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U.S. Assistant State Secretary Starts Central Asia Visit

DUSHANBE -- U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Mike Hammer has started his trip to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe told RFE/RL on April 8 that Hammer arrived in the Tajik capital the previous evening.

The U.S. State Department's website says Hammer is expected to meet with journalists, government officials, civil society leaders, and students of public affairs during his stay in Dushanbe and Tashkent on April 7-15.

In Dushanbe, Hammer had plans to meet with the head of Tajikistan's State Communications Service and the Foreign Ministry spokesperson to discuss press and Internet freedom.

On April 9, Hammer will head to the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, where he will participate in a conference on government transparency and press freedom.