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Kyrgyz President Calls April Deadly Border Clashes 'Heavy Test'

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon (left) meets his Kyrgyz counterpart Sadyr Japarov in Dushanbe on June 29.

DUSHANBE -- Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov has called deadly clashes along a disputed segment of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border "a heavy test for both nations."

Japarov made the statement on June 29 in Dushanbe at a meeting with his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rahmon.

Rahmon did not address the deadly clashes that erupted in late April in the area close to Kyrgyzstan's southern region of Batken.

"The events of April 28-29 became a heavy test for our countries. Authorities of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan must prevent repetition of such events. Tajiks and Kyrgyz have had brotherly and neighborly ties for many years and we are doing our best to preserve the friendly relations," Japarov said at the meeting, which was initially scheduled for May before being postponed following the deadly clashes.

The clashes erupted after the Tajiks tried to install security cameras in disputed border territory. The battles saw border troops open fire on each other and left dozens of people dead and dozens of homes destroyed.

Kyrgyzstan reported 36 deaths from the violence at the time, mostly civilians, while Tajik officials said 19 of its citizens died in the clashes.

Many border areas in Central Asia have been restive since the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991.

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

Official media outlets in both nations said earlier that Japarov and Rahmon will discuss bilateral relations, while several documents will be signed following the talks.