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Uzbek push for stronger ties may change face of Central Asia

Big diplomatic shift after past isolationism welcomed by region, world

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev speaks in Russia April 5, 2017.   © Reuters

SAMARKAND, Uzbekistan -- Uzbekistan's efforts to forge improved relations with its neighbors -- representing a sharp turnaround from its past isolationism -- could significantly increase Central Asia's influence on the international stage.

Earlier this month, Uzbekistan hosted an international conference on security in Samarkand, the country's second-largest city. During the two-day meeting, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed to regularly hold regional summit meetings among the five Central Asian nations.

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