New meeting of Rahmon and Karimov in Tashkent – new hopes

02/06/2016 10:13
Asia-Plus
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DUSHANBE, June 2, 2016, Asia-Plus -- Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has confirmed his participation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit that will take place in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, from June 23-24.

A reliable source at the Tajik government says they are currently working out the issue of organization of bilateral talks between Emomali Rahmon and his Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov on sideline of the upcoming SCO summit.

Tajik president has reportedly expressed readiness to hold talks with Uzbek leader.

Legal foundation of bilateral relations between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan includes more than 100 cooperation agreements determining the main principles of bilateral relations.

We will recall that Tajik President Emomali Rahmon held talks with his Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov in Dushanbe on September 10, 2014 on the sideline of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit.  Both presidents declared for expansion of friendly and good-neighborly relations between their countries.

It was the first visit of Uzbek president to Tajikistan since 2008.  In August 2008, Islam Karimov visited Dushanbe to attend the SCO summit.  Rahmon and Karimov also held talks in Tashkent in June 2010 on sideline of the SCO summit.

Tajik and Uzbek leaders meet rarely because of disagreements over use of regional water-and-energy resources.

Relations between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are currently strained because of the former’s plans to build the Roghun hydroelectric power plant (HPP).  Tajik authorities believe that the Roghun dam is solution to many problems Tajikistan faces today, including frequent electricity shortages during winters.

The Roghun HPP could generate both enough electricity to provide for Tajikistan’s population and enough excess to export to Pakistan, Afghanistan, or China.

Uzbekistan is downstream country and its authorities consider that Tajikistan will use the dam as a means of leverage to pressure Uzbekistan in the many political disputes between the two countries.

Uzbekistan has halted natural gas supplies to Tajikistan.  Uzbekistan reportedly uses the energy arm to curb Tajikistan in the Roghun Dam dispute.

However, Tajik-Uzbek relations have begun to thaw after a long chill.  Uzbek enterprises are reportedly seeking partners for cooperation in Tajikistan and a two-way trade between the two countries is increasing.

Political consultations between the foreign ministries of the two countries took place in Dushanbe in December last year. 

Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Aslov met with his Uzbek counterpart Abdulaziz Komilov in Tashkent on sideline of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers in Tashkent on May 24.  The two discussed state and prospects of further expansion of bilateral cooperation between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.    

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