Bishkek ready for territorial exchange on Kyrgyz-Tajik border

Enlightening talk on friendship, good neighborliness and how to respond to acts of aggression by residents of the adjacent territory
Enlightening talk on friendship, good neighborliness and how to respond to acts of aggression by residents of the adjacent territory

The situation on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border will be discussed today by the delegations led by Kyrgyz Deputy Prime Minister Jenish Razakov and Tajik Deputy Prime Minister Azim Ibrohim. The talks are held after gunshots were fired along the border on the night of January 10. Both sides blamed the attack on each other. The incident occurred in the vicinity of the village of Somoniyon, on the border between Tajikistan's Isfara district and Kyrgyzstan's Batken region.

At night, unidentified people threw stones at several cars and a Kyrgyz man's house, while while border guards on their way to the house came under fire from small-caliber hunting rifles. According to the Kyrgyz border agency, they were fired from Tajik territory. The residents of a village in the Batken district were evacuated. According to Dushanbe, the incident was provoked by the Kyrgyz side. The Tajik border troops say that the car of an employee of Isfara’s internal affairs department was fired from Kyrgyz territory at night.

Both sides report that the investigation was initiated by the law enforcement agencies. The Kyrgyz-Tajik section of the state border occasionally becomes a zone of conflict between the local population or the two countries' border guards. The main reason is non-delimited sections, because of which it is impossible to determine where the state border between states is.

The situation on the border was discussed in the telephone conversation between Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and his Kyrgyz counterpart Sooronbai Jeenbekov, who spoke out in favor of good-neighborly relations between the two peoples. "There has always been centuries-old friendship between the Kyrgyz and Tajiks. We should not allow escalation of the situation on the border. Unfortunately, the border conflicts frequented lately. Another incident occurred on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border yesterday," Sooronbai Jeenbekov said. He also underlined importance of work with population of border areas to prevent recurrence of border incidents. The Kyrgyz leader believes that those responsible should be punished. At the same time, Jeenbekov also spoke for acceleration of delimitation and demarcation of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border. In a recent statement on this subject, President Sooronbay Jeenbekov proposed a territorial exchange to Tajikistan, but it seems that the Tajik authorities are in no hurry to accept this offer. All negotiations on this issue are held strictly behind closed doors. Both sides say they are committed to a diplomatic solution to this problem.

Director General of the Analytical Center 'Strategy East-West' Dmitry Orlov told Vestnik Kavkaza that the problem is that of the 971-km border dividing Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, only 583 km are delimited and demarcated. The remainder is a disputed territory. Such sites are mainly located in areas where the Leilek and Batken areas of the Batken region of Kyrgyzstan have borders with Tajikistan( Bobojon, Ghafurov and Isfara districts). Conflicts over water, pasture and land conflicts often take place there. It comes down to bloodshed. In disputes on the division of the border, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan rely on maps of different years of the Soviet period. Kyrgyzstan - on documents of 1955-1958, adopted on the basis of the work of deputies of the Supreme Council of the Kyrgyz SSR and the Tajik SSR. Tajikistan - on documents of 1924. "Until the parties find a compromise on this issue, conflicts will continue. But the negotiations are proceeding extremely slowly. The reason for this is the reluctance or inability to negotiate," the expert believes.

On Tuesday, negotiations will continue at the level of deputy prime ministers. According to the press service of the Kyrguz Government, the delegation included the heads of the General Prosecutor's Office, the State Committee for National Security, the State Border Service, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and employees of other competent bodies. It is assumed that Tajikistan will be represented by a similar composition.

"During the talks, the sides will discuss the measures for stabilization of the border situation, strengthening of border security, preventive measures to avoid recurrence of border incidents, stepped up efforts on delimitation and demarcation of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border," the press service of the Kyrgyz government noted.

According to a witness reports, the situation in the border villages of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan is stable. The border guards of the two countries beefed-up security. Police officers and local government departments are patrolling settlements. They also undertake public outreach efforts on friendship, good neighborliness and how to respond to acts of aggression by residents of the adjacent territory.