TASHKENT -- Gen. Joseph L. Votel, the commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM), has concluded talks in Uzbekistan with the country's president and a number of Central and South Asian military leaders.
Votel on Thursday (February 21) attended the Central and South Asia Chiefs of Defence Conference in Tashkent.
Other participants included the chiefs or deputy chiefs of general staffs of the militaries of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan, as well as Uzbek Defence Minister Bakhodir Kurbanov, according to the Uzbekistan National News Agency.
Topics included multi-lateral military co-operation, the increase of threats and challenges in various regions, and a search for solutions to the Afghan war.
After the conference, Votel thanked Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and the Ministry of Defence for their hospitality.
"As the first partner nation in Central Asia to join US Central Command in hosting this conference, Uzbekistan is taking a vital role in advancing security and stability in Central and South Asia," he said in a statement published by the US Embassy on Friday.
"I also want to thank all of the participating nations of Central and South Asia for demonstrating their commitment to regional security and for continuing to advance dialogue and co-operation on addressing the threats to stability in the region," he said.
The military conference came one day after Mirziyoyev and Votel met to discuss a variety of bilateral issues, according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mirziyoyev said that "fruitful high-level negotiations" with US President Donald Trump during his visit to the United States last May "opened a new era of strategic full-scale partnership between the two countries".
"Multifaceted Uzbekistan-American relations are consistently strengthening, joint programmes and projects are being implemented in innovations, industry, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and others," the statement said. "The trade turnover in 2018 has doubled."
Mirziyoyev and Votel devoted "special attention" to expanding Uzbek-US military and military-technical co-operation, according to the ministry.
Votel expressed hope that the two countries would be able to form a strategy for strengthening their partnership and bringing about regional peace and prosperity.