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Uzbek authorities issue visa after meeting with Lubavitch

WASHINGTON, March 25 (JTA) — Uzbekistan has officially accredited a center run by the Lubavitch movement and has ended a visa crisis for the Chasidic group’s local rabbi. Following a meeting here last week between Lubavitch officials and the Uzbek foreign minister, Abdulaziz Kamilov, Rabbi Abba David Gurevitch received a full one-year visa. Gurevitch, who has been in Uzbekistan since 1990, had been receiving successive one-year visas until recently, when authorities issued him only temporary visas. The uncertainty endangered his mission, Lubavitch officials here said. Hailing the foreign minister’s swift action, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, director of the Washington office of the American Friends of Lubavitch said, “The permanence of the center will allow Lubavitch to pursue long-term humanitarian and Jewish education programs.” Jewish officials suspect that local infighting in the Jewish community and widespread corruption contributed to the visa problem.