A senior U.S. diplomat is paying visits to the Central Asian nations of Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake will travel on January 15 to the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, for talks with senior government officials.
Discussions are expected to be wide-ranging, touching on regional security issues, international investment in Turkmenistan, and human rights.
Blake is also expected to meet with civil society representatives while in Turkmenistan, which is regularly criticized for its poor human rights record.
On January 16, Blake travels on to Kyrgyzstan, home to an air base used by U.S. forces to ship supplies into Afghanistan.
With reporting by Interfax