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Uzbek, Kyrgyz Presidents Reiterate Two Nations' Readiness To Cooperate

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirzieev (right) greets his Kyrgyz counterpart Almazbek Atambaev upon the latter's arrival in Tashkent on October 5.

TASHKENT -- Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev and his Kyrgyz counterpart, Almazbek Atambaev, on October 5 reiterated the two neighboring Central Asian nations' readiness for closer cooperation.

Mirziyoev said at talks with Atambaev in Uzbekistan's capital, Tashkent, that "in a very short period of time" Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan "managed to reach a very high level of cooperation that will allow us to move to even closer ties."

Mirziyoev mentioned that, since his visit to Kyrgyzstan last month, several border crossings between the two countries have been reopened.

On the eve of Atambaev's visit, Mirziyoev signed a law on the delimitation of 85 percent of the 1,280-kilometer long common border.

According to the law, more than 1,170 kilometers of the border are now considered fully established.

Atambaev signed an equivalent law on October 2.

On September 5, the two presidents signed an agreement on the delimitation of 85 percent of their common border.

The border between the two Central Asian neighbors has been a major bone of contention in bilateral ties since 1991, when they gained independence from the Soviet Union.

Over the past decades, there have been numerous incidents along the border which in some cases involved gunfire.

The situation began to improve following the death last year of Uzbekistan's long-time authoritarian president, Islam Karimov.

Mirziyoev, who took over after Karimov's death, has said that improving ties with Uzbekistan's neighbors is a major priority of his foreign policy.

Border sections still have an undefined status around the Uzbek exclaves of Sokh and Shahimardan in Kyrgyzstan, and the Kyrgyz exclave of Barak in Uzbekistan.