Uzbekistan and Tajikistan hardly to have serious conflict: expert


December 10, 2009, V.Zhavoronkova



Tensions between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan due to water-energy issues will not escalate into a serious conflict, EU-Central Asia Monitoring (EUCAM) Project Coordinator Nafisa Hasanova believes.


"I do not think this will lead to war," the expert told Trend News over the telephone. "Theoretically everything is possible, but I do not think the presidents of the two countries are so short-sighted so as to go to war in this situation."


Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon at a meeting with journalists Dec. 8 criticized the leadership of neighboring Uzbekistan. In addition, he issued a claim to two Uzbek cities Samarqand and Bukhara, Vremya Novostey reported.


In his speech, the president noted that in the past he was well-disposed to his Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov, but later changed his mind.


"This man is fighting against all of Tajikistan and does not want development in our country. He closes roads and ceases electricity in the cold winter," he added.


In 1920 Samarqand and Bukhara were included in the Uzbek SSR. Tajiks consider these cities their cultural and historical heritage. Tajiks constitute a significant portion of the Bukhara population.


Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are already divided on the use of water resources in the region, as well as electricity supply.


According to the expert, Uzbekistan's output from the unified Central Asia power system damaged Tajik-Uzbek relations. "Uzbekistan shuts off the power in the winter," she said.


In late 2009, the energy situation in Tajikistan deteriorated following the withdrawal of Uzbekistan from the United Energy System of Central Asia.


"Theoretically, a war is possible, but I do not understand how it will help Uzbekistan," she said. "On the one hand, it may be advantageous for Uzbekistan to have weak neighbors, but on the other hand, a weakened Tajikistan would be very dangerous for Uzbekistan, since in this case Afghanistan will be even closer to the country."

"In this sense, I believe Uzbekistan is not profitable: to weaken itself by starting a war and thus weaken its position," the expert said.