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Uzbekistan Improving Relations With Israel

TASHKENT -- Uzbekistan has offered some 500 hectares of land to an Israeli agricultural development project in the drought-affected Karakalpakstan region, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

An Israeli company has also gained permission to establish a high-tech industrial park in a sign of increased bilateral ties.

Israeli Ambassador to Tashkent Hillel Newman told RFE/RL that Israeli President Shimon Peres plans to visit Uzbekistan but the date has not been set.

Initial interest in Uzbekistan was voiced by newly appointed Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman at a Norouz ceremony in Tel Aviv in March.

Newman said there is a will on both sides to enhance relations and that "building such a relationship will ensure that Uzbekistan is a good friend of a moderate camp."