Kyrgyzstan president visits Uzbekistan to cement closer ties

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TASHKENT (TCA) — Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev reiterated the two neighboring countries’ readiness for closer cooperation during Atambayev’s official visit to Tashkent on October 5, RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service reported.

Mirziyoyev said at talks with Atambayev in Uzbekistan’s capital, Tashkent, that “in a very short period of time” Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan “managed to reach a very high level of cooperation that will allow us to move to even closer ties.”

Mirziyoyev mentioned that, since his visit to Kyrgyzstan last month, several border crossings between the two countries have been reopened.

On the eve of Atambayev’s visit, Mirziyoyev signed a law on the delimitation of 85 percent of the 1,280-kilometer long common border.

According to the law, more than 1,170 kilometers of the border are now considered fully established.

Atambayev signed an equivalent law on October 2.

On September 5, the two presidents signed an agreement on the delimitation of 85 percent of the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border.
The border between the two Central Asian neighbors has been a major bone of contention in bilateral ties since 1991, when they gained independence from the Soviet Union.

Over the past decades, there have been numerous incidents along the border which in some cases involved gunfire.

The situation began to improve following the death last year of Uzbekistan’s long-time authoritarian president, Islam Karimov.

Mirziyoyev, who took over after Karimov’s death, has said that improving ties with Uzbekistan’s neighbors is a major priority of his foreign policy.

Border sections still have an undefined status around the Uzbek exclaves of Sokh and Shahimardan in Kyrgyzstan, and the Kyrgyz exclave of Barak in Uzbekistan.

Sergey Kwan

TCA