Monday, April 23, 2012 -
Investments and gas were expected to top talks between Tajik leaders and Russia’s top diplomat who arrived in the Tajik capital Dushanbe Monday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is in Central Asia’s smallest republic for a two-day visit timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of their bilateral relations.
His visit will culminate in a meeting Tuesday with Tajikistan’s authoritative leader President Emomali Rahmon.
Lavrov will meet with his counterpart host Khamrokhon Zarifi and the country’s senior leadership.
The Tajik side is eager to discuss investment plans held by Russian gas giant Gazprom, whose ongoing exploration and development of hard-to-reach gas fields in the mountainous country are vital to the energy-starved republic.
A Russian foreign ministry representative said ahead of Lavrov’s visit that negotiations “will make a tangible contribution in the build-up of the relations of friendship and strategic partnership between Russia and Tajikistan,” according to the Russian Itar-Tass news agency.
Both sides will explore political, economic, and humanitarian ties.
Other topics up for discussion include Tajikistan’s involvement or interest in a raft of regional groupings. They are the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the regional military-political alliance Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the Eurasian Economic Community.
Also to be discussed is the ongoing situation in conflict-torn Afghanistan, which shares a long and mostly unsecured border with Tajikistan.