January 14, 2013 16:25
Third force may take advantage of Kyrgyz-Uzbek border problems - parliamentarian
BISHKEK/OSH. Jan 14 (Interfax) - The conflict on the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border mirrors problems that have accrued in the 20 years since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Kyrgyz Parliamentary Defense and Security Committee Chairman Tokon Mamytov told Interfax.
"We have not been able to solve many problems of the border, politics, the economy, religion, democracy, land, water and inter-ethnic relations for 20 years, which is the cause of current events," he said.
Clashes between residents of the Sokh Uzbek exclave and Kyrgyz border guards, which happened on January 5-7, are "the old blister that finally ruptured," he said.
It would be wrong "to describe the situation as a border conflict only," the deputy said.
"The Sokh conflict seems to be settled, but hidden causes remain," the committee chairman said.
"I do not think this conflict was orchestrated either by Tashkent or Dushanbe, because it was beneficial for neither, but third forces far from our states may take advantage of it," Mamytov said.
Up to 95% of Sokh residents are ethnic Tajiks, and Uzbek authorities have conducted numerous operations in the exclave against religious terrorist and criminal groups. "I do not rule out that third forces may try to escalate tensions in the Fergana Valley, where plenty of such possibilities exist," Mamytov said.
The Sokh situation is a perfect occasion for the administrations of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to build up their military presence in the Fergana Valley and thus prevent the conflict from spreading.
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