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Uzbekistan Claims Disputed Territory Along Border With Kyrgyzstan

The four Kyrgyz men were arrested near the town of Kerben, in a disputed border area. (file photo)

Uzbekistan has claimed a disputed part of the border with Kyrgyzstan as "Uzbek territory," adding that four Kyrgyz citizens detained there "were illegally present in Uzbekistan."

Uzbek media reports quoted an Interior Ministry statement on August 25 as saying that the detained Kyrgyz men had been taken into custody and would be dealt with in accordance with Uzbek law.

Uzbekistan has claimed the Unkur-Too mountain, which is located in disputed territory along the border between the two Central Asian nations.

Kyrgyz authorities said on August 24 that negotiations are under way with officials in Uzbekistan to secure the release of four Kyrgyz nationals being held at the Yangi-Kurgan district police station in Uzbekistan.

The tensions prompted Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev on August 24 to ask his government to review international border agreements signed by previous administrations.

Kyrgyz officials said the four men were detained on August 22 by the Uzbek police officers deployed by helicopters to Ungar-Too, the site of a Kyrgyz radio and television transmitter at Kerben where the men work.

About 300 kilometers of the 1,000-kilometer-long Kyrgyz-Uzbek border have remained in dispute since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.