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Tajik, Turkmen Presidents Discuss Afghanistan, Water Resources

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon in Dushanbe on March 18.
DUSHANBE -- Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has held talks in Dushanbe with visiting Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Rahmon told a joint press conference that the talks focused on the use of water resources, including for hydroelectric power. He stressed that the international community knows that Tajikistan suffers from a deficit of electricity during winter.

"Tajikistan's firm position in the area [of energy] is not only to meet the legitimate and logical need to use its natural resources, including water, to provide the country's economy and population with vital energy, but also to take into account our common regional interests," Rahmon said.

Rahmon said that the positions of his country and Turkmenistan on Afghanistan, as well as on the fight against terrorism and drug-trafficking, coincide.

He added that two countries have invited Afghanistan to cooperate in projects involving communications, roads, and gas pipelines and power lines linking Tajikistan and Turkmenistan via Afghanistan.

Six bilateral economic and cultural agreements were signed. According to Rahmon, they cover cooperation in transport, air communications between the two countries, hydropower, natural gas, labor, and migration.

Berdymukhammedov also indirectly rejected criticism from other countries in the region of the construction under way of a massive reservoir in the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan.

Tajik Foreign Ministry spokesman Davlat Nazriev told RFE/RL that Berdimuhammedov will travel tomorrow to Rahmon's native town of Danghara in southern Tajikistan to celebrate the Norouz spring holiday there.