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President of Kyrgyzstan to visit Uzbekistan


President of Kyrgyzstan to visit Uzbekistan

president of kyrgyzstan
Photo: Vladimir Voronin/ AP

Kyrgyzstan’s President Sadyr Japarov will arrive today in Uzbekistan for an official two-day visit.

The neighboring Central Asian nations have lukewarm relations due to ethnic tensions and border quarrels that arise periodically. Kyrgyzstan’s southern province, which has a large concentration of ethnic Uzbeks, is an area of contention for Bishkek and Tashkent. Worried about the likelihood of encroachment, local Kyrgyz citizens have complained about Uzbek companies investing heavily near the disputed border. Today’s meeting is a significant opportunity for the newly-elected Japarov to express his willingness to collaborate in order to secure amicable relations with Uzbekistan.

Despite mutual mistrust, Bishkek and Tashkent are prepared to sweep the setbacks underneath the rug. It is likely they will agree to pursue cooperation concerning expanding trade and improving cross-border transportation. Given Uzbekistan’s substantial influence in southern Kyrgyzstan, increasing bilateral ties will be beneficial for Tashkent. And considering that Bishkek is reliant on Uzbek natural gas, Japarov will wish to avoid risking the possibility of Uzbekistan cutting off supplies, as has occurred before. Japarov will thus likely display a welcoming policy during his time in office to appease Tashkent’s interests.

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