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DUSHANBE -- The state airlines of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have agreed to restore flights between Dushanbe and Tashkent, which ended 17 years ago.

Tajik Air spokeswoman Nazira Davlatova told RFE/RL's Tajik Service that flights are expected to begin this month.

She added that in addition to Tashkent, the airlines want to restore flights to the Uzbek cities of Samarkand and Bukhara.

Thousands of mixed Tajik-Uzbek families are hopeful for a cancellation of a strict visa regime introduced at the end of the 1990s when relations became tense after attacks by Islamists.

The two countries agreed in 2000 to resume flights between Dushanbe and Tashkent, but Uzbekistan canceled the agreement after one flight.
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