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tajikistan

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  TAJIKISTAN

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km)
143,100

Population
5,751,000

Principal
ethnic groups

Tajiks 62.3%
Uzbeks 23.5%
Russians 17.6%

Capital
Dushanbe

Currency
Tajik Rouble

President
Imamali Rahmonov

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Background:
Tajikistan has experienced three changes in government and a five-year civil war since it gained independence in 1991 from the USSR. A peace agreement among rival factions was signed in 1997, and implementation reportedly completed by late 1999. Part of the agreement required the legalization of opposition political parties prior to the 1999 elections, which occurred, but such parties have made little progress in successful participation in government. Random criminal and political violence in the country remains a complication impairing Tajikistan's ability to engage internationally.

UPDATE January 2002

The Tajik republic is having a wonderful war. Its foes, the Taleban, have been routed, its allies in the Northern Alliance are in the ascendant and the US are firm allies, as already are the Russians. From being a backwater in the remotest place in Eurasia, it is now in the forefront of world media attention. Things are never likely to be the same again.
The key thing is that the lingering fall-out from an early 1990s civil war is being dispelled. A coalition of the secular forces in government and the mild Islamicists in opposition should hold up more firmly than ever. Everybody is keen to engage in nation-building in what was a rather arbitrarily defined country (by Stalin of course).
The secular forces have their base in the northern province of Leninabad, where the industry lies, a sort of Soviet Union in miniature up to now, while the backward south adjacent to Afghanistan was the breeding ground of the opposition. The Tajiks are now likely to pull their country together to attract US and international aid for reconstruction, after three years of miserable weather and drought. US$16m for instance, of credit was pledged from the UN in early December to assist reconstruction. 
The US is extending aid on irrigation and other matters via USAID. Powell has been to town and Bush has personally thanked Tajikistan for its assistance in the fight against terrorism and its Afghan sponsors, the Taleban. President Imomali Rakhmanov must be feeling very chuffed. At last his country counts on the world stage. And given that nation-building is now the order of the day, he can be sure that his own will not be forgotten and that a brighter future is beckoning for his countrymen.

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ENERGY

Russian company looks to building Tajik power stations


A group of specialists from the Russian Unified Energy Systems [RUES] joint-stock company, led by the deputy chairman of the company's board of directors, Sergey Dubinin, arrived in Dushanbe on 13th December, Tajik Radio has reported. 
The specialists have come to examine the progress on building the Sangtuda and Roghun hydroelectric power stations and to consider the possibility of RUES taking part in completing their construction.
In accordance with the schedule, Sergey Dubinin will have talks with Tajik Prime Minister Oqil Oqilov and the heads of some ministries and departments.
A Khovar News Agency correspondent reports that the group of Russian power engineers have arrived under an agreement reached during the talks between Tajik President Emomali Rahmonov and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on 29th November 2001.

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FOREIGN ECONOMIC RELATIONS

Franco-Tajik co-operation reinforced, says Rahmonov


Tajik President, Emomali Rahmonov, received French Co-operation Minister, Charles Josselin, recently, whereby they discussed a number of issues relating to priority areas of Tajik-French co-operation in commercial, economic, scientific and technical fields. The head of state expressed his interest in establishing mutually beneficial economic relations and, particularly, in attracting French investments in the Tajik industry, Asia Plus reported.
He said that specialists from France had once helped to build the Tajik Aluminium Plant, one of the largest in the world, and the French technology was still being used in the production of aluminium. Josselin stressed that the international community's confidence in Tajikistan was growing, and Tajikistan was playing an active role in the global processes that were taking place. Both sides also touched on the settlement of the Afghan crisis and supported unified efforts by the international community to combat terrorism and other challenges of the times.

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TELECOMMUNICATIONS

New Tajik-Russian mobile joint venture set up


A new joint venture, TT-mobile, has appeared in the Tajik mobile communications market. It was founded by two companies - one of the major operators of Russian mobile communications, the North-Western GSM closed joint-stock company, and the Tajiktelekom [Tajik Telecom] open joint-stock company, 'Biznesmen' in Dushanbe has reported.
The managing director of the TT-mobile closed joint-stock company, Saidakbar Shukurov, has told us about the future development of cellular communications of GSM standard in Tajikistan.
"A network of mobile communications that fully meets international standards was developed jointly by highly skilled experts from Russia and Tajikistan within the shortest possible time in September 2001. The first stage of this international project has now ended: an automatic roaming service is functioning in Dushanbe.
"Commercial use of TT-mobile's network at its full capacity is planned to start early next year. At the moment, we offer the communication services that the customers of North-Western GSM and the customers of its roaming partners are using."...

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TRANSPORT

Tajikistan seeks new Russian rail routes


The reinstatement of a regular rail route between Tajikistan and Russia was discussed at a meeting chaired by the Tajik First Deputy Prime Minister, Haji Akbar Turajonzoda in late November.
Based on BBC reports, the meeting discussed ways of resolving the issue as soon as possible. Delivering a speech, Turajonzoda said that since the beginning of 2001, several thousand Tajik citizens had left for Russia to earn money. "Today they cannot return home because Kazakstan has banned train movements from Dusanbe to Astrakhan and vice-versa."
In this connection, the deputy chairman of Tajik Railways, Sabqalov, gave a report informing those present about problems with paying off the company's debts. He said that his company was trying to find mechanisms for mutual payments between the Tajik and Kazak rail companies. At the end of the meeting, Turajonzoda instructed the heads of Tajik Railways and other relevant republic departments to resolve the problem of mutual payments with the railway companies of neighbouring countries in order to resume normal train movements from Tajikistan on previous routes.

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