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Aral Sea restoration possible, official says
ASTANA – A realistic possibility of restoring the Aral Sea to its 1965 boundaries exists, Sagit Ibatullin, chairman of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, said, according to a November 16 Novosti-Kazakhstan report.
The Fund has moved to Phase II of its effort to increase the Aral Sea’s volume in Kazakhstani territory, he said on the sidelines of a meeting of an international commission on sustainable development in Central Asia.
At the meeting of all five Central Asian countries, Kazakhstan handed over the rotating commission chairmanship to Tajikistan.
Once an agreement is reached, the project would take "six or seven years plus the time needed to fill the sea," he said.
The conferees also discussed 2011-2012 achievements in implementing a regional environmental plan and suggestions for the commission’s work in 2013-2014.
The Aral Sea, which Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan share, shrank by 70% after the Soviets used it to irrigate cotton fields.