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Uzbeks Opt Out Of SCO Exercises Again

Miniatures depicting troops of different nations sit on a plan for SCO military exercises in 2010.
DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan's Defense Ministry says neighboring Uzbekistan will not send troops to participate in planned regional military exercises this summer held under the banner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are SCO members alongside Russia, China, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

Uzbekistan has opted out of participating in other SCO exercises in the past.

But relations between the governments of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan -- which will host the the SCO's "Peace Mission-2012" exercises in June -- have been tense for some time.

Hydrocarbon-rich Uzbekistan and mountainous and relatively poor Tajikistan frequently tussle over electricity.

Faridun Makhmadaliev, a press secretary for the Tajik Defense Ministry, told RFE/RL's Tajik Service that Uzbekistan's absence from the counterterrorism drills at the Choruqdagon military training grounds in northern Tajikistan was confirmed during a meeting of SCO military officials last week.