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Uzbek, Turkmen Leaders to Attend ECO Summit in Tehran

Turkmen president Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov and his Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov will attend a summit of the Economic Cooperation Organisation, ECO, summit that opens in Tehran on March 10.

The summit will focus on regional cooperation in coping with the effects of the global economic crisis.

Apart from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, the ECO members are Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Turkey.

The financial crisis does not appear to have directly hit the Uzbek and Turkmen economies yet, because they are so isolated from the rest of the world. But both governments are concerned about the potential impact and have taken measures to mitigate this.

Last year, the Turkmen government established a reserve fund for this specific purpose, while the Uzbek authorities produced an anti-crisis plan consisting of measures to protect the private sector and investors.

These two hydrocarbon-rich Central Asian countries have recently started opening up more to the world, focusing on economic policy, and becoming more amenable to regional cooperation.