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Ban Urges Restraint In Central Asia Water Dispute

Tajik citizens have contributed funds for the dam's construction
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged restraint in a growing dispute between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan over the building of a massive Tajik hydroelectric dam.

Ban, who is in Tajikistan as part of a tour of Central Asia, told reporters he is "deeply concerned" over the dispute over the Rogun dam project. Uzbekistan fears the dam will reduce the flow of vital water to its cotton-growing areas.

Ban said all parties concerned should refrain from unilateral action until the World Bank's international assessment team has finished its technical assessment of Rogun later this year.

He said all resources should be used "fairly and harmoniously," respecting the interests of neighbouring countries. He described this as a collective responsibility for all of the leaders of Central Asia.

In Dushanbe, Ban has held talks with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon on topics including Afghanistan, human rights, and climate change.

compiled from agency reports