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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Uzbeks Sign Partnership For Peace

BRUSSELS -- The Central Asian state of Uzbekistan became the 22nd country to sign NATO's partnership programme Wednesday.

Uzbek Foreign Minister Saidmukhtar Saidkasimov told reporters after signing the Partnership for Peace document that he hoped it would encourage a climate of peace.

"We hope this will strengthen peace and stability both in Central Asia and in Europe," he said.

NATO Deputy Secretary General Sergio Balanzino said dialogue between the 16-nation alliance and Central Asian states was an important element for fostering security and stability in the Eurasian area.

"Building a stable security environment in this region is a common task which we can fulfil only by joining our efforts," Balanzino said.

A NATO delegation is expected to visit Uzbekistan on July 21 to hold discuss a future relationship between the alliance and the Central Asian state. Balanzino said the Uzbek government had shown particular interest in gaining NATO's help with training officers.