Kyrgyz, Tajik Officials Hold Talks After Latest Border Incident

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BATKEN, Kyrgyzstan — Kyrgyz and Tajik officials have held initial talks on border issues following another round of clashes between Kyrgyz and Tajiks residing close to a disputed segment of the two Central Asian states’ shared border.

The talks were held at a border checkpoint near the Tajik village of Guliston and the Kyrgyz village of Kyzyl-Bel in the southern Batken region on January 14.

Kyrgyz Deputy Prime Minister Jenish Razakov, who led the Kyrgyz delegation at the talks, told RFE/RL that the sides did not reach agreement during the first round of talks.

The Tajik delegation was led by Deputy Prime Minister Azim Ibrohim.

The talks are being held after gunshots were fired along the border on January 9.

Kyrgyz officials have said gunshots were fired from the Tajik side, prompting the brief evacuation of 254 Kyrgyz nationals, including 139 children, from a village near the location of the clashes. No casualties were reported.

The Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry summoned the Tajik ambassador over the incident, while Tajikistan blamed the residents of the Kyrgyz village for provoking the unrest.

The segment of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border in the southern Batken region where the incident took place has seen similar clashes in the past, including at least 10 skirmishes last year.

In December, six Kyrgyz and three Tajiks were wounded in clashes in the area, while violence in September claimed four lives.

Many border areas in the former Soviet republics in Central Asia have been disputed since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

News – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

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