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Ending Central Asian water impasse looks more possible

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Subject

Central Asia's chronic water problem.

Significance

Uzbekistan's evolving policy of engagement with its Central Asian neighbours offers new opportunities to address previously intractable disputes, including over water. Disagreement about river flows pitting hydroelectric projects against irrigation needs divide Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan from downstream countries, particularly Uzbekistan.

Impacts

  • Russia will find it hard to play a role as regional mediator due to perceptions it favours some states over others.
  • Discussions on sharing the Amu Darya must include Afghanistan, which also draws on the river's water.
  • Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan will probably stand back to see whether Uzbekistan shifts position.
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