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Kyrgyz, Kazakh Leaders Agree To Resolve Disputes Within EEU

Kyrgyz Republic Sooronbai Jeenbekov (right) and Kazakh Prime Minister Bakhytzhan Sagintaev in Astana on December 26.
Kyrgyz Republic Sooronbai Jeenbekov (right) and Kazakh Prime Minister Bakhytzhan Sagintaev in Astana on December 26.

ASTANA -- Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov’s press service says he has reached an agreement with Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintaev to work within the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) to resolve bilateral disputes.

In a December 26 statement, Jeenbekov's press office said the agreement was reached during Jeenbekov’s official visit to Astana.

The statement quoted Jeenbekov as saying that Kazakhstan is paying close attention to measures aimed at resolving issues that have been hampering bilateral cooperation.

Jeenbekov arrived in Astana on December 25 for talks with Sagintaev and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

Relations between the two countries soured after Jeenbekov's predecessor Almazbek Atambaev accused Kazakhstan of interfering in the campaign for Kyrgyzstan's October 15 presidential election and criticized Nazarbaev over his long rule.

On October 7, Atambaev claimed Kazakh authorities had been "meddling in Kyrgyzstan's internal affairs" and openly supporting Omurbek Babanov, the chief election rival of Atambaev's favored successor Jeenbekov -- who ended up winning the election.

The accusations, which Kazakhstan denied, came after Nazarbaev met on September 19 with Babanov.

Kazakhstan subsequently stepped up checks at the Kazakh-Kyrgyz border on October 10, causing long lines and slowing the movements of travelers and vehicles.

Bishkek went on to cancel an agreement to receive $100 million in aid from Astana.

Atambaev officially stepped down in early December, and there are some hopes that relations between Bishkek and Astana may improve.

In a meeting in Moscow on November 30, Jeenbekov and Nazarbaev agreed to work out a plan to resolve the two-months bottleneck at the shared border.

Starting December 4, all vehicles started passing the Kazakh-Kyrgyz border without any delays.

Jeenbekov was scheduled to fly to Moscow later on December 26 to attend an informal meeting of leaders from former Soviet republics in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

With reporting by Interfax

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