Washington, May 17 (PTI): Uzbekistan assured the US of its continued support to the northern distribution network, which provides a crucial alternative route to Afghanistan and reduces American dependence on Pakistan for military supplies to the war-torn country, today.Also Read - President Xi Jinping Deploys Army After 13 People Killed in Massive Central China Floods

Uzbek President Shavkat Miromonovich Mirziyoyev “assured continued support” for the northern distribution network and its contribution to achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan, the White House said in a statement after he met President Donald Trump at the White House. Also Read - Mamata Banerjee to Visit Delhi During Parliament Session, Says 'Will Meet PM Modi If Appointment Given'

The two countries cooperate closely to secure the border with Afghanistan and to interdict the illicit movement of narcotics. Also Read - Donald Trump Seen Singing & Selling Ice-Cream in Pakistan; Oh Wait, That's His Doppelganger | Watch

During his visit, Mirziyoyev reaffirmed his full support for Trump’s South Asia strategy and discussed Uzbekistan’s initiatives to strengthen bilateral cooperation, share burdens, and address regional security issues, including stability in Afghanistan, the White House said.

Trump noted the historic partnership of the US with Uzbekistan in the fight against terrorism. In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US, Uzbekistan provided critical access and support to drive out al-Qaeda terrorists from Afghanistan, it said.

Highlighting the importance of a strong and independent Central Asia, Trump applauded Mirziyoyev’s efforts to convene Central Asian leaders for a cooperative dialogue, as discussed during the November 2017 Samarkand Conference.

Mirziyoyev joined other Central Asian leaders in March in Astana, Kazakhstan, opening new possibilities for intra-regional commerce and cooperative approaches to address security challenges.

Trump recognised Uzbekistan’s key role in this important dialogue and pledged the US’ support to cooperation and development through the C5+1 regional format. Both presidents expressed support for including Afghanistan in multilateral cooperation formats in Central Asia, the White House said.

Trump congratulated Mirziyoyev on the success of the 2018 Tashkent International Conference on ‘Peace Process, Security Cooperation and Regional Connectivity in Afghanistan’, which reaffirmed that the international community is united in its position that the Taliban immediately agree to peace talks with the Afghan government.

Both leaders “condemned cowardly terrorist attacks” against Afghan security forces and innocent civilians, and committed to expanding dialogue to overcome the challenges facing Afghanistan.

“Mirziyoyev pledged steadfast political support to the government of Afghanistan and discussed the December 2017 visit of Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where the two leaders signed a series of landmark agreements to increase trade and develop critical infrastructure,” the White House said.

Trump recognised the important role that Uzbekistan plays in regional economic development and praised its efforts to expand the development of trade and commercial ties with Afghanistan.

“He offered political support and planning consultations regarding Uzbekistan’s railroad and infrastructure projects in Afghanistan,” the statement said.

The two leaders condemned extremism and international terrorism, and vowed to strengthen cooperation against these common threats.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.