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Uzbekistan (the Republic of Uzbekistan, RUz) is a country of Central Asia. It shares borders with Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kirghizia and Afghanistan. It has a coastline of the Aral Sea in the northwest. The total area is 447.4 thousand sq.km. The capital is Tashkent with a population of 2.3 million people. The head of state is the president < http: // www.scosummit2007.org/presidents_sco/ka rimov / >, elected for 4 years. The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan is Karimov I.A. < http: // www.scosummit2007.org/presidents_sco/ka rimov / > The supreme executive agency is the Cabinet of Minister headed by the Prime Minister, appointed by the President and approved by Oliy Majilis. The legislative agency is Oliy Majilis.

More than 100 nations and nationalities live in the territory of Uzbekistan. The population of the country is more than 26.5 million people (Uzbeks - 71.4 %, Russians - 8.3 %, Tajiks - 4.7 %, Kazakhs - 4.1 %, Tatars - 2.4 %, Karakalpaks - 2.1 %, others - 7 %). The state language is Uzbek. Russian is a language of interethnic dialogue. The monetary unit is Sum.

The Republic of Uzbekistan consists of the Karakalpak Autonomous Republic and twelve provinces (viloyats).

The climate is continental with little precipitation expected annually. Religion. Almost all Uzbeks are Sunii. Russians and other Slavic national groups confess Orthodoxy. There are also small Jewish communities. In 2006, the GNP increased by 7.3 % (the GNP totals about one billion).

Uzbekistan is rich in mineral resources, about 100 types of mineral resources found in its territory. The Republic is also a leader in production of gold. It ranks No.4 worldwide in terms of its explored reserves. Uzbekistan is one of the ten largest gas producers in the world. Other larger deposits of mineral resources include deposits of coal, uranium ore, nonferrous and rare-earth metals (silver, copper, lead, zinc, tungsten and molybdenum).

The major part of the Uzbekistan industrial potential remains associated with the agriculture and processing of cotton. Other important industries of the national economy include the metallurgy, motor industry, chemical, food-processing industry and manufacture of construction materials. The most important agricultural branch in Uzbekistan is the cotton growing. Besides, fruits, vegetables, grain (wheat, rice and corn) are raised.

From the VII century BC this territory belonged to the most ancient states - Bactria, Horezm, Sogdiana, Parthian Empire. In the VI-IV centuries BC, it was conquered by the Akhmenids and Alexander the Great, In the III-II centuries BC the territory belonged to the Salevkid State and Greek-Bactrian Empire, from the II BC until VIII AD - to the Kanguy, Ferghana, Tohar, Ephtalites, Kushan Kingdom, Turkic Kaganate, etc. In the VII AD this territory was conquered by the Arab Khalifat. In the successive years it witnessed anti-Arab national appraisals (Mukannes, etc.). In the IX-XII AD, the territory was included into the Empires of Samanids, Karahanids and Khoream, and in the XIII-XV - into the Timuride Empire.

In the XV century, the Uzbek Sheibanid Empire was established, in the XVI century - the Bukhara and Khiva Sates, and in the XVII century - the Kokand Khanate. In the 60-70-s of the XIX century a part of Uzbekistan joined Russia (Samarkand and partially Ferghana, Semirechenskaya and Syrdaryinskaya Provinces). In November 1917 - March 1918, the Soviet power won a victory here. A major part of the territory was included into the Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. On October 27, 1924, the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic was established. From 1925, it was a union republic of the USSR.

On August 31, 1991, the Law on State Independence was adopted. On September 1, 1991, the Republic of Uzbekistan was declared an independent state.