Russia, Tajikistan to discuss petrol duties, military presence
Visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will hold summit talks with his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rakhmon on Friday to resolve the most complicated issues in bilateral economic and military cooperation, Itar-Tass reported.
A high-ranking source in the Tajik foreign ministry told Tass Russia considerably increased export duties on light petroleum products this year which triggered a 44 percent rise in petrol prices since May. "It is specifically painful for Tajikistan" as the country imports close to 90 percent of petrol and lubricants from Russia, the source said.
He also said Rakhmon believes Russian business is poorly investing into major energy and mining projects in Tajikistan and delays the construction of two hydropower plants in the east of the country. Still Russia remains the number 1 trade partner of Tajikistan and considerably overtakes China, Kazakhstan, and Turkey.
The source said Tajikistan is grateful to Russia for the construction of the Sangtudin hydro power plant and welcomed the growing role of Gazprom which will develop four promising gas fields.The Kremlin said trade turnover upped 12.7 percent in 2010 to 886.2 million dollars and by 1.7 percent in the first six months of 2011.
As for military cooperation, Tajikistan wants to sign a new agreement on border issues with Russia. The source said it has to fix the status of Russian border guards deployed in Tajikistan and "also to confirm Russian conviction that Tajikistan is capable of protecting its borders by itself."
The previous agreement expired in April and talks on a new one "have been going difficulty, but constructively, without emotions and haste,"according to Foreign Minister Khamrakhon Zarifi. He said "neither party has officially raised the issue of the return of Russian border guards.The number of advisers, their functions and military-technical cooperation
Both presidents will also discuss the terms of the deployment of the Russian military base which Rakhmon has numerously described as "a reliable security guarantee for Tajikistan and the whole region."Russia wants to use the reconstructed Aini military airfield near Dushanbe where aircraft of any type can land now. Kremlin chief-of-staff
Sergei Naryshkin said in June "the issue of the joint use of the Tajik airfield will be discussed in the framework of September visit by Dmitry Medvedev."