Uzbekistan has been leaning hard on Tajikistan in recent weeks, making a number of harsh moves that regional analysts say are motivated by opposition to Dushanbe’s plans for the Roghun hydroelectric plant, perceived as threatening Uzbekistan's intensive downstream water demand for cotton irrigation. Uzbekistan recently closed a border crossing to Tajikistan, forcing the Zarafshan Valley into isolation from the rest of Tajikistan, as snow will close the roads. Some 121,000 people will suffer, but Tashkent has not provided a reason or an answer to a eurasianet.org inquiry.
Last week, Uzbekistan's Foreign Minister called Tajikistan's officials "liars" over the issue of the delay of Tajikistan-bound freight cars, Tajikistan’s Asia Plus news agency reported. Dushanbe had no comment, although it has been steadily complaining that Tashkent is deliberately holding up freight bound for Tajikistan. In a statement published on the Uzbek Foreign Ministry's site at mfa.uz on November 1, Tashkent said that "despite objective facts and elementary logic" the Tajiks continue to claim there are freight car delays harming its economy.
To read the full story
Catherine A. Fitzpatrick compiles the Uzbekistan weekly roundup for EurasiaNet. She is also editor of EurasiaNet's Choihona blog. To subscribe to Uzbekistan News Briefs, a weekly digest of international and regional press, write email@example.com