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Lavrov to discuss bilateral cooperation in Tajikistan

April 23, 2012, 4:19 UTC+3

The Russian foreign minister will meet with President Emomali Rakhmon and his Tajik counterpart Khamrokhon Zarifi

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MOSCOW, April 23 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will go to Dushanbe on Monday to discuss with the Tajik leadership cooperation in the Commonwealth of the Independent States and the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the situation in Afghanistan. Lavrov’s visit is timed to the 20th anniversary of bilateral relations.

The Russian foreign minister will meet with President Emomali Rakhmon and his Tajik counterpart Khamrokhon Zarifi. The negotiators will discuss political, economic and humanitarian cooperation and the guidelines in the cooperation in the CIS, CSTO, the Eurasian Economic Community and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Russia believes that Lavrov’s negotiations “will make a tangible contribution in the build-up of the relations of friendship and strategic partnership between Russia and Tajikistan,” a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry noted. “Our relations meet the interests between the peoples of the countries and the tasks to ensure stability and security in Central Asia. The relations are based on the common blood, which was shed at the battlefields of the Great Patriotic War, close historical and cultural and humanitarian ties, many centuries of friendship and mutual assistance, which is showed graphically by the Russian relief supplies for the Tajik population, which suffered recently from the natural disasters,” the source said.

Moscow and Dushanbe are working actively in the United Nations, CIS and the CSTO. The 201st Russian military base in Tajikistan is included in the CSTO Rapid Response Collective Forces. According to leading Tajik political scientists, the negotiators will focus on the progress in the negotiations over a bilateral agreement, which envisage the deployment of the Russian military base in Tajikistan for 49 years. During Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Tajikistan last September the presidents of Russia and Tajikistan noted in a joint statement that this issue will be settled before the end of the first quarter of this year, but it is already late April, but the agreement was not concluded. The details of the negotiations on the issue are not reported, but a major Tajik analyst Abdugani Mamadazimov believes the rental fee for the deployment of the Russian military base is a matter of negotiations.

The countries are carrying out joint operations to combat drug trafficking, illegal migration and organized crime. “We share the vision of main threats and challenges to regional security in Central Asia and the assessments of the situation in Afghanistan,” the source said. Dushanbe voiced concerns over the security in the republic after the withdrawal of the NATO contingent from Afghanistan in 2014.

Moscow reiterated that the country does not accept artificial deadlines for the withdrawal of the troops. “We are strongly concerned over the development of the events after the planned withdrawal of the contingent of the International Security Assistance Force,” Lavrov told his NATO counterparts in Brussels.

Along with the stability Tajikistan pins high hopes on Russia’s efforts over the problems of energy supplies. President Emomali Rakhmon said to the parliament earlier that he acknowledges some difficulties over natural gas supplies to the population and enterprises. The president noted that Tajikistan hopes for the soonest settlement of the problem with the assistance of the Russian gas giant Gazprom.

Russia is Tajikistan’s leading trading partner. The bilateral trade reached 810.4 million dollars in 2011 and Russia’s export share amounted to 720.4 million dollars/

Humanitarian relations, particularly the Russian language position in the republic, are particularly important in bilateral relations. The Russian-Tajik (Slavic) University and a secondary school affiliated with the university works in the country. The affiliate of the Moscow State University was also opened in Dushanbe. The Russian Centre of Science and Culture was inaugurated in September 2011.

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