Tension rises in Central Asia: its time to look for mediators

Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan.14
By Viktoriya Zhavoronkova - Trend:

International organizations, such as the OSCE, EU and others, should increase their involvement in controlling the situation in Central Asia in order to prevent its further escalation, European expert on Central Asia Michael Laubsch believes.

"I think that the international organizations such as OSCE, EU etc. have to focus more on the situation and try to stabilize it," the director of the Eurasian Transition Group, Laubsch said.

The situation in the region got worse after an armed incident on the border of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan that took place on Jan. 11. Kyrgyzstan's foreign ministry even called back the country's ambassador to Tajikistan, Urmat Saralayev, on Jan. 14, until the incident is fully clarified.

On Saturday a skirmish took place on the border between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan which caused injuries on both sides. The reason for the conflict is the unresolved issue of border delimitation between the two states.

Unfortunately, this is not the only such incident in the region. A number of factors, such as border delimitation, water problem, electricity distribution, usually cause political disputes among the Central Asian countries, which are sometimes close to military escalation.

"As we all know the tension especially on the borders of the Central Asian countries is frequent," Michael Laubsch believes.

The expert says this may be evaluated as one of the most important problems of the region, which could in fact be the basis for a more problematic situation.

"Especially regarding the countries, such as Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the situation there is deteriorating regarding the ethnic mixture and at the same time political situation there is not very stable," Laubsch said.

The expert believes that if the international organizations refuse to become mediators in these issues, it is likely that such situations may pose a serious problem to the entire region.
"The main focus for the whole Central Asia, which probably would include Afghanistan in the future, is to support and strengthen the regional cooperation," he added.

Unfortunately, nowadays, according to Laubsch, a close cooperation in Central Asia, which is a part of trust building in the region's political life, is impossible, especially given the instable political situation in the region.

"So the tensions on the border of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, which took place on Jan. 11, may be the first signal for a more problematic situation," expert said.

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