Visiting U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon has met with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev in Tashkent.
The Uzbek Foreign Ministry says the sides discussed bilateral ties and international and regional issues at the meeting on March 26, before an international conference on Afghanistan that is to be held in the Uzbek capital on March 27.
Shannon also met with Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Komilov.
Representatives from more than 20 countries and international organizations will take part in the conference in Tashkent, including from the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, Pakistan, Iran, China, Russia, and Central Asian nations.
Mirziyoev was also due to meet with officials including Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Uzbek president's spokesman, Komil Allamjonov, said earlier on Facebook.
Delegations from four Central Asian countries, Special Representative for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto, special representatives to Afghanistan and Pakistan from the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy, a special adviser of the Japanese Foreign Ministry, a special envoy of the Qatari Foreign Ministry, and delegations from NATO, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, France, and the United Arab Emirates are expected to take part in the conference's work.
The U.S. State Department has said the Tashkent conference "will build on progress made at the February 28 Kabul Process Conference in a continued demonstration of international support for a peaceful political settlement in Afghanistan."
The conference comes on the heels of the so-called Kabul Process event held in the Afghan capital on February 28 in which Afghan President Ashraf Ghani proposed peace talks with the Taliban without preconditions.