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Chief U.S. Diplomat To Begin Central Asia, Afghanistan Tour

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (file photo) 10 October 2005 -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to depart Washington today to start a tour that will include stops in Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan.

Rice is due in Bishkek tomorrow, where she is scheduled to meet with Krygyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev.

Rice is then scheduled to fly to Afghanistan for talks in Kabul with President Hamid Karzai. She will then travel to Kazakhstan and then to Tajikistan, before ending her regional tour on 13 October.

Dan Fried, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasian affairs, told reporters yesterday that the United States is not interested in what he called a "one-dimensional relationship" with any of the countries Rice will visit. Fried said U.S. regional interests include help in the fight against terrorism and Islamic extremism, as well as the development of democracy and economic reforms.


For more on news in the region, see RFE/RL's Central Asia In Focus page.