U.S. CONGRESSMEN, UZBEKISTAN OFFICIALS TO DISCUSS AFGHAN DEVELOPMENTS

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TASHKENT, January 31 (RIA Novosti correspondent Valery Niyazmatov) - A delegation of U.S. Congress, which arrived in Uzbekistan's capital of Tashkent yesterday, will meet the host country's Foreign Minister Sadyk Safayev on February 1, reported the Uzbek foreign ministry.

The agenda of the upcoming meetings in Tashkent is dominated by issues of Uzbekistan-US relations, the development of inter-parliamentary contacts, regional security and Afghanistan developments.

"Relations with the United States are a priority area in Uzbekistan's foreign policy. Uzbekistan will continue developing cooperation with the US on an entire spectrum of bilateral issues, i.e. political, economic and military-technological issues," the ministry press spokesman told RIA Novosti.

Uzbekistan is grateful to the US authorities for financial aid, he noted. "In 2002-2003 alone, the U.S. granted $420 million to Uzbekistan," he added.

The United States is among 10 leading trade partners of Uzbekistan. Bilateral commodity turnover over 10 months of 2003 reached $312.5 million.

At the outset of the US-led anti-terrorist campaign in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan allowed the U.S. and allied forces to deploy an airbase at its territory.

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