DUSHANBE, January 5, Asia-Plus -- More than 80 agreements singed at different levels have laid a legal foundation of Tajik-Uzbek relationship.

A source at Tajik MFA said that main documents regulating priorities and main directions of cooperation between the two countries are an agreement on friendship and cooperation between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan signed on January 4, 1993 and a treaty on eternal friendship. 

The treaty on eternal friendship together with a memorandum on delimiting the border between the two countries was signed by President Rahmonov and his Uzbek counterpart, President Islam Karimov, in Dushanbe on June 15, 2000.  

These documents define the main principles of bilateral relations between the two countries, the source said, noting that Tajik-Uzbek relationship is also important from the Central Asian region as a whole.    

 “The next session of the Tajik-Uzbek intergovernmental commission for economic and trade cooperation will be held in March 2007,” the source said, adding that an appropriate decision on holding the next meeting of the Tajik-Uzbek economic commission was made at an annual meeting of representatives from the governments of the two countries in Tashkent on December 26.  A December 26 meeting in Tashkent discussed rational use of water and energy resources in the region, mutual accounting for cargo and natural-gas shipments, as well as serving and clearing off Tajikistan’s debt to Uzbekistan and other issues related to further expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.  

The first session of the Tajik-Uzbek economic commission was held in Dushanbe on August 23, 2002.  That meeting resulted in signing of a number of agreement  on rail transit, television broadcasting, and the procedure for servicing Tajikistan''s debt to Uzbekistan, as well as a protocol on the functioning of border checkpoints, and discussed progress in delimitation of their shared border.     

However, Tajik-Uzbek relationship has been different and sometimes, periods of thaw gave the way to chill in the relations between the two counties. 

Some experts note that border issues have been one of factors to ruffle relations between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, with Tashkent playing a central role in many of disputes.  In particular, Uzbekistan’s practice of mining its borders has faced criticism.  Since 2000, the mines laid along the common border with Tajikistan have caused numerous Tajik casualties.  Besides, Uzbekistan’s efforts to unilaterally establish a security buffer zone in disputed areas on the border have also helped introduce a chill in relations between the two countries  Tajik border officials have stated that this sort of border incident happens quite often.