First Tajik Delegation visit the UK

The first official parliamentarian delegation from Tajikistan visited the UK during November. They made a number of visits during a busy schedule and were involved in discussions in and around both London and Edinburgh. The delegation was led by Mamadsaid Ubaidulloev, the speaker of the Tajik Parliament and a number of key individuals in the Tajik parliament joined him.

Many of their discussions were focused around UK-Tajik bilateral relations and how a better investment climate might be achieved in Tajikistan. The delegation met with potential investors in the House of Commons on one morning in a meeting organised by the British Expertise organisation.

This was an opportunity for bilateral discussions on both the opportunities and challenges of investing in Tajikistan as well as one to promote Tajikistan’s own resources both physical and human.

As part of the improvement of bilateral relations, the delegation visited the house of the UK parliament, and listened to the traditional Wednesday afternoon Prime Minister’s Question Time.

Following this they were invited to attend a question posed by Viscount Waverley, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Central Asia, in the House of Lords to ask the government what their current priorities were with regards to taking forward the relationship with Tajikistan. Lord Howell, the Minister of State, responded by saying, “Our priorities are to encourage democratic and other reforms that will help to underpin stability in Tajikistan and the region. We also believe that there is benefit for both sides in working more closely on issues relating to Afghanistan.”

The role that Tajikistan can play in Afghanistan was also a key agenda item. Tajikistan shares its southern border with Afghanistan and as such is strategically placed to help regenerate a prosperous future for Afghanistan as well as avoid extremism and religious fundamentalism from destabilising the region. Further parliamentary discussions were held with members of the British Group Inter- Parliamentary Union where the delegation had the opportunity to ask questions on the British system of governance and parliamentary rule.

The delegation was accompanied throughout by His Excellency Erkin Kasymov, the current Ambassador of Tajikistan to the UK. They made the short trip to Edinburgh towards the end of the week to visit the Cluny Hydroelectric Power Station. With Tajikistan’s significant water resources and its current implementation of hydroelectric projects, this was an opportunity to share learnings and experiences.