Dmitry Alaev, Deutsche Welle
Uzbekistan has unilaterally begun to build a barrier on the border with Kyrgyzstan. Local and foreign experts are making different explanations of the decision.
Uzbekistan has unilaterally begun to build a barrier on the border with Kyrgyzstan. Thus, according to the Border Service of Kyrgyzstan, in the Nooken district, bordering the Andijan region of Uzbekistan, officials from the Uzbek authorities have begun to dig trenches and build a concrete wall.
Behind seven seals
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic, presidents of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan have given instructions to heads of ministries, departments and local administrations to settle issues related to the boundary.
Information on the situation on the border is scarce and often contradictory. Uzbek pro government media either do not affect the subject or are anti Kyrgyz propaganda. However, the official Uzbek authorities once commented on this through a statement of General Prosecutor's Office in the country after the attacks in Khanabad.
A member of an independent media in Uzbekistan on the situation at the border said that he was not aware of what is happening there. According to him, in order to find out what the situation really need to go to the border areas, but journalists avoid going there, as special services may jail any correspondent attempting to visit the area.
The strengthening of the borders is underway. Various sources both in Uzbekistan and in Kyrgyzstan said that construction of the wall and digging trenches have been suspended. People across the border are let to cross the area after thoroughly check up.
Protection from criminals?
Karimov's statement was sensational, who in a recent conversation with Bakiev explained the decision of Uzbekistan in combating certain financial group engaged in border trade. However, many experts believe that the leaders of the two countries have agreed among themselves. It is believed that the whole situation is not political, but economic reasons. Kyrgyzstan receives huge revenues from the activities of the Uzbek shuttles. Uzbekistan wants to cut off the smuggling of consumer goods.
Some sources believe that the May attacks were organized by the Uzbek special services to strengthen the border, to stop the import of goods from the Kyrgyz Republic, as well as to compel the Uzbek people to buy goods in shops. However, this action has violated the financial welfare of many people and has resulted in suspension of construction of the "the great Uzbek wall".
Duty-free commodities at $10 cost have been allowed to import to Uzbekistan since early of the month instead of $50.
Independent political scientist Tashpulatov Yuldashev agrees with this. The expert believes that Bakiyev agreed with Karimov at the opening of the border. However, there are some obstacles: the Uzbek side has complicated border crossing procedures for citizens of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. According to him, all that is out of the Kyrgyz Republic, subject to full customs duty. And those points through which the traders were smuggling routes are now closed. Despite the agreement on opening the border, wear and checkpoints have been increased.
Yuldashev said that Kyrgyzstan dissatisfied with the overall situation, because of export control laws and regulations in the country has received about $1 billion annually. This is 20% of the gross domestic product. Therefore, Kyrgyzstan is doing utmost to achieve a political settlement of disputes with Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan demonstrates refractoriness
Official Tashkent does not want influx of imported products, since the banks do not have hard currency and conversion of market value even for citizens of Uzbekistan they fail to ensure. "Apparently even the export earnings from gas exports of other mineral natural resources of Uzbekistan do not give the necessary income," an independent expert said, - because of an acute shortage of hard currency, Uzbekistan prevents the opening of the border. There is a strong political motive of the government to prevent the free crossing of traders and citizens of Uzbekistan to Kyrgyzstan."
Other sources believe that Uzbekistan responded to Kyrgyzstan's desire to build Kambaratinskuyu Kyrgyzia GES-2 through strengthening border control. Tashkent requires international environmental impact assessment of construction, which is not like Bishkek, as it will delay construction indefinitely. And supposedly that's why Uzbekistan blocked the border, preventing Kyrgyzstan of Uzbek buyers.
Most Uzbek citizens living in border areas pretend that nothing is known about the strengthening of border controls: the people badly frightened. Kyrgyzstan's sources say that the people are very unhappy of the events. There are no traders from Uzbekistan at the grocery market, consequently, little of Uzbek fruit, and the available fruits are sold at a very high price. The rate for illegal crossing the border has been increased.
Opinions expressed in this article may be different of those held by Trend .