U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake visited Uzbekistan November 9-10, 2010, his third trip since assuming his current position. Little information was provided from the U.S. Embassy about his talks which involved "a range of issues of mutual interests, including the security, political, economic and human dimensions of the U.S.-Uzbekistan relationship."
No doubt high on the agenda was the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), the transit system set up by NATO to enable delivery of non-military goods to the troops in Afghanistan via Central Asia. Uzbekistan's government website gazeta.uz reported last week that the national airline has increased freight 83 percent in 2009, mainly because of the increase in cargo sent through the Navoi International Airport. This is likely due to Uzbekistan's role in the NDN; in September 2009, President Karimov revealed that the Navoi airport would be used to handle cargo bound for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, EurasiaNet reported.
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Catherine A. Fitzpatrick compiles the Uzbekistan weekly roundup for EurasiaNet. She is also editor of EurasiaNet's Choihona blog. To subscribe to Uzbekistan News Briefs, a weekly digest of international and regional press, write email@example.com