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Peres Visits Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres paid a three-day visit to the former Soviet states of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan earlier this month.

Arriving first in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, Peres remarked on parallels between the two countries.

“Like Uzbekistan, Israel is fighting fundamentalism, poverty and war,” he said.

Peres’ visit to Central Asia, where Islam is making a strong comeback, marked the first trip to the area by a high-ranking Israeli official since the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991.

His visit was not welcomed everywhere.

Iran, which has established generally friendly relations with a number of Muslim states of the former Soviet Union, blasted it.

In a commentary, Teheran Radio called Peres’ visit a symbol of a “holy alliance” between Communist leaders and Israel against Muslims in Central Asia.

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