14 Aug 2018 11:35

Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan agree to swap land on border

OSH. Aug 14 (Interfax) - Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have agreed to swap land in furtherance of their border delimitation process: for instance, Uzbekistan will acquire the Kyrgyz Barak exclave in exchange for a similar land on the border.

Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have completed another stage of border delimitation and demarcation talks and decided to swap land on the border, a member of the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border delimitation and demarcation commission and first deputy representative of the Kyrgyz government in the Osh region, Baiysh Yusupov, told Interfax on Tuesday.

"It has been agreed that the Kyrgyz Barak exclave, which belongs to the Kara-Sui district of the Osh region in southern Kyrgyzstan, will be handed over to Uzbekistan, and Uzbekistan will give Kyrgyzstan a similar plot of land bordering on the rural ak-Tash area of the Kara-Sui district of the Osh region," Yusupov said.

He said local residents accepted the decision of the intergovernmental commission because of protracted border crossing problems.

"They even opened a checkpoint in Barak, but not for residents of the Barak exclave, who still have to use the faraway checkpoint in the Batken region despite the proximity of the border," Yusupov said.

Kyrgyzstan will exchange the Barak exclave for "equally fertile land."

"We have delimited this land and drawn dotted lines on the map, commission members have coordinated and signed protocols on the exchange of the Barak exclave, and the ratification and signing [of these documents] by the two presidents are pending," Yusupov said.

There are plans to complete the delimitation of the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border this year and begin the demarcation process in 2019, he said.

"To be frank, the process has been extremely difficult. Homes were built in staggered rows in some areas, and we have to solve problems that have been piling up for years," Yusupov said.

The 230-hectare Barak exclave is under the jurisdiction of the ak-Tash rural administration of the Kara-Sui district of the Osh region. Barak borders the Qurghonteppa district of Uzbekistan's Andijan region. Given severe border-crossing problems, the Kyrgyz authorities offered Barak residents a settlement program several years ago, and the exclave's population dropped to 30 families.

Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan share a border of 1,387 kilometers, 85% of which have been delimitated. There are a number of Uzbek exclaves in Kyrgyz territory, including the densely populated Sokh in the Batken region of southern Kyrgyzstan.