Tajik foreign ministry protests Uzbek hold on freight

By Stan Rogers

2010-03-24

DUSHANBE -- The Tajik foreign ministry issued a formal note of protest March 22 to the Uzbek Ambassador to Tajikistan, Shokosym Shoislamov, concerning hundreds of railway freight cars that Uzbekistan has blocked from proceeding to Tajikistan, news media reported March 24.

Uzbek explanations for delaying the mostly Russian and Kazakh cargo have varied from the previous reports. Shoislamov said the Uzbek railways were overloaded with cargo bound for coalition forces in Afghanistan, CA-News.org said.

The number of delayed cars, previously reported as 228, is now reported as more than 1,000. Uzbekistan has kept the cars in place for two months, said Tajik Foreign Ministry spokesman Davlat Nazriyev to CA-News.org.

The Tajik-bound railway cars “contain construction materials for the Rogun hydroelectric power plant ... and some non-military cargo bound for international forces in Afghanistan”, according to Tajik Railway official Usman Qalandarov, as quoted by RFE/RL. Tajik officials say Uzbekistan is delaying the freight in order to impede construction of the Rogun dam, news media reported.

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