DUSHANBE, April 10, 2012, Asia-Plus – Organizations of the majority of political parties functioning in the northern Sughd province have called on Emomali Rahmon and Islam Karimov to sit at negotiating table.

The appeal was singed by heads of regional organizations of seven of eight political parties officially functioning in the country.  The organization of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) did not sign the appeal.

The appeal, in particular, expresses serious concern over partial transportation and economic blockade imposed by Uzbekistan on Tajikistan.

Representatives of political parties of Tajikistan note that the peoples of both countries suffer from crisis in interstate relations and call on the presidents of both countries to meet each other halfway and begin dialogue in the interest of their peoples.

Besides, representatives of the Tajik political arties also called on the UN agencies and the OSCE offices in Dushanbe and Tashkent to provide support for improvement in relations between the two countries.

It is to be noted that relations between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have been strained since they both gained independence in 1991.

Uzbekistan has voiced opposition to Tajikistan''s plans to build the Roghun hydroelectric power plant (HPP), which Uzbekistan says will cut off major irrigation routes.

In November of 2011, the Uzbek authorities halted rail traffic between Termez in Uzbekistan and Khatlon province in Tajikistan.  On April 1 this year, Uzbekistan suspended natural-gas deliveries to Tajikistan.

On April 2, the Tajik Embassy in Moscow released a statement accusing 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 officials 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.

Tashkent has rejected accusations from Dushanbe.  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.