Uzbekistan is reportedly not going to lift Tajikistan visa regime

17/06/2015 10:42
Avaz Yuldoshev
Views: 16169

DUSHANBE, June 17, 2015, Asia-Plus  - Uzbekistan is not going to lift visa requirements for citizens of Tajikistan, an official source in the Tajik government told Asia-Plus in an interview.

“Uzbekistan is not going to lift visa regime for citizens of Tajikistan at the next meeting of Tajik-Uzbek intergovernmental commission for trade and economic cooperation that will take place in Tashkent from June 22-24,” the source said.

However, he believes that Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will reach an agreement on the resumption of the regular air communication between Dushanbe and Tashkent and bus services between cities of the two countries.

He further added that it could not be ruled out that Dushanbe and Tashkent would reach an agreement on resumption of Uzbek gas deliveries to Tajikistan and Tajik electricity deliveries to Uzbekistan.

“There ought not to anticipate singing of any cooperation documents during the upcoming meeting of the Tajik-Uzbek commission for trade and economic cooperation,” said the source.  “If the two sides reach an agreement on the mentioned issues, experts will begin preparing relevant draft agreements.”

A Tajik delegation that will participate in the upcoming meeting in Tashkent will be led by the First Deputy Prime Minister Davlatali Said and its members will include the Minister of Economic Development and Trade Neamatullo Hikmatullozoda, the Minister of Transport Sherali Ganjalzoda, the Minister of Industry and New Technologies Shavkat Bobozoda, the Deputy Foreign Minister Parviz Davlatzda, the Customs Service Head Fattoh Ghoib, Tajik Railways Director Komil Mirzoaliev and heads of Tajik Air (Tajik national air carrier) and Tajiktransgaz (Tajik state gas distributor).

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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