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Uzbek Prime Minister In Bishkek To Discuss Bilateral Ties, Borders

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov (right) welcomes Uzbek Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov to Bishkek on August 16.

BISHKEK -- Uzbek Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov is in Kyrgyzstan to discuss bilateral ties between the two Central Asian states.

The Kyrgyz government press service said Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov met Aripov and his delegation at the Manas International Airport in Bishkek.

It said Aripov will hold talks with Jeenbekov and Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev later in the day.

Aripov and Jeenbekov are also expected to attend a meeting of a bilateral commission on border delimitation.

The two former Soviet republics share a nearly 1,400-kilometer-long border, of which 230 kilometers remain the subject of dispute.

Ties have begun to improve since Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev came to power following the death of longtime autocrat Islam Karimov in 2016. Mirziyoev has pledged to increase cooperation with neighbors of Central Asia's most populous country.

During Karimov's more than 25 years in power, Uzbekistan was at odds with its neighbors over issues ranging from border disputes and ethnic standoffs to economic disagreements linked to water distribution and energy transportation across the region.