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Kyrgyz Premier Claims Uzbek Enclave Is Kyrgyz Land

6 September 2004 -- Kyrgyz Prime Minister Nikolai Tanaev told a session of the country's parliament today that an Uzbek enclave should rightfully be Kyrgyz territory.

Tanaev said the Uzbek enclave of Shakhimardan "is Kyrgyz land and we will assert our right to that land." There are several enclaves in the area of the Ferghana Valley where Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan meet, the result of Soviet-era map drawers. The enclaves have been the subject of numerous meetings and negotiations since the Central Asian states became independent in late 1991.

Kyrgyz member of parliament Ismail Isakov said there are no legal documents giving Uzbekistan the Shakhimardan enclave and the land must be returned to Kyrgyzstan.

Uzbek Foreign Ministry spokesman Ilkhom Zakirov called Tanaev's statement unethical and said the issue could only be resolved through talks.