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TASHKENT: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was accorded an official welcome at the Kuksaroy Presidential Residence here on Friday in conjunction with his inaugural three-day official visit to Uzbekistan.

Anwar was received by Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev upon arrival at the presidential residence at 4 pm local time (7 pm Malaysian time) before both leaders introduced their ministers.

Anwar then paid a courtesy call to Mirziyoyev and held a meeting with the President.

During the one-hour meeting, the two leaders discussed relations between Malaysia and Uzbekistan as well as explored potential areas of cooperation.

They are also expected to sign a joint statement and hold a press conference.

Later in the evening, Anwar and the Malaysian delegation will attend an official dinner hosted by Mirziyoyev.

Earlier, the special aircraft carrying Anwar, who was flying in from Kazakhstan, landed at the Tashkent International Airport at 2.15 pm local time.

From the airport, Anwar went to the Independence Monument in Yangi Uzbekistan Park for a wreath-laying ceremony before proceeding to the presidential residence.

The Prime Minister is accompanied by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan, Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Mohd Na’im Mokhtar and the Malaysian Ambassador to Uzbekistan Ilham Tuah Illias.

The visit is aimed at enhancing bilateral relations in various fields between the two countries.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Anwar is visiting at the invitation of Mirziyoyev.

Uzbekistan is the last stop of Anwar’s official visit to three Central Asian countries. Anwar had earlier visited the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan.

On Saturday, the Prime Minister will visit the Imam Hazrati Complex here, where the original manuscript of the Caliph Usman Quran (Mashaf Uthmani) – the oldest in the world – is kept and displayed.

From Tashkent, he will travel to Samarkand, where he is expected to address the High-Level Uzbekistan-Malaysian Business Forum at the Silk Road Samarkand Tourism Complex.

Malaysia and Uzbekistan have enjoyed close relations since they established ties in 1992.

In 2023, Malaysia-Uzbekistan total trade was RM451.1 million (US$94.03 million), with exports to Uzbekistan amounting to RM449 million (US$93.6 million) and imports amounting to RM1.99 million (US$414,518).