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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: 261 - (26/09/02)

Tajikistan is now on the map as never before. It is developing new ties with great powers other than Russia.
Hitherto it was very much a Russian semi-colony, with 20,000 Russian troops guarding the southern border with Afghanistan and the northern province of Leninabad, the power base of the regime being a sort of mini-USSR.

The Indian card
With 9:11 it began to open up to the US, giving it use of its facilities in the war against the Taleban last year. Less well known is that it had already forged a new alliance with the Indians, traditional Russian allies and therefore, less offensive to Moscow than the US, although Putin had the good sense to stifle any Russian objections swiftly to the US moves in the area.
The Indians now have a military base in Farkhov on the Afghan border, with a field hospital and personnel training the Tajiks in military tactics and English. This is the first foreign base India possesses and is obviously linked to Delhi's concern to counterbalance Pakistan in Afghanistan. India is now another foreign friend of the Northern Alliance. Indeed, Northern Alliance leader, Sheik Akhmed Masood, who was assassinated on September 9th last year, two days before 9:11, actually died in the Indian field hospital, dying a martyr's death to his followers.

The French card
The French are showing great interest in Tajikistan and French Foreign Minister Dominque de Villepin made a recent trip to Dushanbe. Chirac has invited President Rahmonov to pay a visit to Paris by the end of the year.
French military belong to the International Security Force in Tajikistan and are naturally concerned to see a more stable Central Asia. The French, like the Indians, see great opportunities opening up for oil and gas developments there and in the Caspian Sea, dividing the region from the Caucasus. Tajikistan is the lynchpin of security here, as the Russians have always understood. But the French are also looking at construction projects in Tajikistan to be discussed at Rahmonov's trip to Paris.

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AVIATION

Airline prepares to renew fleet

The Tajik airline company, which is controlled by the state, is prepared to renew its aircraft fleet in the coming months, Interfax News Agency reported quoting the Tajik airlines Director General, Shodimat Mirzoalimov.
"Foreign companies are offering Boeings, however, the company's management gives preference to Russian planes," Mirzoalimov said. According to him, Tajik airlines will acquire two upgraded Russian Tu-154-N planes that meet all European standards.
This should be finalised in the very near future, he said. Apart from the local air company, three Russian and one Iranian airline make regular flights to Dushanbe, Interfax said.

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FOREIGN ECONOMIC RELATIONS

Stronger Tajik-French ties emerge after fruitful talks

Tajikistan and France are currently preparing a multilateral format of cooperation following Foreign Minister of France, Dominque de Villepin's recent visit to the republic, New Europe has reported.
According to statements made by the presidential press service of Tajikistan, cited by Asia Plus News Agency, in the course of the talks the two sides exchanged views on the current situation in Afghanistan and the region as a whole as well as on prospects of bilateral relationships between Tajikistan and France.
The president's press secretary, Zafar Saidov, told Asia Plus that President Emomali Rahmonov had highly appraised the level of relations with France. "Intensive political contacts, on which we agreed with French President Jacques Chirac, allow us to collaborate more closely in various spheres and we consider your visit in this context," Zaidov quoted President Rahmonov as saying.
During the meeting, the two sides pointed out the necessity of consolidating previous successes and setting new goals and directions for cooperation.
They also considered it practical that foreign offices of the two countries should outline appropriate proposals for laying legal reliable foundations for expansion of Tajiks-French relations. It would, in particular, encourage concrete steps on the implementation of mutually beneficial economic projects and give new impetus to bilateral cooperation. They added that special stress must be put on projects aimed at the promotion of sustainable development in Tajikistan.

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FOREIGN LOANS

TACIS resumes activities in Dushanbe, says Antunissens

The European Commission has taken a decision to resume TACIS Programme activities in Tajikistan. The director of the TACIS National Coordination Office Support Project in Tajikistan, Pierre-Paul Antunissens, stated so during his recent meeting with Tajik Foreign Minister, Talbak Nazarov.
Quoted by Asia-Plus News Agency, Antunissens informed the Tajik Foreign Minister that the office would set out to collect information about appropriate branches of economy, social sphere and education of the republic so as to use it effectively in its further activities in the republic. He noted that the leadership of the Commission had decided to allocate a considerable volume of funds to the Central Asian region.
Part of these funds is intended for the drafting and implementing of regional projects in the field of transport infrastructure, hydropower engineering and protection of the environment in Tajikistan.
Apart from that they also plan to launch in Tajikistan a series of projects aimed at reduction of poverty in Khatlon Region of the republic, promoting Tajikistan's efforts to join the World Trade Organisation, development of external trade ties, providing support to the State Committee for Statistics, customs services as well as expansion of interaction between higher educational institutions of Tajikistan and universities in other countries.
Antunissens also said that a session of a joint Tajik-European Community Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation is scheduled to be held in Dushanbe, in November or December this year.
Nazarov, for his part, drew Antunissens' attention to the fact that in connection with the necessity of more effective support for a process of post-conflict rehabilitation and development of the republic's economy provision by the EC of technical assistance to Tajikistan should be of top priorities.

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