Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have taken a major step towards resolving their decades-long border dispute by signing a key agreement.
The central Asian countries share hundreds of kilometers of disputed border, which has seen constant tension over access to transport routes and resources, particularly over water in farming regions.
On Monday, national security chiefs from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan met in the Kyrgyz town of Batken to discuss border issues and signed an agreement. But they released few details.
In comments published on Tuesday, the Kyrgyz and Tajik security chiefs said they signed a key protocol that will allow both nations to finally solve the border conflict.
“We signed the protocol number 44,” the chairman of Tajikistan’s State Committee for National Security, Saimumin Yatimov, said in video footage carried by local media outlets including Tajikistan’s ASIA-Plus.
“When implemented, this protocol in principle resolves all issues and problems that were previously the basis and prerequisite for conflicts on the Tajik-Kyrgyz border,” said Yatimov.
His Kyrgyz counterpart, Kamchybek Tashiev, said the agreement “provides the basis for resolving all border issues.”
They did not provide details but both expressed confidence that a final agreement to resolve the long-running dispute would be signed in the near future.
“God willing, we will soon make a final decision on completing the definition of the state border,” said Tashiev, the chairman of Kyrgyzstan’s National Security Committee.
Clashes regularly erupt between the two due to disputes over border demarcation and access to water.
Around 100 people died in armed fighting in September 2022, the last escalation of violence between the mountainous neighbors.
Border disputes have dogged the former Soviet republics through their three decades of independence. Part of their 970-kilometer (600-mile) border is still to be demarcated.
Both are members of the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation.
Source: The Defense Post