BILATERAL COOPERATION BETWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF TAJIKISTAN
AND THE REPUBLIC OF AUSTRIA
On January 18, 1992 the Republic of Austria recognized independence of the Republic of Tajikistan and on March 25, 1992 diplomatic relations between Tajikistan and Austria were established. Opening of Tajikistan’s Embassy in Vienna in December 1997 and Embassy of Austria to Tajikistan with the residence in Astana (Kazakhstan) in November 2007 is a striking illustration of mutual interest in further intensification of bilateral relations.
In 1997 the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon visited Austria for participation at the International Conference of the donor countries on support to post-war development in Tajikistan. During this visit he met with the Federal President of the Republic of Austria Mr. Thomas Klestil. A significant event in the new history of relationship between the two countries was the first official visit of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon to the Republic of Austria, which took place on June 7, 2011. During his visit Emomali Rahmon held meeting with the President of the Republic of Austria Dr. Heinz Fisher. During the visit a number of bilateral documents were signed in the presence of two Presidents. Within the framework of this visit, delegation of the Republic of Tajikistan, including Minister of Economy and Trade, Minister f Finance and Chairman of the State Committee on Investments and Management of State Property of Tajikistan attended the World Economic Forum in Vienna. The first official visit of the Federal President of the Republic of Austria Dr. Heinz Fischer to Tajikistan on March 12-13, 2013 has given further impulse to the relations between two countries. In the framework of his official visit the President of the Republic of Austria Dr. Heinz Fischer and the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon held tete-a-tete meeting as well as other official top-level negotiations took place. Development of cooperation in the fundamental areas of economy and investment, including energy, light and food industries, agriculture, transport and communications, production of construction materials and others have been named among the prospective directions of relations between both countries. The Tajik-Austrian business forum has been conducted in the framework of the official visit with participation of the Presidents of both countries Emomali Rahmon and Dr. Heinz Fischer. Noting mutual interest in further strengthening bilateral relations annual political consultations between foreign ministries are conducted regulary in the capitals of both countries on rotation basis. Five political consultations took place as follows: First two rounds of Tajik-Austrian political consultations were held in Dushanbe on February 21 – 23, 2007 and on May 7, 2009 respectively; Third round of bilateral political consultations were held in April 1, 2011 in Vienna during the official visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan to the Republic of Austria. During this visit Tajikistan Foreign Minister held meeting with Federal Minister for European and International Affairs of the Republic of Austria. Next round of Tajik-Austrian political consultations, which took place on October 8, 2012 in Dushanbe, showed consonance of views and approaches regarding threats and challenges as well as means of political solution of regional conflicts, including Afghanistan. Aiming to give an impulse to extension of bilateral relations in future, both sides have agreed to commence negotiations during official visit of the Federal President of the Republic of Austria Dr. Heinz Fisher to Tajikistan in March, 2013. Fifth Tajik-Austrian political consultations took place on 26 March, 2014 in Vienna. During consultations both sides reviewed current bilateral relations and further development of cooperation between the two countries as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.
On February 24, 1994 during the visit of the delegation of Tajikistan headed by the Minister of International Economic Relations of Tajikistan Bilateral Agreement on External Economic Relations was signed, which provides a basis for economic and trade relations between companies, organizations and institutions of the two countries. With the aim of development trade and economic cooperation Austrian economic delegation headed by Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to Tajikistan visited Tajikistan on December, 8-9, 2003. During this visit Austrian delegation held number of meetings with Tajik officials, as well as representatives of leading enterprises and companies of Tajikistan. On April 26 – 28, 2005 Dushanbe hosted the First meeting of the Tajik- Austrian Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation. After that meeting sides have signed a protocol with aspect to enhance bilateral economic relations. The Second meeting of the Tajik-Austrian Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation was convened on June 2-4, 2008 in Vienna. The Third meeting of the Tajik-Austrian Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation took place on December 14-16, 2010 in Dushanbe. Issues of economic development, current status and a prospect of bilateral trade, cooperation in the fields of renewable energy sources (hydro, wind and solar energy), environmental protection, tourism, agriculture, forestry and telecommunication were included to the Agenda. On 28 September 2012 the Fourth meeting of the Tajik-Austrian Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation took place in Vienna. Agenda of this meeting included cooperation in the sphere of energy and industry, agriculture and its products, health, tourism, standardization, document security, cooperation of Tajikistan with European Union and Tajikistan accession to the WTO. Heads and members of delegations made presentations and exchange views on above mentioned issues. On the conclusion of the 4th round of Tajikistan Austria Joint Commission the Protocol has been signed by heads of delegations. October 13-15, 2014 the Fifth meeting of the Tajik-Austrian Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation took place in Dushanbe.
