Vice President Ansari arrives in Turkmenistan

April 4th, 2008 - 9:47 pm ICT by admin  

(Lead)

Ashkabat (Turkmenistan), April 4 (IANS) Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari Friday arrived here as part of his weeklong visit to the Central Asian republics of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. Ansari was received by Turkmenistan Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Rashid Meredov.

This is the first visit abroad by Ansari, a former career diplomat, after assuming office last year.

A high-level delegation, including Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed, members of parliament and senior officials, accompanied Ansari.

During the Turkmenistan leg of the visit, Ansari will hold delegation-level talks with the country’s president, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, who will also host a banquet in the vice president’s honour.

Ansari, who has served as India’s permanent representative to the United Nations and also as envoy to Saudi Arabia and Iran, among other countries, will also be visiting Mary, Turkmenistan’s fourth-largest city and a large centre for natural gas and cotton industries, the nation’s two major exports.

Ansari’s visit to Turkmenistan is the first by an Indian dignitary at this level in a decade.

In Kazakhstan, the vice president will meet Prime Minister Karim Massimov and chairman of the Senate K. Tokayev.

A number of speaking engagements have also been lined up for Ansari, including at the senate and the Kazakhstan University, which will confer a honorary doctorate on the vice president.

Ansari’s visit to the two countries will seek to bolster strong historical and cultural ties between India and Central Asia in the context of the larger strategic challenge of countering terrorism in the region.

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