DUSHANBE, 21st April, 2016 (WAM–Khalid Ghanem Al Ghaith, UAE Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Economic Affairs, headed the UAE delegation to the second UAE- Tajikistan Joint Committee meetings, held today at Tajik capital, Dushanbe.

The Tajik side was headed by Kodiri Kosim, Chairman of the State Committee on Investments and State Property Management of the Republic of Tajikistan.

The meeting was attended by Ahmed Abdullah Al Matrooshi, Director of the Department of West Asia at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and representatives from the Ministries of Culture and Knowledge Development, Climate Change and Environment, Human Resources and Emiratisation, The Federal Customs Authority, and The Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation.

Al Ghaith expressed his satisfaction at this visit, stressing the UAE delegation’s visit to Tajikistan comes within the UAE’s interest in boosting the existing cooperation and exploring new horizons for expanding cooperation between the two sides.

He added the convening of the second meetings of the joint committee follows the success of the first meetings, which were held on May 12, 2014. Al Ghaith hailed the strength of bilateral relations, which were boosted by the successful visit of President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon to the UAE in March 2016. Then, many agreements and memoranda of understanding were signed in areas of higher education, tourism and sports.

The UAE minister said the meetings come in the context of exerted efforts to increase volume of non oil foreign trade between the two countries, which stood at $25.32 million in 2015 compared to $39.4 million in 2014. He called for signing cooperation agreement on administrative issues regarding customs affairs due to their importance in easing the trade relations between the two countries.

Al Ghaith said 1, 670 Tajik nationals were in the UAE in 2015, while over 13, 00 Tajik tourists visited the UAE in 2015. He called for increasing air flights between the two countries to 6 flights weekly.

The UAE minister said the cooperation should be strengthened in areas of investment, trade exchange, livestock, agriculture, and humanitarian and development aid to further boost the relations between the two countries.

For his part, Kosim welcomed the UAE delegation, stressing keenness of his country to develop relations with the UAE given its economic progress in all fields.

The two sides stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation in tourism and cultural exchange areas through hosting and establishing cultural and artistic exhibitions and exchanging cultural publications and official cultural delegations, holding cultural and artistic days, including cinema, theatre, music and folklore between the two countries.

The two sides agreed to enhance cooperation in the service sector, food industries and organise trade missions between the two parties in addition to finding partnership opportunities between the two countries and encouraging communication between businessmen.

They expressed their readiness to enter into negotiations to effect some amendments and additions to the agreement on avoiding double taxation and preventing evasion of income taxes signed between the UAE and the Republic of Tajikistan. Moreover, the two sides expressed readiness to discuss the agreement on the protection and promotion of investment signed between the two sides since December 17, 1995.

The UAE side expressed interest in strengthening cooperation with the Republic of Tajikistan in the field of agriculture and import of livestock. Both sides agreed to study the UAE import of meat and livestock from Tajikistan in accordance with the procedures in force in the UAE, as well as investment in the agricultural sector in Tajikistan by Emirati investors, especially in projects related to the food security.

Both sides agreed to accelerate bilateral cooperation in the field of sports and youth in a manner consistent with the memorandum of understanding that was signed recently between the two parties in Abu Dhabi on March 17, 2016.

The two parties also agreed to enter into consultations on air services agreement, which aims to promote cooperation between the two countries in the tourism sector, trade and aviation. The discussions will begin in the third quarter of 2016 and deadlines will be determined through the diplomatic channels between the two countries.

They also agreed to expand cooperation in energy and renewable energy sectors and the importance of the exchange of expertise in these areas, as well as possibility of attracting potential investors to contribute to the construction and rehabilitation of hydraulic power stations in the Republic of Tajikistan. They also agreed to expand in oil and gas exploration projects and strengthen cooperation between the entrepreneurs and stakeholders in the field of production and use of renewable energy sources.

The two sides agreed in principle on mutual administrative cooperation in customs matters between the two countries, and to discuss the memorandum of understanding on manpower between the two parties. The Tajik side can reply at the end of the year.

The UAE and Tajikistan enjoy historical and fraternal relations and there is a desire on both sides to enhance them in all fields. The Tajik president visited the UAE from 16 to 17 March, during which several agreements and memoranda of understanding were signed. And the building of the Embassy of the Republic of Tajikistan was opened in Abu Dhabi, a move that reflects the friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

The diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on December 18, 1995. The Republic of Tajikistan opened its consulate general in March 2007 in Dubai. In March 2011, Tajikistan opened its embassy in Abu Dhabi. The UAE has no Embassy yet in Tajikistan, but the UAE Ambassador to Astana, the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan, was named on April 20, 2010 as the UAE Non-resident Ambassador to Tajikistan.

WAM/Majok