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Diplomacy in Action

Interview With Imruz News


Interview
Robert O. Blake, Jr.
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs
Washington, DC
March 27, 2012

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Imruz News: [Through Interpreter]. I would like to welcome you to Tajikistan. I appreciate that you give me time. I have a very brief questions, and I think there will be brief responses as well. It is regarding the military base, and military presence of the United States in Tajikistan. We are becoming the witnesses that the military present of the United States is increasing in Tajikistan. We are seeing that in the borders and we are seeing in the training centers, so we would like to ask you what is the outcome of this? What is this about?

Assistant Secretary Blake: First of all let me say that today’s conference on regional economic cooperation in Afghanistan did not at all discuss any military issues. Let me also clarify that the United States does not have any military bases in Tajikistan.

The United States military and other parts of the United States government do provide a wide range of training to their Tajik counterparts on such things as counterterrorism and border security and so forth. But the Tajik people should in no way be concerned about those. Those are aimed to improve the capabilities of the Tajiks to meet the threats that they confront. All such training is conducted with the full consent and cooperation of the government of Tajikistan.

Imruz News: [Through Interpreter]. The next question, this is regarding the construction of the hydropower stations Rogun. As you know, there were many contradictions regarding around this project. The contradictions on the water management. We would like to ask the position of the United States as the Tajikistani construction of the hydropower station Rogun.

Assistant Secretary Blake: As I indicated in my press conference, the management of water resources in Central Asia including in Tajikistan is a very sensitive issue. Our interest is ensuring that Tajikistan has the best possible hydro-electricity facilities that will be built in the most cost-effective manner and benefit the widest possible number of citizens of Tajikistan.

The World Bank which has extensive experience in the water management area in this part of the world is conducting a series of feasibility studies to make recommendations to the government of Tajikistan about what would be the most appropriate facilities to build to meet all of the goals that I described.

Imruz News: [Through Interpreter]. The last question is, as you know there are many information about that the United States would like to use the Aini airbase to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan. Is there any basis for such information?

Assistant Secretary Blake: No, there is no basis for that information.

Imruz News: [Through Interpreter]. Thank you very much for answering our questions.

Assistant Secretary Blake: Thank you. I appreciate it.



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