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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: 267 - (27/03/03)
Having a good war
The Tajik republic has one of the less batty dictators in Central Asia as its president, Imomali Rakhmanov. A former communist from the north, he has allied himself with erstwhile foes, the ethnic Tajiks of a moderate Islamicist persuasion in Afghanistan, who led the Northern Alliance against the Taleban in 2001. The US overnight became an ally too, with the same endgame enemies, Islamic terrorists.
In Tajikistan's case, as in that of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, it was less a matter of "a coalition of the willing" than of "a coalition of the billing." They have all been remunerated for their instant support. But their very promptness in signing up on the American side showed that there was a genuine willingness as well.
World Bank to the rescue
The imprimatur of the US has opened up the coffers of the international community. The World Bank is extending a Country Assistance Programme of US$150m spread over three years. This is within the context of a Poverty Reduction Strategy Programme. Over 80% of the population are living below the poverty line.
Actually that the war is not all that it is about is shown by the fact that an earlier CAS programme in 1999-2001 involved dispersal of US$165m. But Tajikistan, like Uzbekistan, was already cooperating with the Clinton Administration against terrorism in its last years. The money is to be spent on a whole range of infrastructure and welfare projects.
It is not only the West but also Iran and the old stand-by, Russia, who are fishing in Tajik waters. Iran, fellow Shi-ites, have extended US$25m credit for a range of projects, plus US$500,000 for the military.
Tajikistan will be purchasing 300 buses from Iran for Dushanbe. It is also buying 150 electric buses form Russia. A deal is being worked out whereby Tajik electricity will be bought by Iran in the summer months when Iranian supplies are meagre.
These deals are small beer. But then Tajikistan is a small remote country. It is just a little more on the map than it was before.
Dunshanbe municipality in bus deal with Iran
Dunshabe's municipality has reportedly decided to purchase 300 buses from Iran. According to local reports, the municipality also intends to buy 150 electric buses from Russia. Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia-pacific and Commonwealth of independent States (CIS) Affairs, Mohsen Aminzadeh, had voiced the municipality's interest in the transaction during his recent trip to Tajikistan and his meeting with Dunshabe's mayor, New Europe reported recently.
In other meetings of officials, he said that Iran has pledged US$25m in aid to Tajikistan that would be released in accordance with regulations observed by international organisations. Iran has also approved aid in the amount of US$500,000 to boost Tajikistan's military. Voicing Iran's willingness to purchase electricity from Tajikistan, he said Tajikistan had oversupply of electricity in summer time while Iran faced a shortage in the same time. He said in case a final agreement on prices is reached, the route for transfer of Tajik electricity to Iran would be studied.
French firm in electricity revamp
Representatives from the French consulting company, Electricite de France, recently arrived in Tajikistan to familiarise themselves with projects drafted by the Tajik Ministry of Power Engineering for the current year. Projects manager, Christian Samson, led the French delegation.
First Deputy Minister of Power Engineering, Abbos Qosimov, was quoted by Asia Plus News Agency as saying in the course of the talks the French delegation expressed readiness to provide consulting assistance in the implementation of projects aimed at rehabilitating the country's energy system, modernising and reconstruction of electricity transmission lines in the republic. Qosimov said that the representatives from the French company were also interested in cooperating with the Tajik government to implement the project on removing the landslide near the Baipaza hydroelectric power station. This project envisages carrying out a feasibility study on the proposals for tunnels in the area of the hydroelectric power station. "The French company also plans to participate in a tender which will be held in the first half-year of 2003," Qosimov said.
FOREIGN ECONOMIC RELATIONS
Development of Tajikistan with Ukraine develops
The first session of joint Tajik-Ukrainian intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation was held recently in
Dushanbe. It was held within the framework of mutual arrangement achieved during the official visit of Tajik President Emomali Rahmonov to Ukraine.
