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Kyrgyzstan Cancels $100 Million In Aid From Kazakhstan, Amid Tensions

Kyrgyz Deputy Prime Minister Duishenbek Zilaliev
Kyrgyz Deputy Prime Minister Duishenbek Zilaliev

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan's government is moving to cancel an agreement under which it would have received some $100 million in aid from Kazakhstan to bring its infrastructure up to the standards of the Eurasian Economic Union (EES).

Kyrgyzstan joined the Russia-led trade bloc, which also includes Belarus, Armenia, and Kazakhstan, in August 2015. In December 2016, Kazakhstan agreed to grant $100 million in aid to Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyz Deputy Prime Minister Duishenbek Zilaliev told RFE/RL on October 20 that the government sent the draft proposal to parliament, which is due to discuss it in the coming days.

"We do not need that money anymore. We will look for funding in other places -- either our own budget or outside sources," Zilaliev said.

The move comes amid ongoing tensions between the two Central Asian neighbors caused by outgoing Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev's accusing Kazakhstan of interfering in the campaign for the October 15 presidential election.

On October 7, Atambaev said Kazakh authorities were "meddling in Kyrgyzstan's domestic affairs" and were throwing their support behind Omurbek Babanov, the chief rival of Atambaev's favored successor, Sooronbai Jeenbekov, who eventually won the election.

The accusations came after Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev met with Babanov last month.

On October 18, the two countries agreed on steps to ease a severe bottleneck on the border and speed up the flow of noncommercial traffic between the two countries.

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