Tajik parliament's lower house has ratified a border demarcation protocol with China, the privately-owned Tajik news agency Asia-Plus reported on 12 January.
At today's regular session of the lower house, the Tajik foreign minister presented the border demarcation protocol to the MPs for ratification, the report said. "Presenting the protocol to the MPs, Tajik Foreign Minister
Hamrokhon Zarifi noted that the ratification of the protocol was an important political event and would promote further development ofTajikistan's relations with 'the great neighbour'," the report noted.
It went on to quote Zarifi as saying that the disputed area on the border stretched over some 28,500 sq. km., which is nearly 20 per cent of Tajikistan's current territory. "After the signing of the protocol, about 3 per cent, in other words 1,000 sq. km, of the disputed area will be ceded to China. I believe that the signing of the protocol is a great victory for Tajik diplomacy," Zarifi said, as quoted in the report.
However, the leader of the Islamic Rebirth Party of Tajikistan, MP
Muhiddin Kabiri, expressed disagreement with the foreign minister, the report said. "The ratification of the protocol contradicts the Tajik constitution whose Article 7 says the territory of our state is one and indivisible. After the ratification of the protocol, about 1,000 sq. km of Tajik territory will go under the jurisdiction of China. And this is a defeat for Tajik diplomacy," Muhiddin Kabiri was quoted as saying.
"Following discussions, members of the lower house ratified the protocol by a majority vote," the report concluded.
Source: Asia-Plus news agency website, Dushanbe, in Russian 12 Jan 11