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Uzbekistan Rejects Tajik Accusations On Blockade

Uzbekistan's government has rejected accusations from neighboring Tajikistan that Tashkent has imposed an economic blockade on Tajikistan in order to strengthen Uzbek advantages over its smaller and more impoverished Central Asian neighbor.

On April 3, the Tajik Embassy in Moscow accused Uzbekistan of trying "to make Dushanbe adopt decisions that are profitable for Tashkent" by cutting badly needed electricity and natural gas supplies and shutting down road and railway connections between the two countries.

Tajik officials have warned that a prolonged cutoff of energy and other links could lead to a humanitarian disaster in Tajikistan, where electricity is already rationed because of shortages.

Responding in a statement on April 4, Uzbek Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyaev did not deny that Tashkent had suspended energy and transport links to Tajikistan, but said technical reasons were responsible.

Based on reporting by Asia-Plus and Interfax