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Tajik Leader Urges More Aid for Aral Sea

Rakhmonov heads a foundation dedicated to saving the shrinking sea Dushanbe, 30 May 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Tajikistan's president called today for more international aid to alleviate the ecological damage from Central Asia's shrinking Aral Sea.

Speaking at an international conference in Tajikistan's capital, Dushanbe, President Imomali Rakhmonov said pledges of help for easing the crisis have not been followed by action.

The Aral Sea has shrunk to half its original size because of drought and overuse of its main river lifelines.

A UN report last year said the sea was receiving only a tenth of the water it once did because of a regional drought and the excessive use of its main feeder rivers, the Amu Darya and Syr Darya.

The report said the sea could disappear altogether in foreseeable future.

The Aral Sea is located on the territories of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, but Rakhmonov is president of a foundation dedicated to saving the water body.


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