DUSHANBE, December 31, 2009, Asia-Plus -- This year, Tajikistan’s relations with its neighboring countries in the region have not met their real potential, Tajik independent expert Rashid Ghani Abdullo said in an interview with Asia-Plus.

According to him, nothing still points to change for better in the near future.  Moreover, to add to the existing problems, disagreements on use of water-and-energy resource in the region arose.  These disagreements will be unsolvable until Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have strong cards in the form of hydropower facilities allowing them to equalize advantages of the countries of the region.

“In 2009, significance of China as largest and reliable financial partner for implementation of strategic energy projects increased for Tajikistan even more,” stressed Rashid Ghani Abdullo, “in 2008, a two-way trade between Tajikistan and China exceeded 1.5 billion U.S. dollars and over the first ten months of the year, Tajik-Chinese trade has been estimated at some 700,000 U.S. dollars.  The global financial and economic crisis has not affected China’s desire for providing financial support to the republic.  On June 4, 2009, the sides signed agreements on construction of the Nourobod-1 HPP (US$560 million), cement plant with annual capacity of one million tons of cement, additional works at power transmission lines Lolazor-Khatlon and South-North (US$61 million) and rehabilitation of the highway from Dushanbe to Danghara, Khatlon province (US$51 million).”

The expert noted that a characteristic of Tajik-Chinese relations was the fact that the Chinese side has always fulfilled its obligations on the agreements and this is one of advantages of China over its strategic competitors in Central Asia.

“It is to be noted that allocating funds for implementation of Tajik strategic infrastructure development projects dedicated to promote economic development and socioeconomic stability of the country, China indirectly finances political stability in its western provinces,” stressed the pundit, “Last summer’s events in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region will be additional boost for increase in China’s support for economic development of Tajikistan and other central Asia’s countries.”