Uzbekistan, as a neighboring country of Afghanistan, values USA policy in Afghanistan very much because the United States presence in Afghanistan "is a stabilizing factor in the situation and prevents the advance of terrorism and extremism and radicalization ... as well as drug trafficking and crime and others serious challenges and threats".
"We want each of the nations in Central Asia to be independent and sovereign, not a supplicant or a vassal state of any other country in the region", said Pompeo while expressing Washington's support for Kazakhstan continuing its role as an impartial arbiter in the region who is not beholden to either Russian Federation and China.
In both Uzbekistan and its oil-rich neighbor Kazakhstan the day before, Pompeo brought up what he called China's "repression" of Muslims in Xinjiang.
China's troubled Xinjiang region, where more than a million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and other minorities are believed to have been incarcerated, borders Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. "Where religious freedom is protected, peace and prosperity flourish", Pompeo said. "The exact timing of those we're still coordinating with the Chinese government, but we anticipate that they will happen in the next handful of days and we'll return those American citizens". The brouhaha back in Washington between Pompeo and NPR brought heightened attention to the issue on his trip and his comments slipped from standard USA press freedom talking points into a defense of State's barring of an NPR reporter from the trip in a fashion more common to Central Asian politicians.
He added: "President Trump is very concerned about what we are going through". "We have all of the evidence right here, and we gave it it all to them".
Pompeo's recent trip took him to several countries with questionable records on press freedom.
The sister of an imam from Tarbaghatay's Sawen (Shawan) county, Akhatbal, said her brother was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment last month after initially being detained in a "political re-education" camp on March 8, 2018.
The woman, who gave only a single name Farida, said her brother is now serving the sentence at a prison in Tarbaghatay's Shikho (Wusu) city, and that she is very anxious about his health.
Turning to the issue of human rights, Pompeo said "every nation has to get this right for itself".
Pompeo also touted U.S. efforts to help Kazakhstan shield itself against the coronavirus outbreak, which originated in China, and praised the country's "quick action". "Any attempt to slander China and sow discord in friendly relations between China and the states of Central Asia is doomed to defeat", the embassy said in a statement on its website said.
While the ruling Chinese Communist Party initially denied the existence of the camps, Chinese officials later began describing the facilities as residential schools that provide vocational training for Uyghurs, discourage "radicalization", and help protect the country from terrorism. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.