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tajikistan

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  TAJIKISTAN

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
143,100 

Population 
6,578,681

Principal 
ethnic groups 
Tajiks 62.3%
Uzbeks 23.5%
Russians 17.6%

Capital 
Dushanbe

Currency 
Tajik Somoni

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 No: 262 - (22/10/02)


The Tajik leadership is not convinced that the threat of militant Islam is over. They are conferring with the Kyrgyz on measures to contain it.

The need for an Islamicist enemy
The publicity organ, Eurasianet, point points out that the Central Asian regimes use the Islamicist menace as an excuse to justify repression and infringement of human rights. It is a useful bogy, with which to scare the population and coerce them into submission.
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) has taken a fearful toll in recent fighting in Afghanistan, losing its leader and many cadres. But there are other Islamicist groups in the region and there is no reason to believe that they have all given up the ghost after the routing of the Taleban and al-Qaeda. There may still be a genuine threat of Islamic fundamentalism in the region, and hence in Tajikistan, even if this is useful and welcome to the regime.

Central Asian debate
The Tajik government hosted a meeting of the Central Asia Cooperation group in the capital, Dushanbe, recently, which was an occasion for more than just concerting measures against the fanatics. Everything from energy to water management to coping with refugees came under review, as well as security concerns.
An intriguing aspect of the meeting was that while the presidents of Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan all attended in person, greeted by President Emomali Rakhmonov of Tajikistan, the Turkmen president, Saparmurat Niyazov, was conspicuous by his absence. He seems to fear machinations behind his back so much that he cannot vacate his own country for a day.
The meeting led to several documents being signed, which minister to a strengthening of relations among the member states. Military cooperation among them under the umbrella of the CIS was ratified. The four states agreed to set up a Central Asian branch of the CIS anti-terrorist centre and to coordinate a programme of resistance to and repression of organised crime (including drug-running), international terrorism and other manifestations of extremism. The Islamicist militants finance their military activities by selling drugs and engaging in criminal pursuits generally, all justified by the Jihad.
The management of water resources is an acute concern in the region, afflicted by drought for three years in a row. It was agreed to hold an international forum on the subject in September 2003. It was suggested that a UN commission is required to study ways of preventing the death of the Aral Sea. Uzbek President Islam Karimov made the old suggestion that Russian rivers could be diverted to Central Asia "if Russia agrees."
The meeting keeps Tajikistan in the high international profile it has assumed since the war in Afghanistan.

Economy recovers
There have been welcome developments on the economic front. GDP is growing by 8.1% on an annual basis this year, reaching US$600m in the first eight months. Industrial production grew by 5.5% in the same period on an annual basis and agricultural production by 10.6%.
The IMF is closely monitoring the economic situation in Tajikistan. It is generally supportive since Dushanbe agreed in March to a Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies.

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FINANCIAL NEWS

Tajik leader abolishes VAT for domestic cotton producers


Tajikistan's President Emomali Rahmonov has abolished value-added tax (VAT) on domestically produced cotton in 2002, the president's press secretary Zafar Saidov told reporters, Prime-TASS News Agency has reported.
He said the president abolished the tax "to support cotton producers and to increase raw cotton output."
Rahmonov has also kept the 10 per cent sales tax on cotton fibre unchanged until the end of the year, the ITAR-TASS News Agency reports.
Tajikistan's exports of cotton fibre rose 75.8 per cent on the year in January-August to 83,300 tonnes.
The value of the exported cotton fibre rose 39.6 per cent on the year to US$69.5m, which represents 14.7 per cent of the country's exports.

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FOREIGN ECONOMIC RELATIONS

Tajikistan's trade with CIS reported down in first eight months of this year

Tajikistan's trade with the CIS countries was down 10.7 per cent in January-August as compared with the same period of 2001, while trade with non-CIS countries was up 20 per cent, the state statistics committee said, ITAR-TASS News Agency has reported.
The CIS countries in the reviewed period accounted for 52 per cent - US$498m - of Tajikistan's foreign trade.
Tajikistan prefers to export its most valuable products to non-CIS countries - the recipients of 72 per cent of the country's export worth US$338m.
To the Netherlands alone Tajikistan exported about 60 per cent of the output of the Tajik aluminium smelter - US$150m worth. Another 35 per cent went to Turkey, Hungary and Iran. Of the 83,300 t of exported cotton, 72.6 per cent went to Switzerland, Latvia and Iran. Within the CIS the biggest amount of cotton - 13 per cent - was exported to Russia.

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FOREIGN LOANS

Japan sanctions grants to back Tajik business, education

The Japanese government will allocate six grants totalling US$259,000 to Tajikistan as part of a programme of financial aid and support of development of small businesses in that country, Interfax News Agency has reported.
The acting charge d'affaires of the Japanese embassy in Tajikistan, Takashi Kamada, signed the document on allotting these grants intended for the modernization and reconstruction of educational institutions and hospitals.
Under the programme, the Japanese government supports economic and social projects carried out by Tajik local authorities and international nongovernment organizations.
Since January 2002, the Japanese government has allotted over US$847,900 for the support of 21 projects.

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TRANSPORT

New Tajikistan-Russia rail route inaugurated

A new rail route that will link the southern Tajik city of Kulob with the Russian city of Astrakhan, was due to be launched on October 5th, Asia Plus News Agency reported recently.
The Chairman of Khatlon Region stated that the train would be made up of 10 carriages for residents of the Kuob area and four others for residents of the Qurghon Teppa area. 

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