Tajik, Kyrgyz Presidents Hold Talks Amid Border Tensions

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VORUKH, Tajikistan Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and his Kyrgyz counterpart Sooronbai Jeenbekov have met in the Tajik exclave of Vorukh as they look to ease tensions in the region.

The two leaders embraced as they met in the troubled exclave on July 26 and talked to local residents on both sides of the border.

Jeenbekov also talked to the residents of the Kyrgyz village of AkSai and told them that he has taken the situation along the border under his personal control.

The two leaders are expected to continue talks in the Tajik city of Isfara, near the Kyrgyz border, and then continue in Kyrgyzstan's northern city of CholponAta.

The runup to the talks has been marked by clashes along the border.

On July 22, Tajik officials said one Tajik man was killed and seven more wounded after Kyrgyz villagers used hunting guns in violence that erupted over the move by Tajik residents to install Tajik national flags on the IsfaraVorukh road.

Officials in the Batken region temporarily moved more than 650 residents from the village of AkSai from the area for safety and security reasons in the days following the clashes.

Many border areas in Central Asian former Soviet republics have been disputed since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The situation is particularly complicated near the numerous exclaves in the volatile Ferghana Valley, where the borders of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan meet.

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.