Tajikistan, Uzbekistan expected to hold bilateral political consultations this month

01/12/2015 13:01
Asia-Plus
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DUSHANBE, December 1, 2015, Asia-Plus – Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are expected to hold bilateral political consultations here from December 17-18.

“Co-chaired by deputy foreign ministers, Tajikistan-Uzbekistan political consultations will focus on state and prospects of further expansion of bilateral cooperation between the two countries,” an official source in the Tajik government told Asia-Plus in an interview.

According to him, a special attention will be paid to expansion of cooperation between Dushanbe and Tashkent within the trade and transportation sectors.

The two sides will also exchanged views on a number of international and regional issues being of mutual interest, the source added.      

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.

In the framework of agreements reached during talks between the presidents of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in Dushanbe in September last year, Tajikistan has sent a number of proposals to Uzbekistan on expansion of bilateral cooperation.

The Tajik authorities reportedly noted that resumption of regular air communication between Dushanbe and Tashkent and bus service between cities of the two countries would promote expansion of bilateral cooperation between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The air communication between Dushanbe and Tashkent was cut off in 1992.

Besides, the Tajik side has proposed to simplify visa requirements for citizens of both countries.

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.

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.  

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