09/22/2023, 10.35
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New tensions also between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

by Vladimir Rozanskij

In a domino effect of Russian claims on Crimea, in addition to Nagorno-Karabakh also in other places that have remained unresolved since the time of the Soviet regime, border disputes are being rekindled. Kyrgyzstan's threat to Tajikistan: 'if you do not renounce your claims we will reveal new controversial documents'.

Bishkek (AsiaNews) - Against the backdrop of the endless war between Russia and Ukraine, and the latest chapter in the ongoing confrontation between Azeris and Armenians over Nagorno Karabakh, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are also relaunching their differences on border issues, another open problem that remains from the post-imperial Soviet phase.

In this case, the opportunity is given by the declarations of the president of the Bishkek GKNB security services, Kamčybek Tašiev, according to whom if Tajikistan does not renounce its claims, the Kyrgyz could make use of newly discovered hot documents.

Responding to journalists' questions, Tašiev said that the Bishkek authorities had found texts that concern the much disputed issue of borders, on the basis of which it can be demonstrated that many Kyrgyz lands were irregularly assigned to the neighboring country.

In his words, “our neighbor continues to make territorial claims against Kyrgyzstan, but we know that he has no right to them… it is clear in the documents that a lot of our land was illegally allocated to Tajikistan, and we can prove it.”

If Dušanbe does not renounce his claims, continues Tašiev, "we will demonstrate our reasons on a historical and legal level, and we will be able to present our aspirations, which cannot be refuted".

The special representative of the Kyrgyz government for issues of delimitation and redefinition of borders, Nazyrbek Borubaev, confirmed Tašiev's words, reiterating that the documents in question are codified in the state archives. It is not clear, in reality, which territories we are actually talking about.

The authorities in Dushanbe initially snubbed Tashiev's statements, and in the past the Tajiks have in turn accused their neighbors of having seized their land.

A year ago, the deputy head of the Foreign Ministry of Tajikistan, Sodik Imomi, wanted to hold a presentation before Western ambassadors in Dushanbe, to demonstrate instead that the city of Vorukh had never been "a Kyrgyz enclave", and all the roads that reach it are under the control of the Tajiks, who consider it "their territory".

Tajikistan's border with Kyrgyzstan extends for 972 kilometres, and disputes over its demarcation have been going on since 2002. So far the agreements between the two republics have reached 664 kilometres, but more than 300 remain to be defined, and the clashes between soldiers and local populations they don't seem to reach the end, with lots of victims.

However, Dushanbe's foreign ministry summoned the Kyrgyz ambassador, Erlan Abdyldaev, after Tashiev's statements, issuing a statement according to which "after the exchange of opinions, it was pointed out that such statements could cause considerable damage to the process of negotiations for the definition of borders, and in general mutual trust". Tašiev also supervises the border demarcation commission, and insists on proclaiming that "we have the strength and possibilities to assert our reasons."

The special Kyrgyz government representative Nazyrbek Borubaev confirmed the discovery of the documents flaunted by Tašiev, but he too did not want to specify which ones they actually were, so as "not to create further obstacles in the period of official negotiations".

Until now it had always been Tajikistan that claimed its own lands occupied by the Kyrgyz, who today are trying to turn the accusations in their favor. The continuous mutual claims, even in the phase of ongoing negotiations, could re-propose a scenario already sadly known for Ukraine and Crimea, now also for other places that have remained pending since the times of the divide et impera  of the Soviet regime.

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