Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov will discuss international and regional issues with Uzbek authorities during the forthcoming visit to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent. The visit will start on Wednesday. This information was disclosed by Alexander Yakovenko, the official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry. According to him, the regional military and political situation, as well as the situation in Afghanistan and ways to settle it will be at the top of the agenda during the negotiations. He added that "officials will also discuss the Russo-Uzbek cooperation in the sphere of assisting Afghanistan to become an independent and peaceful state and providing humanitarian aid to this country." The diplomat reported that the sides would also discuss ways to speed up bilateral and multilateral cooperation to combat international terrorism, extremism and drug crime. Russia and Uzbekistan "intend to emphasise the importance of strengthening regional cooperation to fight these challenges within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation," Yakovenko stated. The sides will also touch upon the issues of preserving and reinforcing strategic stability in the world, as well as those concerning disarmament and arms control. The visit is expected to end up in signing a Cooperation Programme between the Russian and Uzbek Foreign Ministries for 2002.