Uzbek President Mirziyaev In Turkmenistan On First Foreign Trip

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyaev has arrived in Turkmenistan on his first official foreign trip since taking office in December.

Mirziyaev met with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov at the Oguzhan presidential palace in Ashgabat on March 6 to discuss bilateral ties, state media in the two tightly controlled Central Asian countries reported.

During his two-day visit, Mirziyaev is expected to visit the eastern city of Turkmenabat, along the Turkmen-Uzbek border, to attend the opening ceremony of a memorial complex honoring the late Uzbek President Islam Karimov.

Mirziyaev, prime minister for 13 years, became acting president after long-ruling autocrat Karimov's death was announced last September. He was elected in December.

Mirziyaev has talked of improving ties with the other former Soviet republics in Central Asia and has taken some steps in that direction.

The Uzbek president's visit to Turkmenistan came a week after Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan on a Central Asia trip but bypassed Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

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