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Central Asian Rivals Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan Hold Summit

Friday, April 25, 2008

Islam Karimov, the president of Uzbekistan, just completed his first official visit to Kazakhstan since September 2006. In a joint media appearance following talks with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Karimov noted that the two countries are the most influential states in Central Asia. He correctly observed that, "Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan may play a crucial role in solution of a number of principal matters, connected with the stability in the Central Asian region and prospects of its sustainable development."

Unfortunately, Uzbek-Kazakh relations have been characterized more by conflict than cooperation. Although Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have signed approximately 100 bilateral agreements since becoming independent in 1991, their relations have long been strained. The two countries, along with their presidents, have become perennial competitors for regional primacy. Uzbekistan boasts the largest population and strongest military, but Kazakhstan has the richest natural resources (especially oil) and most successful economy. ...

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