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Central Asia: Routes Linking Uzbekistan, Tajikistan Reopen

By Ravshan Temirov

Bekabad, Uzbekistan, 12 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - The main highway and rail link connecting Uzbekistan and Tajikistan reopen today.

Tajik Prime Minister Yakhye Azimov and Uzbek First Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Djurabekov signed the protocol reopening the routes in the Uzbek border town of Bekabad on Tuesday.

The Tajik civil conflict has prompted the Uzbek government to close the road and rail line several times since 1992. The rail line is particularly important for Tajikistan as this route is the best means of connecting the Tajik capital Dushanbe with Tajikistan's northern regions. The railroad avoids the mountains north of Dushanbe by running through the more level territory in neighboring Uzbekistan.