MOSCOW (AP) — Kazakhstan's interim president is making his first foreign visit since being appointed two weeks ago, meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, formerly the speaker of the upper house of Kazakhstan's parliament, was named the country's leader after the unexpected resignation of Nursultan Nazarbayev, who had been in power since the country became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Tokayev is likely to continue Nazarbayev's strategy of maintaining close relations with Russia while still cultivating Western countries.

Tokayev called his nation's ties with Russia "a model relationship" at the meeting Wednesday and says "my task is to make sure this strategy remains in place."

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