U-S Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is in Uzbekistan to meet with President Islam Karimov today (Sunday). The visit is part of a whirlwind tour to discuss the U-S-led military campaign in Afghanistan.
The talks mark Mr. Rumsfeld's second visit in four weeks to Uzbekistan, where a base has been provided for one-thousand U-S troops. In October, Washington and Tashkent reached an agreement allowing the U-S military to operate from bases in Uzbekistan in return for U-S assurances to protect the former Soviet republic's security.
Saturday, Mr. Rumsfeld met with Tajik President Emomali Rahmonov and other officials in Dushanbe to discuss possible Tajik assistance in the war against terrorism.
Mr. Rumsfeld says no agreement was reached with Tajikistan, which shares a long border with Afghanistan. But Tajik Foreign Minister Talbak Nazarov says his country could allow U-S use of its airspace and an air field.
Saturday Mr. Rumsfeld flew to Tajikistan from Moscow, where he discussed Russian anti-terrorism assistance with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov.
The three men also discussed the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and possible bi-lateral cuts in their nuclear arsenals. Mr. Rumsfeld's trip was also aimed at laying the groundwork for the November 13th summit between Presidents Bush and Putin.
Mr. Rumsfeld leaves Tajikistan today (Sunday) for Pakistan and then India before returning to the United States.