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Clare Short, the Secretary of State for International Development, is due to chair the annual meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), to be held in the central Asian republic of Uzbekistan in May. Uzbekistan is distinguished by human rights abuses on an epic scale. And yet it looks as if the meeting will go ahead with no real strings attached. This makes no sense at all. It amounts to a reward for (very) bad behaviour.

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