Clinton Concludes Tour to South, Central Asia

Posted October 23rd, 2011 at 9:35 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has wrapped up a four-nation tour to South and Central Asia, where she met with regional leaders on issues including terrorism, economics and human rights.

During talks Saturday in Uzbekistan's capital, Tashkent, the secretary thanked President Islam Karimov for supporting U.S. troops in Afghanistan. But she voiced concerns on his human rights record and urged him to make reforms.

U.S. officials say Mr. Karimov, who has been accused of numerous rights abuses, pledged to make progress on democratization.

Clinton brought a similar message to Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon during talks in Dushanbe, and warned both leaders that their recent push to limit religious freedom could result in unrest.

The secretary also promoted the United States' “New Silk Road” plan, designed to increase trade and commerce among Central Asian nations.

Clinton's visit to the former Soviet nations followed visits to Islamabad and Kabul. She urged Pakistani officials to deny safe havens to Afghan insurgents, and to encourage the Taliban to enter peace talks in Afghanistan.