Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan Defuse Latest Border Incident

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Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on June 5 reached an agreement to calm a tense border standoff between the two Central Asian nations, in the latest incident over contested territory more than a month after deadly clashes.

Tensions escalated along a disputed segment of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border on June 4, with both sides accusing the other of violating previous agreements.

Kyrgyzstan had accused Tajik troops of placing a container overnight on what Kyrgyz officials called "a disputed area" along an undemarcated section of the border at Unzhu-Bulak in the Chon-Alai district of the Osh region.

The Tajik border guards' press service rejected the Kyrgyz statement, saying that its unit had moved to a border area that had been agreed with the Kyrgyz side as Tajikistan's territory.

Following talks between top security officials, the two sides reached a nine-point agreement to end the standoff, including both countries moving border posts 3 kilometers from the disputed area and instructing topographic working groups to demarcate the border section.

Almost half of the 970 kilometer-long Kyrgyz-Tajik border has not been demarcated, leading to repeated tensions since the two former Soviet countries gained independence three decades ago.

In late April, clashes along another disputed segment of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border left dozens of people killed on both sides, raising fears of a wider conflict between the two impoverished neighbors.

Source: Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.