Peace Corps Suspends Program in Uzbekistan

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 6, 2005 Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez announced today that the Peace Corps is suspending its program in Uzbekistan.

Recently, the visas of 52 Peace Corps volunteers and the Peace Corps country director expired and were not renewed. Because the Peace Corps was unable to ensure proper documentation from the Uzbekistan government, the Peace Corps has determined it necessary to suspend its program.

It is with regret that I make this announcement, but the Peace Corps only operates its programs in countries where it is invited by the host government and is able to provide proper documentation for each volunteer, said Director Vasquez.

The remaining Peace Corps volunteers have left the country and are returning to the United States. These volunteers have been serving their assigned communities for more than a year.

In 1992, the Uzbekistan government entered into a partnership agreement with the Peace Corps. Volunteers have been working in small business development, teaching English at the university, secondary and primary school levels, and focusing on improving the health of women and children in rural communities, as well as teaching HIV/AIDS education and prevention.

Peace Corps volunteers have served in Uzbekistan from 1992 until 2001. The Peace Corps program reopened in April of 2002 after a temporary suspension following the events of September 11, 2001. In total, more than 700 Americans have served honorably as Peace Corps volunteers in Uzbekistan.

Since 1961, more than 178,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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