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Russian Foreign Minister In Uzbekistan For Talks

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is starting an official two-day visit to Uzbekistan to discuss security and trade.

Lavrov's agenda on December 17 includes a meeting with his Uzbek counterpart, Abdulaziz Kamilov.

The two are expected to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan's neighbor to the south, and how the planned withdrawal of the bulk of foreign forces in Afghanistan by the end of 2014 could impact security and stability in Central Asia.

Russian media say Lavrov may meet with Uzbek President Islam Karimov, but the reports did not say that meeting was certain.

Russian ties with Uzbekistan have been weakening recently as Tashkent has been improving its ties with Western countries involved in Afghanistan.

In June, Uzbekistan pulled out of the Russian-led CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and Interfax