Co-chairman of the commission, assistant to the prime Minister of Tajikistan, Asadullo
Gulomov, Minister of industry, Zayd Saidov, Minister of power, Abdullo Yorov, heads of some involved ministries and departments of the country have taken part in the work of intergovernmental commission session. The Ukrainian delegation was headed by Minister of industrial policy, the co-chairman of the given intergovernmental commission from Ukraine, Anatoly
Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Ukraine in Tajikistan, Anatoly Kasyanenko, heads of some ministries and departments and representatives of business circles of Ukraine were also the members of delegation. The co-chairman of the commission, vice-premier of the Tajik government, Asadullo
Gulomov, during his speech in the session, has noted that for the past one and a half years since the visit of the state delegation of Tajikistan to Ukraine, some positive results in development of trade and economic relations between the two countries were planned. So, mutual commodity circulation in 2002 has increased in comparison with 2001 on 30% and has made 86 million and 414 thousand
roubles. He has also emphasized that many problems put by the heads of two countries are solved, but some more issues of mutual relations have arisen and the present session of intergovernmental Tajik-Ukrainian commission is devoted to their discussion. Among them, first of all is strengthening of contract-legal base and its legal registration.
The parties have discussed prospects of development of long-term mutually advantageous relations. Issues of cooperation in the field of power, transport and other branches of economy of two countries are planned. Minister of industrial policy of Ukraine, Anatoly
Myalitsa, has noted that the first session of intergovernmental Tajik-Ukrainian commission becomes a preparatory stage to official visit of the President of Ukraine, Leonid
Kuchma, to Tajikistan in April of the current year. Participants of the session have determined the agenda of work of intergovernmental commission in Tajikistan. Signing of agreements and documents called to make the cooperation between Tajikistan and Ukraine more active is expected upon the results of the session.
Pors Electric signs TV-computer assembly deal in Dushanbe
Representatives of the Iranian Pors Electric company recently visited the Tajik republic, New Europe reported. Deputy director of Pors Electric, Amir Tahir, signed a protocol of understanding on the cooperation of his company with large industrial enterprise in Tajikistan. The protocol was signed by Tajik Minister of Industry, Zayd Saidov, for his country.
The Tajik Industry Ministry was quoted by Asia-Plus News Agency as saying that under this document the sides pointed to the necessity of development of bilateral contacts. During the visit to Tajikistan, representatives from Pors Electric familiarised themselves with the technical state of some industrial enterprises in the republic and have come to the conclusion that there is a potential for expansion of bilateral cooperation between Tajikistan and Iran in the field of industry.
The Iranian company, in particular, expressed readiness to launch a joint venture on production of coloured TV sets and computers on the basis of the Tajik Joint Stock company (JSC) Elto Sitora Limited Liability company.
Under the signed protocol, the Iranian side will produce parts for assembling TV sets and computers in Tajikistan. The sides have agreed to continue consultations on undertaking further efforts to expand cooperation and implement other investment projects.
ADB grant for energy awareness in Tajikistan
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a technical assistance grant of US$120,000 to help the government of Tajikistan develop an energy conservation programme. A key objective of the programme is to make consumers aware of the potential for saving energy and to encourage them to use energy more efficiently and reduce wastage. The programme will investigate factors contributing to energy wastage. A relevant action plan will be designed by the country's government, including demand side management initiatives for reducing energy consumption, especially by public enterprises, and improve the legal and regulatory framework supporting energy conservation.
Tajik travel agencies at the international exhibition in Berlin.
Eight tourist firms of Tajikistan will take part in tourist fair which will take place in Berlin on March 7th. Travel agencies could participate in the fair with the financial support of the German society on technical cooperation, Embassy of Germany in Tajikistan, Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Economics and Trade of Tajikistan.
According to the Director of state company Sayoh, Kasim Gafarov, the exhibition has annual character and this time the Tour Agencies of Tajikistan will hold a stall containing information about tourist production of the country. Participants in the fair are going to hold negotiations for establishment of new contacts and presenting tourist potential of their countries. Travel companies of Tajikistan will acquaint the participants in the fair with plans on holding competitions on rafting in Tajikistan and motor racing which will be held during 2003.
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