DUSHANBE, April 2, 2012, Asia-Plus:


March 1-2                     UK Minister of State for the Armed Forces Nick Harvey visited Tajikistan.  On March 2, he met with Tajik Minister of Defense Sherali Khairulloyev.  Their talks reportedly resulted in signing of a memorandum on further cooperation between the defense ministries of the two countries.  On March 2, Nick Harvey was received by Tajik President Emomali Rahmon.  The sides discussed a broad range of issues related to state and prospects of further expansion of bilateral cooperation between Tajikistan and the United Kingdom.  Harvey told journalists after talks on March 2 that a proposed route for the troops'' withdrawal would go through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, and therefore the cooperation between the three Central Asian countries is needed.


March 2                        - President Emomali Rahmon received Mr. Alexander Zuyev, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Tajikistan, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of admission of Tajikistan to the United Nations.  State and prospects of further expansion of cooperation between Tajikistan and the United Nations were a major topic of the meeting;

- The United States, in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the Inter-Ministerial Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons of Tajikistan 2 hosted a regional meeting of representatives of 27 Central Asian counter-trafficking nongovernmental and public organizations.  The event focused on the identification, rehabilitation, and reintegration into home communities for men who have been trafficked for labor exploitation;

- The second meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Coordination Council (IMCC) on drinking water supply took place at the conference hall of the Ministry for Land Reclamation and Water Resources (LRWR) in Dushanbe.  According to Tajikistan Water Supply and Sanitation Project (TajWSS), the objective of the Second IMCC meeting was to discuss proposals for simplified administrative procedures in the sphere of drinking WSS systems construction, enhanced institutional structure for governance and management, as well as some proposals on economic policy in drinking WSS sector.



March 3-9                     - Access to social-network website Facebook and the Russian-language sites centrasia.ru, tjk.news.com, and zvezda.ru was cut off, apparently in response to an order from government authorities.  Tajik officials cited “technical reasons” for the loss of access to the sites.


March 7-8                     - An official delegation of Tajikistan attended a two-day Ministerial Conference “Water Diplomacy in Central Asia” in Berlin.  Organized by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the conference brought together senior representatives of ministries of foreign affairs and water resources from Central Asia’s countries.


March 7-9                     - Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi paid an official visit to Tajikistan with a focus on possible investment in that Central Asian country.  Iranian involvement in large-scale projects such as the Sangtuda-2 hydropower plant were discussed in Salehi''s meetings with his Tajik counterpart, Hamrokhon Zarifi, and with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon.



March 8                        - An extraordinary meeting of the Islamic Revival Party (IRP)’s board took place in Dushanbe to discuss the current political situation in the country, the emerging threats to stability and peace in Tajikistan, Constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens as well as activities of political parties and representatives of civil society, according to IRP’s headquarters in Dushanbe.  The meeting reportedly resulted in adoption of a statement that, in particular, noted that some mistaken actions carried out by the government lately are preparing the ground for creating the hostile image of the Islamic Revival Party in society, and thereby, violating Constitutional norms and breaking the foundations of peace and accord in the country.  Polyarnaya Zvezda on March 1 published an article entitled “Tajikistan on the Eve of Revolution.”  The article covered a meeting in which President Emomali Rahmon allegedly ordered security services to increase surveillance of local religious groups and members of the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan.


March 10                      - President Rahmon met with journalists on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Tajikistan’s press.  During the meeting, the resident reportedly offered to decriminalize libel and insult.


March 12                      - Rotational power cutoffs was introduced in the city of Khujand, the capital of Sughd province.  The measure reportedly resulted from sudden fall of temperatures and decrease in the water flow rate in the Vakhsh River.  The city is divided into several sectors and electricity supply to them is cut off alternately for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening.”


March 12-17                  - A Tajik delegation, led by Minister of Land Reclamation and Water Resources, Rahmat Bobokalonov, attended the Sixth Water Forum that took place in Marseille, France.  The main theme of this forum was “Solutions for Water.”  The goal of the 6th World Water Forum was to tackle the challenges the world is facing and to bring water high on all political agendas.  


