Kyrgyzstan denounces hydro power project agreement with Russia

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BISHKEK (TCA) — On December 31 the Government of Kyrgyzstan denounced the Kyrgyz-Russian intergovernmental Agreements on the construction and operation of Kyrgyzstan’s Kambarata-1 hydro power plant and the Upper Naryn cascade of hydro power plants, the Kyrgyz governmental press service said.

Speaking at the Government meeting, Kyrgyz Deputy Economy Minister Aibek Kaliyev said that at the working meeting of the Russian and Kyrgyz presidents in Moscow on December 21, “the Russian side admitted the difficult economic situation connected with the current unfavorable external conjuncture, currency exchange rate fluctuations, and budget constraints. The Russian side thus expressed its position of impossibility of attracting financial resources on conditions provided for by the Agreement.”

In such situation, the project’s implementation may be postponed for an indefinite period of time, the Kyrgyz official said.

Given the social and economic significance of this project for Kyrgyzstan and the country’s need for additional power generation capacities, the Government of Kyrgyzstan considers it appropriate to denounce the above Agreements, the Government’s press service said.

At his year-end news conference on December 24, Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev said that in its current economic situation Russia would not be able to finance the construction of the Kambarata-1 hydro power plant and the Upper Naryn cascade of hydro power plants.

Atambayev said Kyrgyzstan can not wait until Russia builds the Upper Naryn HPP cascade and would have to look for other investors.

In Atambayev’s words, he conveyed his stance on the issue during his recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and found “the complete understanding of the situation” on his part.

“But there is no politics here,” Atambayev emphasized.

The Kyrgyz president added that “It was our fault, too, we should have accelerated the process of allocating land for the construction of these facilities when Russia’s economy was on the rise.”

The Upper-Naryn Hydropower Plants, the project operator, was established on a parity basis by Russia’s RusHydro and Electric Power Plants, Kyrgyzstan’s state-owned power company. The project was implemented in line with the Kyrgyz-Russian intergovernmental agreement signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Kyrgyzstan on 20 September 2012. The Naryn cascade will consist of four hydropower plants with a total capacity of 237.7 MW and will not affect the interests of neighboring Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan located downstream on the Naryn River. The area to be flooded for reservoirs is minimal and no relocation of local population is required.

Sergey Kwan

TCA