As Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan border tension continues, prime ministers trade accusations

BISHKEK (TCA) — At the meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) on November 3 in Tashkent, Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Sapar Isakov complained about the situation on the Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan border, where long lines of loaded trucks stand on the Kyrgyz side of the border facing delays with entering Kazakhstan whose authorities stepped up border checks on October 10.

The delays began after outgoing Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev accused Kazakhstan of meddling in the campaign for Kyrgyzstan’s October 15 presidential election and criticized the Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev over his long rule.

Kazakh officials have denied any political motive for stepped-up procedures at the border.

Both countries are members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which also includes Russia, Belarus, and Armenia.

The Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan said that Kazakhstan, using the transit advantage, creates artificial barriers to the movement of goods and cars. “Cars are under control for up to five days. Each time there are various justifications — up to the point that Kyrgyzstan carries smuggling. Can we call agricultural products, milk products smuggling?” Isakov said, adding that the situation has not changed for more than 20 days and Kyrgyzstan was forced to apply to the EEU and WTO.

Kazakhstan Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev responded to Isakov, explaining the position of the Government of Kazakhstan.

“The government of Kazakhstan considers statements of the Kyrgyz side incorrect. The position of our state on this issue is well known. It fully corresponds to the ideology of the formation of the common economic space of the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union and is aimed at minimizing economic risks and economic damage to the member countries of the Union,” Sagintayev said as reported by the official website of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan.

Sagintayev said Kyrgyzstan needs to bring the norms of its national legislation in accordance with the EEU law on tax administration, counteract illegal exports including of counterfeit products, and ensure permanent and effective veterinary-sanitary and phytosanitary (quarantine) control of goods for compliance with the EEU requirements.

“Thus, we protect not only our national interests. We protect the economic interests and economic security of the EEU space,” Sagintayev said, adding that the order of monitoring and control at the Kazakh-Kyrgyz border fully and strictly conforms to the norms and requirements of the EEU legislation.

“We are ready for a constructive dialogue on bilateral economic cooperation, as well as cooperation in the field of border, transport, phytosanitary and veterinary control, customs and tax administration,” the Kazakh prime minister concluded.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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