DUSHANBE, April 5, 2012, Asia-Plus -- We need to take measures and prevent transformation of tensions between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan into another regional conflict.

Kyrgyzstan’s 24.kg news agency reports Tajik Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Asomuddin Saidov remarked this at a briefing in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on April 5.   

According him, the tensions are increasing despite attempt of the Tajik side to resolve and strengthen relations with Uzbekistan, 24.kg news agency said.  “Uzbek leaders have chosen the way of confrontation and communications’ blockade,” Tajik ambassador was quoted as saying.  

Ambassador Saidov noted that the Uzbek authorities suspended rail traffic to the Tajik southern Khatlon province on November 17, 2011.   The mid-November explosion at a rail bridge severed southern Tajikistan''s rail connection to the outside world.  Since the incident, authorities in Tashkent have refused Dushanbe’s offers of assistance to repair the bridge, Tajik ambassador stressed.  

He also noted that Uzbekistan halted natural gas deliveries to Tajikistan on April 1.

Saidov noted that Uzbekistan opposes Tajikistan''s plans to build the Roghun hydroelectric power plant (HPP).  “In the meantime, Uzbeks built about 70 water reservoirs without any consultations with neighbors,” Tajik diplomat said.

He stressed that Central Asia has already have one flashpoint – Afghanistan.  “No one country in the region is interested in the appearance of another.  Other countries didn’t react to the situation around Tajikistan.  Kyrgyzstan has some claims to Uzbekistan too: borderlands, hydroelectric stations and constant obstacles on Uzbek frontier posts.  We appeal to neighboring countries, international organizations and news agencies to assist in the bilateral tensions’ relief,” he added.

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.