Normalization Process Between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan

kırgız-özbek sınır

1 October 2016 was the most significant time for the relationship between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Firstly, the Uzbek side has opened its borders to the Kyrgyz delegation after several years and they made an announcement of “gesture of friendship” initiative. Kyrgyz delegation gladly accepted this tremendous invitation.

The group of delegation under the head of First Deputy Prime Minister Muhammetkaly Abulgaziev went to the Kyrgyz Republic. In addition to that, Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic in Uzbekistan, plenipotentiary representatives of the government in Osh, Batken and Jalal-Abad regions, the mayor of Osh, elders, cultural figures, artists, sportsmen also attended to the events.

Later the events for the improvement of Kyrgyz-Uzbek relations took place in the city of Andijan in Uzbekistan. In turn, the Uzbek side was headed by Deputy Prime Minister Adham Ikramov who met Kyrgyz delegation at the checkpoint, called “Dostluk” which means «friendship».

Following the visit of the Kyrgyz delegation, two sides signed a memorandum on mutual cooperation in the city of Andijan which lies down among the three regions of two countries.

In particular, the memorandum was signed by the head of Osh, Batken and Jalal-Abad regions of Kyrgyzstan and Andijan, Fergana and Namangan regions of Uzbekistan.

These are the regions which have common borders to each other. During the event, representatives of the Kyrgyz delegation visited Andijan State University, House of Friendship, the new building of the railway station and the car plant in Asaka. Also, they met with representatives of Kyrgyz diaspora.

This fruitful initiative caused new openings in the relations. Just two weeks later, security checkpoints on the border of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan “Dostluk-avtodorozhny” reopened. This checkpoint was closed after the June 2010 events that occurred in the city of Osh, Kyrgyzstan. Inter-ethnic clashes appeared between Kyrgyz and Uzbek people in Osh.

Passing the borders freely


Adham Ikramov (center), Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan met with the delegation from Kyrgyzstan.

Previously, citizens of the two countries were able to visit each other just in extreme cases: the funeral or to visit ailing relatives. The border guards were demanding appropriate documents under a strict control regime. Now joining a wedding ceremony or just visiting relatives who live in the neighboring country has become much easier. Earlier it was possible to pass the border only for a funeral but now they can visit their relatives freely just by having the necessary documents.

Minazhat Ahmadova, a resident of the city of Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, talked about dramatic realities in the past in her interview with TV station NTS. She said she couldn’t join even to her father’s funeral because of the rigorous border problems.

“It was very difficult situation… My father had died, I couldn’t go to his funeral. Even it was hard to issue a telegram in 2011 due to the matter of time. When I heard the news on the simplification of the rules of crossing the border, I was delighted and wanted to visit there urgently. I really wish that the relations of two countries have always been warm. Above all, we have one history and one religion,” she says.

It is very easy to find hundreds of similar examples. Because many Kyrgyz girls got married to Uzbeks and they still live in Uzbekistan, in return, there are many Uzbek women who have a family in Kyrgyzstan. Many local and international experts point out that these are consequences of melting political ice in the relations between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Here, we should note the important role of Shavkat Mirziyoev, the former Prime Minister of Uzbekistan and new acting president. There a few changes after his coming according to the Central Asian website One of those changes is the “restart” relations with Kyrgyzstan. It can be a detente between two countries although there are several regional disputes which await to be resolved.

The Crisis at the Mountain

The relations between Tashkent and Bishkek deteriorated sharply in recent times because of the border conflict on Ungar-Too Mountain which is located in the southern Kyrgyzstan. This area is a disputed one between the two countries. A very important relay station of Kyrgyz communication companies, is located here.

On 22 August, an Mi-8 Uzbek policemen helicopter has landed at the disputed Ungar-Too Mountain and they detained four Kyrgyz citizens who are the workers at the Kyrgyz radio relay station, by accusing them of being there illegally. The Kyrgyz side said that they will solve the issue only through diplomatic ways. After a while, the Kyrgyz citizens were released. published a news about the crisis on September 19 by quoting the speech of Sajira Chokoloeva, an information officer of the Border Service of Kyrgyzstan: “Up to 20 Uzbek policemen illegally landed in this territory and remained there for a long time. The Kyrgyz side demanded that Uzbekistan should remove its employees from the position adjacent to the Mount Ungar-Too. The parties negotiated for a long while, and yesterday the Uzbek side finally withdrew its employees.”

According to experts, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan must solve the problem of boundaries to improve the relationship. There are 75 disputed areas length 1308 kilometers between two countries. Now both sides are going to solve the border issue through diplomacy.

Lastly, I would like to note that the Kyrgyz side intends to host new delegations of Uzbek side to consolidate the friendship. The cabinet is carefully preparing this kind of event according to Tolgonai Stamalieva, the head of the press service of the government. We hope that after these meetings, many of the problems that remain for many years would be solved.

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