Tajikistan regards its partnership with Russia as essential for its domestic stability and developments in the entire Central Asia, said President Emomali Rakhmonov as he sat in conference with Gennadi Seleznev, Speaker of the State Duma, Russia's lower parliamentary house. Russian presence in Central Asia must increase and become more fruitful, stressed Mr. Seleznev, who is leading a Russian parliamentary delegation on a visit to Tajikistan, as he was summing up the conference for the media. Multiform intergovernmental contacts equally promote Russian and Tajik interests, while integration within the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Eurasian Economic Community demands parliamentary efforts stepped up to bring member countries' legislations into closer mutual conformity, agreed the conferees, as reported by Zafar Sayidov, press secretary to President Rakhmonov. Central Asian developments--in particular, Afghan settlement prospects--were among principal topics on the conference agenda, he added. Afghanistan urgently needs large-scale humanitarian relief and economic aid. It is of no smaller importance than political efforts to bring stability and affluence to Afghanistan, and help it to establish peaceful and friendly relations with the neighbouring countries, said President Rakhmonov. The United Nations must lead the work for final Afghan settlement, he emphatically added.
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