Kyrgyzstan’s president has urged the country’s people to trust the Army and its strategic partners to retain calm on a disputed section of the border with neighboring Tajikistan, which was scene of deadly clashes between the two sides earlier this month.
Sadyr Japarov made the remarks on Monday, apparently trying to prevent the nation from descending on the border Batken Province, where at least 100 people were killed from both sides between September 14 and 16.
“…I urge calm among the men and youths, who are willing to go to Batken…We have courageous warriors and enough forces to repel those who violate our borders,” he said in a televised address.
The fighting over the region, upon which Kyrgyzstan claims sovereignty, saw the two sides confronting each other with tank, aviation, and rocket artillery.
The clashes prompted Japarov and his Tajik counterpart, Emomali Rahmon, to meet and negotiate a ceasefire in Uzbekistan.
Bishkek accused Dushanbe of resuming artillery shelling shortly after the truce deal.
Japarov, however, said, “We continue our efforts to resolve the Kyrgyz-Tajik border issues in a purely peaceful way.”
Also on Monday, Tajikistan’s Foreign Ministry said the key to resolving the conflict lay in negotiations, reiterating its position that Kyrgyzstan had instigated the fighting.
The head of Tajikistan’s Sogdiyskaya region, meanwhile, alleged that the two sides had agreed to pull out additional military hardware and forces from the border.
Tajikistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sodik Emomi told a briefing that there have been more than 230 border incidents between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan over the last 20 years, and that the focus of the latest conflict was an area covering 2,000 square kilometers (772 square miles).