August 29, 2008

Presidents of Russia, Tajikistan Discuss Developments in Caucasus

DUSHANBE. Aug 29 (Interfax) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has thanked those who expressed understanding for the stance of Russia that defended its citizens and all civilians in the zone of the Georgian - South Ossetian conflict.

"The recent developments in the Caucasus and Russia's measures to restore peace" were one of the subjects raised at the meeting with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, Medvedev said at a press conference following the meeting on Friday.

"I want to repeat that in eliminating the aftermath of Georgia's barbaric aggression our peacekeepers acted strictly within the field of international law and we are grateful to everyone who expressed understanding of and support for the stance of Russia that acted to protect its citizens and all peaceful residents of the region," Medvedev said.

The Russian President noted that it is his first visit to Tajikistan and that he is satisfied with the outcome and atmosphere of the meetings there. The talks focused on the most important aspects of bilateral cooperation, primarily trade and economy.

Medvedev recognized the successful advancement of joint hydro electric projects and announced new plans on expanding industrial and scientific cooperation.

"We did and will promote major projects, especially in the energy sector," Medvedev said. He also said that besides the construction of the Sangtuda and Ragun hydro-power plants, Russia will take part in the construction of three generating facilities on Tajikistan's internal rivers.

"Cooperation in uranium and gas extraction will be broadened," he said.

"If we work successfully, Tajikistan will have gas of its own in about three years," Medvedev said.

Medvedev made special mention of military-technical cooperation which, he said, will be strengthened, including through broader contacts between the defense ministries. Russia plans to finish the construction of Gissar airport in Tajikistan, he said.

He was also satisfied with the development of Russian-Tajik humanitarian ties, Medvedev said.

He spoke of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Dushanbe. The organization "plays a key role in protecting our borders from international terrorism, drug trafficking and other threats," he said.

Medvedev said that Central Asia is a region where "Tajikistan's reputation and role are significant and invariably belong to the sphere of Russia's strategic interests."

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