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Kyrgyzstan Rents 'Disputed' Territory From Tajikistan

BATKEN, Kyrgyzstan -- A regional council deputy in southern Kyrgyzstan is challenging a recent Kyrgyz-Tajik agreement on border cooperation.

Karamat Orozova told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that by agreeing to rent a disputed 275-meter territory from Tajikistan, Bishkek had indirectly recognized that the land belongs to Tajikistan.

Kyrgyz and Tajik officials signed an agreement earlier this week, according to which the disputed territory will be rented by Kyrgyzstan for 49 years.

The Batken-Isfara highway connecting the Batken region with other Kyrgyz regions runs through that part of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border.

There have been repeated, often violent, clashes between local Tajiks and Kyrgyz citizens on that territory in recent months.