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Escalation of conflict on Kyrgyz-Tajik border at high pace, level of talks between Vice Prime Ministers not enough -- expert.

Chief of Geography Division of the National Academy of Sciences, President of National Geographic Society, Salamat Alamanov, shared his vision on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border situation and possible solutions to border delimitation in an interview with AKIpress on January 16. The conflict started when the squad of Tajik border guards arrived to Ak-Sai area in Batken district demanding from the Kyrgyz side to stop construction of the Ak-Sai-Kok-Tash road. According to the Kyrgyz government, Tajik border guards fired first and wounded a Kyrgyz special task force officer in abdomen. The skirmish between border guards lasted almost one hour. Tajik border guards fired from mortars and grenade launchers. The conflict was stopped after the talks between representatives of border services of two countries. - What do you think, what is the reason of the recent conflict in Batken region? - The main reason is non-delineation of the border with the neighboring states, each side believes the borders of territories belong to them, with facilities, engineering structures located in disputable areas, this is why the sides have claims to each other. - There is assumption the main reason of the conflict was construction of the Ak-Sai-Kok-Tash road, which may cause problems with access to Tortkul dam for Tajikistan. - Water problem existed since the Soviet Union time. This problem holds everyone strung up. The Tortkul dam serves population of 3 states, there are schemes and arrangements of water distribution, the sides should not have any claims in case these agreements are met. I think certain people try to 'grab' more water, this is why we have such reaction. We just need to adhere to water distribution arrangements. - Natives of Batken district say they are attacked with stones when they pass along Tajik villages, their car windows are broken, their goods and money are taken away. - This speaks of absence of culture of cross-border communication between natives of border areas. The idea that we live in sovereign states has not been rooted yet. This leads to such incidents. Even border guards do not understand this well. - Some think that escalation of the situation on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border is connected with drug trafficking and even the Bakievs' plan to destabilize the situation in Kyrgyzstan. - I do not think so. Such situation won't give anything to drug traffickers. On the contrary, the security measures on the borders were stepped up. This conflict was not someone's pre-planned action. As for Bakievs, I do not have any information. Yet, various assumptions may be built upon something. - What is solution of this problem to fit both sides? - To delimit borders, it is necessary to have same opinion of two sides. Tajikistan sticks to the border delineation of 1924-1927. It is period when rather gross mistakes were made, resulting in such processes as shared use of land and water resources. The territory was divided without any prior arrangement. Population created frontier territories themselves. During 1958-1959 the parity governmental commission worked on those borders, which decided to delineate the borders based on actual use by both sides with subsequent changes having a legal force. - What should the government of Kyrgyzstan do now? - The government should hold open talks and bring this process to completion. A serious analysis of the conflict of January 11 should be done, as heavy weapons were used there. Escalation of the conflict is high-paced affecting the population in border areas. The borders need to be reinforced. - As for the talks held between the Vice Prime Ministers of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in late December 2013 and early 2014, why they haven't brought significant progress in resolution of border issues? - The problems were resolved earlier at the border sections having the least number of disputes. The level of the talks should be higher. The talks between the Vice Prime Ministers of two countries were not enough. Political vectors of two countries are different. It is necessary that competent people will meet. They should be well prepared. The process will require prompt decisions with a high level of preparedness. Reciprocal concessions will be required, this is the main principle of any negotiation process. - Thank you for the interview. Editor's Note: Salamat Alamanov used to hold the position of the Region Problems Unit Chief of the Prime Minister's Office. In 1992-1995 he was expert, advisor of the joint delegation of the governments of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Tajikistan in border talks with the governmental delegation of China.

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Publication:AKIpress News Agency
Date:Jan 16, 2014
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