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Four Central Asian States To Cooperate On Minority-Education Issues

November 28, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- International representatives from all over the region gathered in the Uzbek capital today for a conference on minority education.

The forum brought together representatives from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the five republics of Central Asia, Russia, and Afghanistan.

Addressing the gathering, Uzbek Public Education Minister Turobjon Juraev cited his country as a model of social integration for ethnic groups who can receive education in the Qaraqalpaq, Russian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik, and Turkmen minority languages.

OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Rolf Ekeus announced in a statement released in Tashkent that Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan have agreed to launch a regular interstate dialogue and provice mutual assistance on issues of social integration and national-minority education.

Ekeus, who co-sponsored today's conference, is quoted as saying that he believed today's agreement will help "promote good neighborly relations" in Central Asia.

The four signatories agreed to establish four working groups, the first of which will meet in early 2007.