Meeting of Tajikistan and Austrian entrepreneurs was held on November 14-15, 2005 in Dushanbe. Meeting provided opportunity to discuss a wide range of the issues of mutual concern and interest, including bilateral trade and economic cooperation. Representative delegates of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber visited Tajikistan on October 16–18, 2008 to explore a possibility of bilateral synergy. Business community members of the two countries have highly appraised the importance of meetings and negotiations held between private sector representatives. On November 16-17, 2012 the Austrian Business Delegation headed by the Regional Director CIS, Austrian Federal Economic Chamber visited Tajikistan. The aim of visit was preparation of the official visit of Federal President of the Republic of Austria Dr. Heinz Fischer to the Republic of Tajikistan and organization of Economic Forum in Dushanbe during this visit. At the end of visit the sides agreed to prepare and sign an Agreement on cooperation between The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Tajikistan and The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber during the official visit of the Federal President of the Republic of Austria. On September 10, 2014 in Vienna Forum “The Economic and Investment Potential of the Republic of Tajikistan" was initiated and organized by Tajikistan Embassy to Austria jointly with Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and with support by Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Tajikistan. Delegation of the Republic of Tajikistan was headed by First deputy minister for Economic Development and Trade. A wide range of representatives from Tajikistan and Austrian business circles and government bodies attended the Forum. The main aim of organizing this event was to help Tajikistan entrepreneurs and companies to establish cooperation with Austrian counterparts, set up favorable conditions in order to attract more investments to country’s economy, contribute to the increasing trade turnover between the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Austria. During the Forum Tajikistan delegation has drawn attention of participants to investment priorities and capacities, investment projects in different areas, regulatory legislation related to foreign investments. Also, detailed information about legislation on rights of investors, other documents adopted and approved by Tajikistan Government and information about free economic zones were provided. In addition it was mentioned that necessary legal base for cooperation in various directions was set up during official visits of the heads of two states and parties should exploit these potentialities. An aggregate volume of external trade of Tajikistan in the period of 2013 concluded at 5 966,7 million USD. The Republic of Tajikistan’s major export commodities to the Republic of Austria are cotton and aluminum, while import from the Republic of Austria includes medicines, medical equipment, sugar, honey, forage processing aggregates and other
SCIENTIFIC, EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL TIES
Despite of establishing diplomatic relations between the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Austria in 1992 the history of these relations has started much earlier. In 1972 capitals of Carinthia, the Klagenfurt city and the Tajikistan capital Dushanbe city were established twin-cities relationships. It should be mentioned that Klagenfurt is the first European city to establish twin-city relationship with Dushanbe. On March 22, 1989 Protocol on cooperation between the Magistrate of the Klagenfurt city and the Executive Committee of the Dushanbe city was signed within the framework of the joint cooperation. Tajik national teahouse, as a symbol of friendship from Dushanbe city, was built in one of parks of the Klagenfurt. On March 13, 1993 another Protocol on cooperation between the cities of Dushanbe and Klagenfurt for the period 1993-1994 was signed. In addition, Klagenfurt was the first European city for Tajikistan footballers. In the middle of 1990 two Tajikistan’s soccer players from FC “Pamir-Dushanbe” Alexander Azimov and Valeriy Tursunov played for SK Austria Klagenfurt. In subsequent years, contacts between the cities were conducted on a regular basis. However, in recent years sides have reduced the intensity of exchanges of visits and the relationship between cities. On September 18, 2013 the Embassy of the Republic of Tajikistan to Austria in order to strengthen contacts between Dushanbe and Klagenfurt, initiated trip and meeting in Klagenfurt.
Science is another important field of cooperation between two countries. Memorandum of Understanding on Scientific Co-operation was signed during visit of Austrian scientists to Dushanbe on October 2005. Austrian political scientist, Ambassador Alfred Missong visited Tajikistan from May 29 to June 1, 2006 within the framework of cultural and educational cooperation. On the sidelines of this trip, Ambassador Missong had a number of lectures in Tajikistan’s high educational institutes under the titles of "The History of Austrian Diplomacy after 1945" and "The Austrian Presidency in the European Union".
The Diplomatic Academy of Vienna since 1997 with support of Government of the Republic of Austria, financial institutes and non-governmental organizations has been arranging the Special courses and trainings for young diplomats from CIS countries, including Tajikistan. During this period young diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan participated at 6 courses and trainings.
Experts from Ministry of Education of the Republic of Tajikistan twice visited (November 2010 and October 2013) Vienna with the study trips and exchanged information on the latest reform steps in the educational systems of countries including the formation of and in-service training for teachers. Summer courses to learn German language is another direction for educational cooperation between both countries and within several years, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Austria, learning of German language are conducted at Tajik Pedagogical University.
Days of Austrian Culture in Tajikistan with wide participation of representatives of the Austrian arts, culture and education has been organized on May 30 – June 1, 2011, in Dushanbe. On 19 March 2013 celebration of "Navruz" and presentation of the book "The Tajik Golden Heritage" book took place in Palace Belvedere of Vienna. During the event a short documentary movie about "Navruz" traditions in Tajikistan and country’s achievements in various sectors was displayed. In addition, during presentation photos from "The Tajik Golden Heritage" book were demonstrated and copies of book were presented to participants.