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Uzbek, Kazakh Presidents Tout Ties As Mirziyaev Visits Astana

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev (right) meets with Uzbek counterpart Shavkat Mirziyaev in Astana on March 23.

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyaev has held talks with his Kazakh counterpart, Nursultan Nazarbaev, during his first trip to Kazakhstan since he came to power last year.

Nazarbaev said at the March 23 meeting that trade between the two biggest Central Asian economies had "intensified in the last five months thanks to measures undertaken by both sides."

"Thanks to Uzbekistan's new leadership, the volume of our trade increased by 30 percent in the last quarter of 2016," Nazarbaev said.

Mirziyaev, who was elected in December after becoming acting president following the announcement of longtime autocrat Islam Karimov's death in September, has taken steps to improve relations with neighboring former Soviet republics.

Nazarbaev stressed "the importance" of the two "brotherly" countries' cooperation. Mirziyaev said Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan "carry a great responsibility to preserve peace and stability in the region."

Nazarbaev said that 75 contracts worth almost $1 billion would be signed at a Kazakh-Uzbek business forum later on March 23.

With reporting by Kazinform and KazTAG
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