This year, border talks with Tajikistan will continue at a fast pace, says Kyrgyz foreign minister

FILE PHOTO: Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov shakes hands with Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon during a meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan September 16, 2022. Sultan Dosaliev/Kyrgyz Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

AKIpress reported on January 18 that the Foreign Minister of Kyrgyzstan Jeenbek Kulubayev has said that 2022 was rather complex period of relations with Tajikistan.

“September incident… we held talks after that a very long time.  The situation is getting better slowly.  There is mutual understanding from both sides that we need to complete border talks,” the foreign minister was quoted as saying.

The most important is to establish peace along the border, Kulubayev said.  This is what Presidents Sadyr Japarov and Emomali Rahmon said recently.

“We started moving in positive direction by the end of the previous year.  I think we will continue work on this issue actively this yea,” Kyrgyz foreign minister added. 

Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have not yet resolved the border delineation problem.  Many border areas in Central Asia have been disputed since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.  The situation is particularly complicated near the numerous exclaves in the Fergana Valley, where the borders of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan meet.

The border of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan has been the scene of unrest repeatedly since the collapse of the former Soviet Union.

In the latest border clashes between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan that occurred on September 14-17 last year, both sides reportedly lost over 100 people both military population and ordinary citizens.  During fierce armed confrontations, a lot of schools, mosques were destroyed in addition to the houses of civilians; administrative buildings were also attacked by fire.

The latest armed confrontation was the worst since April 2021, when over 50 citizens of both nations died during the armed hostilities.

Border talks between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan began in 2002.  The countries share 976 kilometers of border – of which about 600 kilometers have reportedly been properly delineated, leading to tensions for the past 30 years.

To-date, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have reportedly held more than 170 meetings and negotiations on delimitation and demarcation of the common border.

Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov said in an exclusive interview with Kabar news agency on April 25 last year that “the parties have agreed on 600 kilometers [of the mutual border] and they have another 300 kilometers left to delimit and demarcate.”