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Senior U.S. Diplomat To Visit Uzbekistan

U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon (file photo)

A senior U.S. diplomat is due to visit Uzbekistan in the coming days, the State Department says.

Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon will travel to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on March 25-27, it said in a statement on March 22.

Shannon is scheduled to meet with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev and Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov.

Shannon will discuss with the two Uzbek leaders "the progress made under President Mirziyoev's reform agenda, reaffirm support for Uzbekistan's initiative and valuable contributions to leadership in the region, and underscore the United States' commitment to stability in Uzbekistan and throughout the region," the statement said.

Mirziyoev has taken steps to improve Uzbekistan's ties with its neighbors since he became president after authoritarian President Islam Karimov died in September 2016.

During Karimov's 27-year rule of Central Asia's most populous country, its relations with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan were strained by disputes over transit routes, border security, water resources, and other issues.

Shannon will also lead the U.S. delegation to the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan.

The 21 delegations at the conference, hosted by the Uzbek government, "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 statement said.