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Kyrgyzstan ready to restore participation in IFAS

Kyrgyzstan is ready to restore its participation in the International Forum on Saving the Aral Sea in full format. The President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbai Jeenbekov stated at the summit of the heads of states — founders of the organization, which is taking place today in the city of Turkmenbasi (Turkmenistan).

He recalled that Kyrgyzstan «froze» its participation in the activities of IFAS in 2016.

«This decision is dictated by the fact that in its present form the fund does not meet the interests and urgent needs of our country. At the previous summit in 2009 in Almaty, the Kyrgyz side voiced the position on the need to reform the fund, including the reduction of its ineffective bodies. However, there has been no progress in this area,» he said.

Sooronbai Jeenbekov recalled that IFAS was established as a fund for financing and crediting of programs and projects in the Aral Sea basin taking into account the interest of all the states of the region. But not a single energy project of Kyrgyzstan was supported within the framework of the fund.

According to the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, it is necessary to conduct an analysis of the effectiveness of the bodies for the entire period, to assess the programs, to study what the funds were spent on and how fairly and balanced the interests of the countries of the region were taken into account.

«The fund’s activities are focused on the use of water resources for irrigation, but do not take into account the use of water for other purposes, including energy production. This is due to the outdated regulatory and legal framework of regional cooperation,» he said.

Sooronbai Jeenbekov noted that the Kyrgyz side stood for renewing the agreement between Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan on the use of water and energy resources in Syrdarya river basin dated 1998, which provides for a compensatory mechanism for the use of water and energy resources.

The President said that Kyrgyzstan was ready to restore in full format its participation in the International Forum on Saving the Aral Sea, if comprehensive reform of IFAS was carried out taking into account the needs and interests of all states.

The International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea was established in 1993 by a joint decision of the Presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan with a view to implementing joint actions, programs and projects to improve the environmental, social and economic situation in the Aral Sea region. Since December 2008, IFAS has an observer status in the UN General Assembly. The last meeting of the heads of the states — founders of the fund was held in April 2009 in Almaty.