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Tajikistan, Uzbekistan Agree on Visa-Free Travel

Thursday 11 January 2018

DUSHANBE (TajikTA) — Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have agreed to visa-free travel between the two Central Asian countries and other border-crossing measures, according to Tajik media. The decisions came during a visit to Dushanbe by Uzbek Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov.

Aripov and his Tajik counterpart, Qohir Rasulzoda, agreed to finalize and sign the new border protocols in the near future. Aripov also held talks with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon on January 10, the first day of his two-day visit to Dushanbe.

The new border regulations will allow Tajik and Uzbek citizens to visit each others’ countries without visas for up to 30 days. They will also provide for the building of new checkpoints along the border and the opening of several bus links to connect the two nations’ towns and cities.

An accord was also reached regarding the disputed dam of the Soviet-era Farhod hydropower station along the border. Under the agreement, the land on which the station stands will be Tajik property, while the station itself — including its equipment and infrastructure — will be owned by Uzbekistan.

Farhod hydropower station

Construction of the Farhod Dam (also known as Dam-16) was initiated in 1942 during World War II. In 1933, the dam’s and reservoir’s territory was rented by Tajik SSR to Uzbek SSR for 40 years. However, it remained under Uzbekistan’s control until 2002 when Tajikistan took control over this as a result of а military operation

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, ties between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have often been tense due to disagreements on issues including borders, water and energy resources, and transit routes. But relations have improved since the death of long-time Uzbek President Islam Karimov in 2016. President Shavkat Mirziyoev, who assumed rule after Karimov’s death, has declared that improving ties with Uzbekistan’s neighbours is a major foreign-policy priority.

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