Uzbekistan is still against construction of the Rogun hydropower plant, and the official authorities of the country have repeatedly stated that the dam will be built in an earthquake prone region and that threatens the safety of those living in the lower reaches of the Amu Darya River, a Russian expert told .
Uzbek authorities also fear that the construction of the reservoir may cause shortage of water for irrigation, said Leonid Gusev, a senior research fellow at the Analytical Center of the International Studies Institute at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.
Uzbek Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev sent a letter to his Tajik counterpart Kohir Rasulzoda July 19. In his letter, Mirziyoyev expressed the Uzbek side’s concern over the information on the conclusion of a framework agreement between the government of Tajikistan and Salini Impregilo company for the construction of the Rogun hydropower plant.
“Tajikistan's government signed a contract worth $3.9 billion with this company, and representatives of the Tajik leadership claim that they have the funds,” said Gusev.
“The first two units of the power plant should start working in 2018 and the plant should be completely built within 14 years,” he said. “Of course, a lot can change during this time, but the work is being carried out actively at the moment.”
Tajikistan hopes that Uzbekistan focused all its attention on the presidential campaign, the expert added.
“The Tajik side also made statements that the relations between the two countries may be repaired under the new leadership of Uzbekistan,” he said.
The expert noted that time will show how Uzbekistan will react to this situation.
The Rogun hydropower plant construction project was developed during the Soviet era. Construction of the plant was initiated in 1976, but stopped after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Earlier, Uzbek First Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Azimov said that Uzbekistan would never support the Rogun project.