TASHKENT -- Uzbekistan said Monday (January 9) it was cancelling plans to expand visa-free entry to the country this year, putting off a move seen as opening up the reclusive nation.
The Central Asian nation's government said in early December that citizens of 15 countries, including Germany, Britain and Canada, would no longer need visas to enter the country starting in April.
The move came days after the election as president of interim leader Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who took control after the death of Islam Karimov in September, and was interpreted as a sign of a potential thaw.
But the new visa regime -- which was also set to include visa-free travel for French citizens 55 or older -- will only come into force on January 1, 2021, according to a presidential order signed in late December but only published online Monday (January 9).
Neighbouring Kazakhstan earlier this month announced that it had lifted visa requirements for citizens of the European Union and OECD countries in a bid to boost investment and tourism.
President Nazarbayev and society are calling on Islamic authorities to provide continuing education for imams and scholars.
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