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Uzbek Cultural Celebration In Tajikistan Marks Fence-Mending Effort

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyaev

Tajikistan is set to hold a five-day celebration of culture from neighboring Uzbekistan, an apparent sign of warming ties following the death of longtime Uzbek autocrat Islam Karimov last year.

The Tajik Culture Ministry said on May 2 that the country will stage the Uzbekistan Culture Days on May 9-13, the first such event since the two Central Asian countries gained independence in the Soviet collapse of 1991.

It will feature concerts by leading Uzbek entertainers, showings of Uzbek films, and exhibits of Uzbek art in Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe, and the southern city of Qurghonteppa.

On April 20, an exhibition of Uzbekistan-made goods was held in Dushanbe and deals worth $35 million were signed by Tajik and Uzbek businesses.

Earlier in April, Uzbekistan's national airline resumed flights from Tashkent to Dushanbe after a hiatus of some 25 years.

Relations between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have been strained for years over disputes about transportation transit routes, border security, and water resources.

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyaev, who came to power after Karimov's death was announced in September, has taken steps to improve ties with neighboring countries.

Based on reporting by and