Russia will develop its ties with Uzbekistan, a key Central Asian country, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday at a meeting with his Uzbekistan counterpart Islam Karimov. “We esteem the potential of Uzbekistan\'s people, economy and natural resources. We’ve always treated and will treat Uzbekistan as one of the key countries in the region,” Putin said. Karimov congratulated Putin on his return to presidency and said Russia could always lean on Uzbekistan. On Tuesday Putin visited a summit of the post-Soviet Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) with the presidents of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. They discussed military and technological cooperation and discussed efforts to coordinate the foreign policy of the regional security organization’s member states. A new CSTO declaration was adopted. The meeting was Putin’s first multilateral international event since his May 7 inauguration as Russian president.