Border Talks Scheduled Between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

Amid a long-running border dispute dating back to Soviet independence, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will hold border talks in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe on Friday.

Ever since the independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, both central Asian countries have claimed ownership over various territories along the poorly defined Kyrgz-Tajik border, locking themselves in a longstanding border dispute.

The border territory between the two countries, nearly half of which has not been demarcated, amounts to 984 kilometers.

The two countries are troubled by ongoing border clashes with the most recent escalation occurring in September 2022 in which Kyrgyz and Tajik border guards exchanged gunfire despite the fact that, at the same time, the presidents of the two countries were attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Uzbekistan.

The two sides signed a Protocol on the stabilization of the situation on the border and the establishment of peace between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on September 19, 2022.

Following the most recent meeting between groups from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in Bishkek on February 3-9, the talks scheduled for today mark continued efforts by the two countries to find a permanent solution.

During the round table discussions- organized by the International Institute of Central Asia – between working delegations of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, key subjects were the prospects of strategic partnership between the two countries as well as the demarcation of the border.

Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan completed earlier in January the process of delimitation of the Kyrgyz-Uzbek state border and also concluded a package of more than 50 cooperation deals worth about $1.6 billion and exchanged more than 20 bilateral documents.

Furthermore, the presidents of both countries signed a declaration on strategic partnership.

Back in November, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov expressed his expectations for all border delimitations with Tajikistan to be completed by May 2023 but, given the history of violent clashes, reaching a deal will not be easy and the authorities are more likely to settle on a cease-fire than a border deal.

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