Address by Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan to Prime Minister of the Republic of Tadjikistan
Mr. Akil Akilov, The Prime Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan
Dear Mr. Akilov,
I am addressing You on the issue directly related to the interests of all countries in the Central Asian region. The point is about the construction project of the Rogun Hydroelectric Power Station.
As You are well aware, the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan has not once addressed the Governments of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Russian Federation, as well as international organizations on the necessity of conducting the independent examination of construction of the Rogun Hydroelectric Power Station, which was started yet in 80s, during the so-called grand Soviet constructions period.
The principle position of the Republic of Uzbekistan on this issue is that prior to resuming the construction of the Rogun Hydroelectric Power Station it is necessary to have the project go through a detailed and independent examination, since it was designed about 40 years ago on the basis of outdated designing, engineering and technological decisions.
As we deeply believe, it is necessary to have an impartial and qualified evaluation of possible consequences of constructing such a grand in its scope facility as the Rogun Hydroelectric Power Station, with attaching a prior attention to the following:
- The damage that this project may inflict to the region’s already fragile ecological balance due to the consequences of the Aral Sea disaster;
- The project’s impact on the volume and water-flow management of the Amudarya River, since the survival of millions of people in the region with sharp continental desert climate, directly depends on the availability of potable and irrigating water, particularly during the systematically recurrent water-shortage periods;
- The extent of the project’s protection from anthropogenic risks, firstly, from a threat of powerful earthquakes since the planned construction area of the Rogun Hydroelectric Power Station is in high seismicity zone on the tectonic break line, where the trembles with a magnitude up to 10 occurred more than once. It is hard to conceive the scope of a humanitarian disaster which could be caused by a dam breach with losses of hundred of thousands of people.
This threat is enhanced, in as much as accidents, which pose a real menace for the entire region, are oftentimes occurring at such hydropower facilities as Toktogul and Nurek hydroelectric power stations, built more than 35 years ago and where major-reconstructing works have not been implemented for over the last 20 years.
The recent Sajano-Shushenskaya Power Station accident has vividly manifested these disastrous effects, which could be caused by serious oversights and flaws made in planning and constructing the largest hydropower facilities.
The legitimacy of Uzbekistan’s position on this issue is unambiguously supported by such authoritative international organizations and financial institutions as the United Nations, European Union, World, Asian and Islamic development banks, as well as the Russian Federation and its public circles, as well as other countries.
However, despite our repeated appeals on this issue, there occurs their full ignorance on the part of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, which has not viewed possible after-effects and the proper planning and technical support, but yet continues to speedily undertake construction of this facility.
Having said that, under contract for this work a number of Russian design and building-assembly organizations are involved, which, obviously, are less interested in possible negative effects caused by this construction.
By addressing You, we ask to come back once again to the issue of conducting independent examination under the aegis of the UN and its relevant institutions, which can impartially evaluate both the validity of the project itself and all its possible after-effects, including problems of environment, water balance, threats of anthropogenic disasters and continue planning and constructing the Rogun Hydroelectric Power Station only after receiving proper response to all questions.
The Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan hopes that reasonable approaches shall prevail on this issue, which is vitally important for a stable development of our region.
In case the position of Uzbekistan is further ignored, we reserve the right to appeal on this issue to the international community and world environmental organizations in order to prevent possible catastrophic consequences of implementation of this project.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan