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Uzbek, Kyrgyz Leaders 'Agree' To Resolve Border Issues In Three Months


Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov and his Uzbek counterpart, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, meet in Tashkent this week.

TASHKENT -- Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev says he has agreed with visiting Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov on how to proceed to resolve border issues between the two Central Asian countries within three months.

"For the first time in relations between our two nations we have agreed who should do what and when at the border because this is a serious problem that our people are waiting to be fixed" Mirziyoev said on March 12 after holding talks with his Kyrgyz counterpart in Tashkent.

"If everything goes according to the plan, [the issue will be resolved in] three months, which we agreed to be the longest possible time," he added.

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 that in some cases involved gunfire.

The situation began to improve following the 2016 death of Uzbekistan's longtime authoritarian president, Islam Karimov.

His successor, Mirziyoev, 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, as well as around the Kyrgyz exclave of Barak in Uzbekistan.

This is Japarov's third foreign trip since he was elected president on January 10. His first and second trips were made in February and early-March to Russia and Kazakhstan, respectively.

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