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Uzbekistan 'cuts off gas' to Tajikistan

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan: The impoverished Central Asian state of Tajikistan said yesterday that it had been cut off from natural gas shipments by its neighbor and sole energy supplier Uzbekistan.
The announcement comes amid traditional end-of-year contract negotiations and continuing tensions over Tajikistan's plans to build a hydroelectric power station that could choke off Uzbek water supplies.
"We have stopped receiving gas from Uzbekistan," a spokesman for the Tajiktransgas state gas company told AFP. "The supplies have been cut."
Energy power Uzbekistan last halted gas shipments to Tajikistan for two weeks in April.
Uzbekistan has been seeking to funnel its lucrative gas exports to new markets in China and has also curbed its shipments to Russia.
But Tajikistan — poorest of the ex-Soviet nations and still recovering from a 1990s civil war — has few other energy sources and suffers from chronic electricity shortages.
The nation of 7.5 million is now moving ahead with plans for a Rogun Dam project that would tap into the mountain country's abundant water resources.
Uzbekistan fears the dam could badly hurt its large cotton industry and become a national security threat.

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