Russia Calls on Uzbekistan to Resolve MTS Mobile Issue

Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin stepped into a dispute between Tashkent and Russian mobile firm MTS’ Uzdunrobit subsidiary on Tuesday, calling for Russia and Uzbekistan to resolve the problem.

Karasin made his statement at a meeting with Uzbek Ambassador to Moscow Ziyadulla Pulatkhodzhayev.

“The Russian side stressed this problem is becoming ever more acute and it is necessary to reach a mutually acceptable decision as soon as possible,” the Russian Foreign Ministry’s press office said.

The Uzbek Communications and Information Technology Agency suspended Uzdunrobit’s license on July 17, initially for 10 working days, for what it said where “repeated and systematic gross violations, and also for failure to comply with the regulator’s directions.”

The order came into force on the same day. The Tashkent Commercial Court extended the license suspension for another three months on Monday, citing Uzdunrobit’s failure to comply with the regulator’s directions.

The management of MTS, one of Russia’s top three mobile phone operators, said the license suspension was illegitimate and sent an official appeal to Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov to clarify the situation and settle the conflict with its subsidiary.

In late June, the Uzbek Prosecutor General’s Office opened a criminal case against a group of Uzdunrobit officials, accusing them of numerous gross violations of law and widespread use of illegal tax evasion schemes.

MTS claimed violations of Uzbek law were made during an inspection of Uzdunrobit, and has applied to the republic’s authorities for help.


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