Kyrgyz-Tajik Negotiators Reach Agreement, Reopen Border Crossing After Deadly Clashes

A disputed section of the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan reopened on March 18 following the successful conclusion of four days of bilateral talks.

The border had been closed following violent clashes between locals on March 13 that left two Tajik citizens dead and three Kyrgyz citizens hospitalized.

Locals from two Kyrgyz villages , Ak-Sai and Kok-Tash, who had been evacuated following the violence have returned to their homes. The negotiators also reached an agreement on the construction of local roads, which was a cause of the initial dispute.

"The roads will be opened today and there will be no checkpoints," Kyrgyz Deputy Prime Minister Jenish Razakov told journalists after the signing of the agreement.

"The construction of roads needed by the population will be continued,” Razakov also said. “We discussed many problems. But the main thing is that we have achieved mutual understanding and, taking into account the interests of both countries, reached an agreement."

Razakov headed the Kyrgyz delegation to the talks, while Tajik Deputy Prime Minister Azim Ibrohim led the Tajik team.

The two sides also agreed to jointly investigate the March 13 violence and prosecute those responsible.

The dispute occurred in the volatile Ferghana Valley area, where the borders of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan meet in a complicated network of exclaves.