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Russia, Uzbekistan Sign Strategic-Partnership Treaty

16 June 2004 -- Russia and Uzbekistan have signed a strategic-partnership treaty, with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Uzbek President Islam Karimov hailing it as a new stage in long-term relations.

"The strategic-partnership treaty between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Uzbekistan is indeed a new stage in building our bilateral relations, it is a natural result of our joint work in recent years," Putin said.

The agreement envisages cooperation in a range of economic sectors, as well as closer diplomatic and academic ties.

Also today, Russia's LUKoil company and Uzbekistan's Uzbekneftegaz signed a 35-year cooperation agreement that foresees about $1 billion of Russian investment to exploit natural gas fields in central Uzbekistan.

Putin, who arrived in Tashkent on 16 June, will also attend the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on antiterrorism efforts opening on 17 June.

The SCO groups together Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and China. Afghan President Hamid Karzai also is to attend as an observer.