Tajikistan is currently discussing proposals made by the Kyrgyz side and it can’t be ruled not that Tajik authorities will offer land plots in the Somoniyon village to Kyrgyzstan as part of a land-swap deal.

“Kyrgyzstan has offered two land plots in the border villages of Ak-Sai and Samarkandek in exchange for land plots along a disputed segment of the mutual border as a measure to resolve long-festering border disputes,” an official source in Tajik law enforcement authorities told Asia-Plus in an interview.  

“Nothing has been decided yet, but the Tajik authorities have been interested in Kyrgyzstan’s offer.  Tajikistan, for its part, offered land plots located in the area between Tajikistan’s Chorkuh jamoat and Kyrgyz village of Samarkandek and land plots in the Somoniyon village to Kyrgyzstan as part of the land-swap deal,” the source said.  

The Tajik authorities refrained from commenting on this information just saying that negotiations on the land swap deal are under way.  

Meanwhile, resident of the Somoniyon village, Nodira Avezova, says there are more 200 households in their village.

“More than 600-800 ethnic Tajiks live in the village.  More than 300 land plots have distributed to village residents.  When holders of these land plots want to begin building houses, conflicts arise,” Avezova said.

According to her, they do not have any information about the possible land exchanges.  “They just told us that negotiations will last until February 15,” she added.  

Recall, Dushanbe and Bishkek have discussed possible land exchanges to resolve long-festering border disputes.

Tajik and Kyrgyz officials began talks on border issues on January 14 following another round of clashes between Kyrgyz and Tajiks residing close to a disputed segment of the two countries’ share border.  The two sides reportedly agreed to start the process of a land swap along a disputed segment of the mutual border. 

The talks were held at a border checkpoint near the Tajik village of Guliston and the Kyrgyz village of Kyzyl-Bel in the southern Batken region.

Tajik Deputy Prime Minister Azim Ibrohim led the Tajik delegation at the talks and the Kyrgyz delegation was led Deputy Prime Minister Jenish Razakov.  

The sides reportedly signed a joint protocol, according to which a joint working group by February 15 will attempt to agree on the line of demarcation of the 114-kilometer border segment.  On March 1, they aim to define areas equal by size and significance for exchange.

The latest incident along the Tajik-Kyrgyz border took place on the night of January 9-10.  As usual, both sides blamed each other for the incident    

Meanwhile, a source closed to the negotiating process says the working groups of the two countries on delimitation of the disputed segments of the border are meeting in Bishkek on January 23.

“The experts discussed the issue of exchanging land plots in the villages of Ak-Sai and Samarkandek that are located in border areas between Tajikistan’s Isfara and Kyrgyzstan’s Batken,” the source noted.

According to him, the border delimitation issue got off the ground after a phone conversation between Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and His Kyrgyz counterpart Sooronbay Jeenbekov that took place on January 13.   

It is to be noted that Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have not yet resolved the border delineation problem.  Many border areas in Central Asia have been disputed since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.  The situation is particularly complicated near the numerous exclaves in the Ferghana Valley, where the borders of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan meet.

The border of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan has been the scene of unrest repeatedly since the collapse of the former Soviet Union.  The countries share 971 kilometers of border – of which only 504 kilometers has reportedly been properly delineated.

Last year alone, there were at least fourteen cases of violence, in which six Tajik nationals and one Kyrgyz citizen were killed and more than 60 other people were injured.