Uzbek border guards seize Kyrgyz TV tower

By bne IntelliNews September 27, 2013

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Kyrgyz officials are working to maintain calm in the Aksy district on the border with Uzbekistan after Uzbek border guards occupied a local television tower on September 26.

The Aksy district MP, Kurmanbek Osmonov, told parliament that local residents had reported the tower was occupied after a conflict between Kyrgyz and Uzbek border guards. "I got a call from residents. Around 200-300 people have now gathered near the Akimat [local council]. They are appealing to the president, the government and the parliament to take action," Osmonov said, according to Knews.

Kyrgyzstan's Deputy Prime Minister Tokon Mamytov said in an interview with AKIpress later in the day that the situation in the region was stable, but that tensions were high following several days of debate over border delimitation.

A Kyrgyz-Uzbek commission agreed on the state boundaries in most of the region in September 2006, but never reached agreement on a two-kilometre section of the border where the television tower is located. "It was a question who owns Ungar -Too mountain, where the relay station lies. The Uzbek side says we went deep into their borders by 700-800 meters. We have raised claims that the station was built during the Soviet era, and therefore this site is owned by Kyrgyzstan," Mamytov said.

Kyrgyzstan's State Border Service has scheduled a meeting with its Uzbek counterpart to resolve the issue. Small-scale border conflicts are frequent in the densely populated and ethnically mixed Fergana Valley, which is divided between Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

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