Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan had more than 140 border-related conflicts in the past decade

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Citing the Kyrgyz government, Radio Liberty reported on February 28 that the construction of 332 new houses has been completed in the southwestern Kyrgyz province of Batken for local residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed during bloody clashes on the border with Tajikistan in September.

As villagers on both sides of the poorly defined Kyrgyz-Tajik frontier rebuild their lives and homes after violence in September that killed at least 100 people, authorities in the two countries say they are close to finding a permanent solution to the longstanding border dispute.

Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov said in November that he expects all border delimitations with Tajikistan to be completed by May.

Both Kyrgyz and Tajik officials have reported “progress” and are seemingly optimistic about the ongoing efforts to finalize mutually acceptable demarcation lines.

Officials also expect all border crossing points (BCPs) between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to reopen soon after being unilaterally shut down by Bishkek in late April 2021.

The most recent meeting between working groups from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan took place in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, on February 3-9, with more such gatherings slated to be held in the coming months.

Radio Liberty notes that according to Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, 63 percent -- or some 625 kilometers of the roughly 980-kilometer border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan -- has been demarcated so far, as the sides work to define the remaining areas.

In a phone call last month, Japarov and Rahmon vowed to settle the border conflict through a "constructive approach" and "diplomacy."

It indicates the countries have come a long way from the September violence that killed dozens and wounded hundreds more, including many civilians on both sides.

Hundreds of buildings were damaged, and tens of thousands of people -- predominantly Kyrgyz -- were forced from their homes. Schools, businesses, and mosques were also affected by the clashes that each side blames the other for instigating.

The September 14-17 violence marked the worst hostilities between the two countries, which have had more than 140 border-related conflicts in the past decade.

Shortly after the negotiations began after the September violence, Kamchybek Tashiev, head of the Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security, said the parties have taken a new and more constructive approach.

But there were also many meetings and negotiations over the years between Bishkek and Dushanbe officials to resolve the issue, but all have thus far failed, according to Radio Liberty.

The two sides seem to have hope it will be different this time.

Source: Asia-Plus