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Uzbekistan: Change of Tune Coming on Roghun Dam?

A top lawmaker in Uzbekistan has made public statements that may signal a slight softening of Tashkent’s hardline position on Tajikistan’s planned Roghun hydropower plant.

Speaking at a press club huddle on June 1, Boriy Alihanov, the deputy speaker of the lower house of parliament, said that Uzbekistan was in favor of a rational and fair use of transboundary water resources in line with international law.

At first glance, the remarks do not seem significant, but in fact they do mark a shift from the hostile rhetoric toward the Tajik project typically coming out of Uzbekistan.

“The leaders of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan recently laid out their position on this matter. And this regards Roghun and other major hydro projects built along [tributaries] to the Aral Sea. The Amudarya and Syrdarya and other rivers in this basin are part of single ecosystem that needs to be carefully preserved,” Alihanov said in comments cited by Sputnik news website.

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Uzbekistan: Change of Tune Coming on Roghun Dam?

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