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Tajikistan, Afghanistan Postpone Electricity Agreement Signing

Jun 20, 2008 - BBC Monitoring Central Asia

The signing of an intergovernmental agreement on supplying electricity from Tajikistan to Afghanistan in 2010- 2015, which was planned for today, has not been held. The Tajik Energy and Industry Ministry's spokesman told journalists that the ceremony of signing the document was postponed "solely due to technical reasons" for indefinite time.

A draft agreement on the supply of surplus electricity from Tajikistan to the neighbouring country in summer period was approved by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which provided 50m dollars for the project.

Within the framework of the project, Tajikistan should supply surplus electricity to Afghanistan via a new 120-km long power line- 500, the building of which is planned for this autumn. The ADB's chief specialist, Jim Listor [name transliterated], said that "the project was beneficial for both countries, as it would help to improve power supply in these countries, reduce prices for customers and would make it possible for Tajikistan to export up to 300 MW of surplus electricity to Afghanistan a year".

At the same time, sources from a Tajik government delegation told the ITAR-TASS news agency's correspondent that the sticking point for signing the agreement was "the issue of price" for kWh of exported electricity. The Afghan side decided that "the price of the supply was high", the agency's interlocutor said. At the same time, representatives of the Tajik and Afghan governments decided to continue the discussion later.

Originally published by ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow, in Russian 1431 20 Jun 08.

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