President of Tajikistan offers opportunities to Latvia
Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan, arrived today on a state visit to the Baltic country of Latvia. At the Latvian-Tajikistan Business Forum the same day, Latvian President Valdis Zatlers and the President of Tajikistan underlined the great potential of bilateral economic cooperation, news agencies are reporting.
President Zatlers mentioned the pharmaceutical, information technology and construction materials manufacturing companies as the biggest Latvian exporters to Tajikistan, according to daily Diena. Zatlers invited the Tajik side to establish a representation office in Latvia which would enable operators from Tajikistan to work effectively in the Baltic and the European Union markets.
Analysts in Latvia consider that Tajikistan probably sees itself as the major transit point for supplies to Afghanistan since the statement of the Kyrgyz President to shut down access to Manas air base used to supply coalition troops in Afghanistan, though Bishkek has not notified the US on a final decison yet. Anyway, Tajikistan needs political support of the western partners, including the Baltic „troika”. Rahmon’s visit to Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia looks rather logical because of the possible mutually good bargain before his talks in Brussels later this week.
„If we increase our activity in relations with the countries of the region we would be able to influence decisions of international organizations concerning these countries", Riga-based daily Telegraf cites former Foreign Minister of Latvia Artis Pabriks.
Georgs Lancmanis, Adviser to the Minister of Communications of Latvia, has told the same newspaper that transit of Tajik aluminium to the West through the Latvian territory looks promising. However, Lancmanis names prospect of transit through Tajikistan to Afghanistan even more interesting for Latvia. Latvian companies were engaged in such transit earlier but in small volumes. Now it could be put on a constant basis. „Certainly this direction is connected with greater risk, but in parallel it is possible also to speak about hopes connected with presumable super profit".
„You open Europe to us, in our turn we open East and Southeast Asia for you,” marked Emomali Rahmon in Riga. Not an altruistic offer, of course.