his speech Mr Blake stressed this assistance hasn't been yet resumed.
"We have not yet provided any military assistance to Uzbekistan under the Foreign Military Financing programme," the U.S. diplomat said sending a signal that the request of the administration over resuming this assistance will get support of congress.
"We had a lot of consultations both with the Senate and the House of Representatives led by myself with participation of colleagues from the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs of the State Department. We will continue to do it and highly appreciate the support Congress gave to this initiative," Mr Blake said.