Searching for a Solution in the Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Borderline Disagreement

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After the collapse of the Soviet Union, there were various problems and conflicts between the Central Asian states. Undoubtedly, border disputes are the most important of these issues. Thus, the borders drawn by the Russians in Central Asia, without considering the geographical and ethnic characteristics, brought the states of the region against each other. In addition to border problems, security issues and sharing water resources also lead to deepening disputes between the states of the region. Undoubtedly, boundary conflicts are the most important of these issues. One of these disputes took place between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

To this extent, it can be said that Kyrgyzstan’s access to water resources in the region and Uzbekistan’s water needs create a serious problem. This process can be countable among the factors that complicate the collaboration and integration processes in Central Asia. Of course, as mentioned above, the Russians created artificial borders in the historical background of the issue. Such as, the map that divided the borders of Central Asia between 1924 and 1924, unfairly triggered the divisions between the Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, and Tajiks.

After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, five Central Asian countries ended the unlimited and right-to-free transitional cycle and decided to set borders, can control the movement of goods and people. This has led to an increase in disputes. Especially after the bomb attack in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan in 1999 Tashkent’s reservations about Islamist terrorists pushed Uzbekistan to gain a ditch in the Fergana Valley along the Kyrgyzstan border. In 2000, Uzbekistan laid mines on the border. Therefore, of this, many people lost their lives. [1]

At the present time, Kyrgyzstan’s longest border is with its neighbour Uzbekistan, with which it shares 1,314 kilometres. Therefore, the contending parties have been continuing their negotiations since 2016 in order to resolve the conflicts between them. In this context, the Chairman of the Kyrgyzstan National Security Committee Kamchibek Tasiyev, in a statement he gave in March 2021, said, “The Kyrgyz-Uzbek border issues have been resolved 100%. We assume this difficult task and as of the point reached, there is not a single piece of land in dispute” he said.[2] Within this compromise of this agreement, the concerned parties aim to solve the border problems by the end of 2022.

In this direction, at the meeting held on March 11, 2022, the President of Kyrgyzstan, Sadyr Japarov, and the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev reached an agreement. The agreement of the two leaders opened the door to a consensus on the 10% parts, in addition to the 85% of the border that was clarified in 2017.

For the remaining 5%, the concerned parties have committed to an agreement. In addition, an agreement was reached on the construction of the China-Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan Railway Line and the dynamics of conflict left its place for opportunities for reconciliation.[3] With the help of the mentioned railway, the missing link in the middle corridor will be completed and this will strengthen both the interaction and connection between Asia and Europe. The relevant agreement was signed at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Samarkand Summit on 14 September 2022.[4] In this sense, it can be argued that the political rapprochement between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan will contribute to regional and inter-regional stability, security, peace, and welfare. Particularly the increase in Central Asia-based trade will serve the development of the countries in the region and will ensure that the people of the region have a prosperous future.

Additionally considering that agriculture and livestock are at the heart of the economy of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, it can be stated that the development of cooperation in the region will increase food production both at the regional and global level and that the region can turn into a supply centre in the food crisis due to the Russia-Ukraine War.

On the other hand, it is possible to argue that the agreement of Bishkek with Tashkent will create a positive atmosphere in the efforts to solve the Kyrgyz-Tajik border problem. The Former Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to Uzbekistan, Ibrahim Zhunusov, said the following in his assessment of the resolution of the border conflict:[5]

 “The leader of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, has been making efforts to strengthen relations with Kyrgyzstan since the day he took office. Once he said that if there is no agreement with the neighbours, there is no agreement with the others. Therefore, the border issue will of course be resolved. If we top off the delineation of borders with Uzbekistan, it will also become easier to resolve the case of the boundary with Tajikistan.”

As a result, the agreement signed between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan represents a constructive reconciliation that will remove the instability in the region. While this agreement becomes stronger the search for regional cooperation, security, peace and prosperity; is at the global level, Asia-Europe; In other words, it will strengthen the East-West interaction. In addition, these developments will positively reflect on the negotiation processes on the Bishkek-Dushanbe line.

[1] “Tug-Of-War: Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan Look to Finally Settle Decades-Old Border Dispute”,, (Date of Accession: 16.11.2022).

[2]“Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan Inch Closer to Settling Border”, The Diplomat,, (Date of Accession: 16.11.2022)

[3] “Favorable changes await Uzbek-Kyrgyz border, Ritm Eurasia,–2021-03-14–uzbeksko-kirgizskuju-granicu-ozhidajut-blagoprijatnye-peremeny-53702, (Date of Accession: 16.11.2022)

[4] “China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan Sign Landmark Railroad Deal”,,, (Date of Accession: 16.11.2022)

[5] “Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are preparing to fully resolve the border issue by the end of the year”, Azattyk,, (Date of Accession: 16.11.2022)

Dilara Cansın KEÇİALAN
Anadolu Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü mezunu olan Dilara Cansın KEÇİALAN, halihazırda Hoca Ahmet Yesevi Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı'nda yüksek lisans eğitimini sürdürmektedir. İngilizce, Rusça ve Ukraynaca bilen Keçialan, post-Sovyet ülkelere ilişkin araştırmalar yapmaktadır.