Comment by the Information and Press Department on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s official visit to the Republic of Tajikistan
On February 4 and 5, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will pay an official visit to the Republic of Tajikistan.
He is scheduled to hold talks with President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and the country’s Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin. The Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation and the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Tajikistan are expected to sign a Cooperation Programme for 2019.
Tajikistan is Russia’s strategic partner and ally in Central Asia. Bilateral relations are marked by proactive and trust-based political dialogue, and the two countries share traditional friendly ties and are consistent in expanding them in all spheres. These efforts are underpinned by shared historical past and coinciding vital interests of the peoples of Russia and Tajikistan. Last year we further upgraded our cooperation, and Russia is satisfied with this achievement. We created a solid contractual legal framework for bilateral cooperation paving the way to further progress in our relations.
Topics on the agenda of the upcoming meetings include the schedule of top-level contacts in 2019, topical bilateral matters, as well as political, trade, economic and humanitarian cooperation between Moscow and Dushanbe. The meetings will also offer an opportunity for exchanging views on matters of mutual interest on the international and regional agendas.
Preconditions are in place for further strengthening Russia-Tajikistan relations within multilateral structures such as the CIS, CSTO, SCO, the UN, OSCE, etc. Russia values Tajikistan’s support and is also willing to offer its support as part of the fruitful cooperation between our countries on various international platforms. We note Dushanbe’s contribution as the country that presided in the CIS in 2018 in streamlining the work of the organisation, making it more effective and elevating its international status.
There is momentum in the development of trade, economic and investment cooperation, and major joint projects are being implemented in various fields. Russia remains Tajikistan’s leading economic partner with a cumulative investment in the country’s economy equal to $1.6 billion. Trade increased 4.3 percent in 2017 to $717.5 million, and showed an impressive surge of 28 percent last year, approaching the $1 billion mark. More than 300 enterprises operate in Tajikistan with the participation of Russian capital.
Sangtuda 1 Hydroelectric Power Plant is Russia’s largest investment project in Tajikistan. The power station accounts for about 10 percent of the country’s electricity output.
Defence, military-technical and counter-narcotics cooperation are all important dimensions of bilateral contacts. Considering the challenges and threats emanating from Afghanistan, we view these matters as priorities, since Tajikistan shares its longest border of 1,300 km with this country.
Russia’s 201st military base serves as a reliable shield, protecting against the spread of extremism, terrorism and drug trafficking. It is rightly viewed both in Russia and Tajikistan as a solid security guarantee and a key factor for ensuring stability in Central Asia. Our military presence in Tajikistan is the largest beyond Russia, meeting the interests of all CSTO allies.
Russia attaches great importance to long-term and mutually beneficial cooperation with its Tajikistani partners on migration. For Russia, Tajikistan is one of the main services exporters. Each year, about 1 million citizens of Tajikistan are present on Russian territory. Efforts are underway to improve laws and regulations in this area. Citizens of Tajikistan staying in Russia benefit from broad preferences, and Russia is consistent in its efforts to further improve these conditions.
Russian higher education is in demand in Tajikistan. In all, some 28,000 students from this country are enrolled in Russian higher educations, including about 8,000 students studying in Tajikistan at the Russian-Tajik (Slavic) University, as well as branches of Russian universities: Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow Power Engineering Institute and the MISIS National University of Science and Technology.
Projects are being implemented to send Russian teachers to Tajikistan and build five schools offering education in Russia and under Russian educational standards.
The year 2018 marked a milestone in cultural and humanitarian cooperation between Russia and Tajikistan. The Days of Tajikistan’s Culture in Russia were held in Moscow and St Petersburg. Another important event was the celebration of 25 years since the signing of the Treaty between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tajikistan on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance. To mark the occasion, a major history exhibition opened in November 2018 at Tajikistan’s National Museum, titled Russia and Tajikistan: Strengthening Friendship and Working Together.