DUSHANBE, April 1, 2011, Asia-Plus  -- U.S. Ambassador Ken Gross and British Ambassador Trevor Moore visited Gharm and Jirgatol districts in the Rasht Valley from March 28 to 30 to learn more about the region and find ways to increase cooperation.

According to the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe, on their first day in Rasht, the Ambassadors met with District Governor Saidumron Abdurahmonov to discuss key political and development issues in the region.  They also met with local civil society and non-governmental organization leaders and held a roundtable discussion with representatives of political parties.  The ambassadors hosted a dinner with international organizations to learn from their experiences and to discuss ways to better coordinate U.S. and British development assistance in the region.

On March 29, Ambassadors Gross and Moore met with District Governor Aslonbek Abdurahmonov in Jirgatol.  They then traveled to the Tajik-Kyrgyz border to meet with Border Guard officials in Karomik to learn about trade, security, and other cross-border issues.  Later that day, MVD Head of Investigation Department Nurullo Orifov briefed the Ambassadors on the region''s security situation.

On March 30, the Ambassadors visited the first-ever all-girl English Access Microscholarship Program, implemented by NGO "Hamadoni".  This U.S. Government-funded program provides intensive language training for disadvantaged youth, and Hamadoni created a separate class for girls who otherwise would not have an opportunity to study English.  The students performed a skit and had the opportunity to speak with the two Ambassadors.

Ambassador Moore visited the UK-funded Community- based Natural Resource Management project in Jafr, which provides training for local communities on measures to increase energy efficiency and improvement of management of regional natural resources. Meanwhile, Ambassador Gross visited the site of flooding that occurred last August. He participated in the handover ceremony of a foot bridge and flood prevention barriers funded by the U.S. Embassy and implemented by Mercy Corps. Rasht District Deputy Governor Ibodat Salohova and local leaders took part in the ceremony, highlighting the in-kind contributions from the local community and support from the local government.

At the end of their joint visit, Ambassadors Moore and Gross expressed their appreciation for the hospitality extended to them by the people of Gharm, Jirgatol and Rasht Valley.  They noted their desire for continued close cooperation among the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Tajikistan on issues of common interest in this important region.