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Russian hydroelectric project strengthens bond with Kyrgyzstan

A project to build four hydroelectric power stations will extend the Kremlin's footprint in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyz officials welcome the investment, which could boost their economy.

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Uzbekistan, which lies downstream, depends on the rivers that rise in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to irrigate farmland.

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Uzbek leader Islam Karimov last month criticised plans by its neighbours to revive other projects, conceived in Soviet days but still unbuilt, to dam rivers and build hydropower stations -- the Kambarata-1 in Kyrgyzstan and theRogun plant in Tajikistan.

Karimov said the unresolved dispute over Central Asia's water resources risked provoking military conflict in the region.

"I believe that when we display all the facts and documents proving that the Kambarata-1 plant would primarily benefit the downstream nations, this issue will be removed," Atambayev said, inviting Uzbekistan to eventually take part in the project.

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