March 12-18                  - A delegation of Russia’s Altai Krai, led by deputy governor Boris Larin, visited Tajikistan.  The delegation reportedly held talks with high-ranking Tajik state officials to discuss cooperation issues and visited Khatlon and Sughd provinces.


March 13                      - An employee of Innovative Road Solutions (IRS) was caught in an avalanche on the Dushanbe-Khujand-Chanak highway.  According to IRS, which operates this toll road from the Tajik capital to Chanak on the Uzbek border, Niyozqul Qulov had been clearing the road of snow with excavator operator A. Jumayev when they were hit by a wave of snow.  Jumayev who was inside the excavator was not injured, while Qulov was swept by the avalanche into precipice, the source said.


March 14                      - President Emomali Rahmon signed a decree on drafting young Tajiks into the country’s armed forces from April through May 2012.


March 15                      - Avalanches that hit a road connecting Dushanbe and the northern city of Khujand left two dead.  The fatal avalanches occurred on the 79th and 83rd kilometers of the highway.   


March 20                      - Tajik President Emomali Rahmon inaugurated a new building of the National Pubic Library in Dushanbe.  After the inaugurating ceremony, a traditional meeting of the president with representatives of the Tajik intelligentsia took place in the new building of the National Public Library on the occasion of the Navrouz holiday.


March 21                      - Tajikistan celebrated Navrouz holiday. 


March 23-28                  - Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake, Jr. traveled to Tajikistan to lead the United States delegation to the Fifth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA-V).  While in Tajikistan, Assistant Secretary Blake also held meetings with a broad cross-section of Central Asian and other international government officials and with representatives from international financial institutions, multilateral institutions and NGOs.


March 24                      - Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari attended the inaugural ceremony of the branch of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) in Dushanbe.


March 25                      - The Third International Navrouz Celebrations were held in Dushanbe.  The event was held in the presence of the Presidents of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan;

- A tripartite meeting of the presidents of Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Iran took place in Dushanbe on the sidelines of the International Navrouz Day.  According to the Tajik president’s official website, economic cooperation between the three countries was a major topic of the meeting;

- Senior officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States held the next meeting of their trilateral Core Group at the Afghan Embassy in Dushanbe.  Issues related to the Afghan peace process and follow up of His Excellency President Karzai’s visit to Islamabad in February 2012, to promote a credible Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process for reconciliation and durable peace in Afghanistan were discussed at the meeting.  Afghanistan was represented by Mr. Jawed Ludin, Deputy Foreign Minister, Pakistan was represented by Mr. Jalil Abbas Jilani, Foreign Secretary and the United States was represented by Mr. Marc Grossman, special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan;

- The first quadrilateral meeting of the Presidents of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan was held in Dushanbe, the Tajik presidential press service reports.  Issues related to political cooperation, joint efforts to address modern threats and challenges as well as enhance socioeconomic, investment and innovation relations were the focus of the meeting that was presided over by Tajik President Emomali Rahmon;

- Members of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won in two by-elections to the local council (City Majlis) in the city of Kulob.


March 26-27                  - Dushanbe hosted the Fifth Regional Economic Cooperation on Afghanistan (RECCA V).  The gathering that brought together the presidents of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Iran focused on security in Afghanistan and the region.  The conference reportedly followed up on the decisions to strengthen regional economic cooperation reached at the last gathering in Istanbul.  A Symposium of Scholars was organized at the margins of RECCA V.  The Symposium was aimed at focusing on the important topic “Afghanistan and Prospects of Regional Economic Cooperation.” 


March 26-29                  - The business forum and exhibition entitled "Afghanistan - the Potential for Regional Economic Cooperation" was held in Dushanbe as part of RECCAV.  The exhibition was organized by Tajikistan under the auspices of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan and Afghanistan, and the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of both countries.


March 31                      - President Emomali Rahmon met with head of U.S. Central Command, General James Mattis, in Dushanbe to discuss security cooperation.