DUSHANBE, April 5, 2012 Asia-Plus  -- In his annual address to parliament, President Emomali Rahmon must pay a special attention to the problem of the achievement of energy independence, the Communist Party (CPT) leader Shodi Shabdolov, who is also deputy of Tajikistan’s lower chamber (Majlisi Namoyandagon) of parliament, told Asia-Plus Thursday afternoon.

“A special focus must be made on overcoming the energy crisis,” said Shabdolov.  “It is an immediate task because further development of the country’s economy depends on energy while the social problems like pensions, wages and so forth may be tackled only after we have normal economy.”

According to him, practice shows that Tajikistan is not yet ready to provide energy independence on its own, and therefore, it is necessary to attract foreign investments for construction of power facilities.

“We cannot constantly demand electrical power and natural gas from our neighbors,” said CPT leader.  “We must finally realize that we live in an independent state.  We are proud of our independence, but we now have to be self-sufficient.”

He considers that in disputes with neighboring countries regarding power and natural gas deliveries “Tajikistan is behaving like a hurt child.”

“It is time to realize that that the Soviet Union had collapsed long ago and neighbors’ attitude to us is based on market relations, but we are continuing to lodge complaints against neighbors as if they owe us anything,” MP noted.

We will recall that on April 2, the Tajik Embassy in Moscow accused Uzbekistan of trying “to make Dushanbe adopt decisions that are profitable for Tashkent” by cutting badly needed electricity and natural gas supplies and shutting down road and railway connections between the two countries.  Tajik authorities have warned that a prolonged cutoff of energy and other links could lead to a humanitarian disaster in Tajikistan, where electricity is already rationed because of shortages.

Meanwhile, the Uzbek authorities have rejected Tajikistan’s accusations.  Responding in a statement on April 4, Uzbek Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyaev did not deny that Tashkent had suspended energy and transport links to Tajikistan, but said technical reasons were responsible.