Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan seek to ease cross-border tensions
#GS2 #INTERNATIONAL BORDER ISSUES
Claiming the area around the water supply facility
Background: Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have claimed the area around the water supply facility in Kok-Tash, a dispute dating back decades to when they were both part of the Soviet Union.
What led to the latest round of Conflict?
● Surveillance Cameras: The latest conflict erupted when Tajik officials attempted to mount surveillance cameras to monitor the water supply facility amid the tensions over water distribution, and Kyrgyz residents opposed the move.
● More than 7,000 Kyrgyz residents have been evacuated from the area engulfed by the fighting as troops from the two countries exchanged gunfire around a water supply facility near the village of Kok-Tash, located in western Kyrgyzstan on the border with Tajikistan.
What’s the latest development?
A ceasefire on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan largely held on April 30 following a day of intense fighting between the two ex-Soviet Central Asian neighbours that killed 39 people and wounded more than 175.
Border dispute between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan
- The fighting has focused on water facilities in territory claimed by both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
- Like many parts of Central Asia, the border between the two countries has been a focus of tension for the past 30 years.
- Before that, it mattered little which bit of territory belonged to whom as people could move freely between Soviet Republics.
- But the collapse of the USSR generated hard borders - and potential violence.
- The meandering boundary between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan is particularly tense as over a third of its 1,000-km (600-mile) length is disputed.
- Restrictions on access to land and water that communities regard as theirs have often led to deadly clashes in the past.
- The latest fighting was the heaviest in years and has raised fears of a wider conflict between two impoverished neighbours.
- Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are both members of the Russia-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization. The Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday voiced concern about the conflict and urged them to negotiate a lasting settlement.
- The European Union on Friday welcomed the cease-fire deal and emphasized the need for a “lasting and peaceful solution.”
- “Both sides will need to undertake all the necessary steps to avoid any conflict in the future,” EU spokesman Peter Stano said in a statement, adding that the EU stands ready to provide technical assistance on border and water management as well as political support.
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SOURCE: THE HINDU