DUSHANBE, December 29, 2009, Asia-Plus  -- Tajikistan’s orientation on the Islamic world has been determined in 2009 and will be determined in 2010 by two objective reasons: 1) Muslim countries, with which Tajikistan seeks intensification of bilateral cooperation, have considerable funds that could be invested in implementation of expensive infrastructure development projects in the country; and 2) Tajikistan’s move to restoration of traditional for it ties with the Islamic civilized space (intensification of this move is accompanied by decrease in the level of prejudiced attitude of Tajik society and its elites to the Islamic world that, in turn, promotes development of relations of Tajikistan with Muslim countries), Tajik expert Rashid Ghani Abdullo said in an interview with Asia-Plus.

According to him, one of priorities of the country’s foreign policy this year was development of relations with Arab countries, especially the rich countries of the Gulf.  Before that, Tajikistan considered these countries primarily as the possible source of financing of its strategic infrastructure development projects.  Last year, the significance of these countries for Tajikistan increased because of effects of the global financial and economic crisis.

“As a whole, Tajikistan’s relations with the countries of the Gulf are still at an initial stage of development, when sides are just looking attentively at each other; however, a certain progress has already been made,” said Rashid Ghani Abdullo, “Thus, Tajikistan and Saudi Arabia have signed an agreement allowing Tajik labor migrants to work in Saudi Arabia.  Besides, Qatar plans to invest in implementation of two expensive projects in Dushanbe – construction of a residential complex (US$180 million) and construction of Central Asia’s largest mosque.  As far as financing of energy and other infrastructure development projects is concerned, cooperation in implementing such projects will probably become possible at the next stage of development of relations between Tajikistan and Qatar.”

The expert considers that to make economic cooperation with rich Arab countries reality Tajikistan has to do a good work.

“President’s activity has allowed laying the political foundation and establishment and intensification of practical economic cooperation is the direct concern and work of relevant governmental institutions.  It would be good thing to start this work already in 2010,” Rashid Ghani Abdullo stressed.