By Kamila Aliyeva
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev arrived with the first state visit to Tajikistan on March 9.
At the international airport of Dushanbe, he was met by Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, members of the government of the country and a guard of honor.
The heads of state are expected to hold meetings in a one-on-one and expanded format.
According to the press service of the Uzbek President, the heads of state will discuss the development of bilateral political, trade-economic, investment, financial, transport-communication, tourist, cultural, humanitarian and interregional cooperation. The meeting will also discuss simplification of trips of citizens and regional and international problems of mutual interest.
As a result of the talks, a joint statement by the presidents is planned to be adopted. The signing of agreements on certain sections of the Uzbek-Tajik state border, mutual trips of citizens and others - more than 25 documents – are expected to be signed.
Reportedly, contracts worth some $140 million are expected to be signed during the Uzbek-Tajik business forum and the Uzbek National Exhibition in Dushanbe which are to be held in the course of the visit.
This is Mirziyoyev's first visit to Tajikistan after his predecessor Islam Karimov paid an official visit to Dushanbe for the last time in June 2000. The head of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, was in Tashkent in the framework of bilateral contacts in January 1998.
Since the moment of independence, the relations between the two neighbors were not easy. The disputes between the two countries have arisen regularly for almost 25 years.
Dushanbe often accused Uzbekistan of blocking railroads and roads. In turn, Tashkent opposed the construction of the Rogun HPP in Tajikistan, which, according to the authorities of Uzbekistan, is a threat to the entire agricultural sector of the region. In 2001, first, Uzbekistan, and then Tajikistan, introduced a visa regime between the two states.
The relations began to restore in 2016 after Shavkat Mirziyoyev took the presidential office in December. Since then, the activation of bilateral contacts on various levels have begun, the air communication between Dushanbe and Tashkent has been resumed, ten checkpoints on the border have been reopened, several meetings of the commission for border delimitation and demarcation have been held. In addition, residents of the border areas of the two countries can visit each other for up to 5 days without obtaining visas and telegrams.
The legal base of bilateral Tajik-Uzbek relations includes 111 contracts and agreements signed at the interstate, intergovernmental and interdepartmental levels in the period from 1992 to the present.
In 2017, the trade turnover between the two countries increased by 20 percent reaching $240 million.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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