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SAMARKAND, September 6 /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Uzbekistan expressed his attitude to the nation and its late President Islam Karimov, Uzbek Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev said.
"Your visit today to Uzbekistan speaks volumes. We are extremely grateful to you for that. It is the shoulder of a true friend lent during times of trouble when the republic is grieving for its first President Islam Karimov," the Uzbek prime minister said at a meeting with Putin.
The Uzbek prime minister said he was grateful to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev who attended Islam Karimov’s funeral on Monday.
"Yesterday, we all watched the interview you gave in China and heard what you said about our much esteemed (late President) Islam Abduganiyevich (Karimov). You were right when you said that over the years (that he was in power) Uzbekistan and Russia had built solid ties," Mirziyoyev said.
He added that Uzbekistan had always regarded Russia as an ally and a strategic partner.
"I think that everybody knows that. Islam Abduganiyevich (Karimov) also thought that way. We will continue developing up our relations. The nature of our relations with Russia and our foreign policy have always been strategic," the Uzbek prime minister said adding that the two countries would continue strengthening the bridge of friendship, which Vladimir Putin and the late President Karimov had built for years.
"Your visit today to Uzbekistan reflects your personal attitude to our much revered president (Islam Karimov) and to the people of Uzbekistan. Today, people in Tashkent, Samarkand and elsewhere around the country are saying with pride that your visit and your arrival are worth a lot," the Uzbek prime minister stressed.