Uzbek president Karimov cancels Czech visit
Uzbek President Islam Karimov has cancelled a planned visit to the Czech Republic, a spokesman for the Czech president’s office said on Thursday. The controversial Uzbek leader, who was set to arrive in Prague next week, asked Czech President Miloš Zeman to postpone the visit; the decision came after Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, other cabinet members and Prague City Hall officials refused to meet the Uzbek president. Mr Karimov, who has been in power since 1991, faces accusations of severe human rights abuses in his country. Earlier this week, a number of NGOs called on Mr Zeman to cancel the invitation. The president refused, arguing that Uzbekistan was an ally of the US in its fight against terrorism in the region.