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Central Asia

Semen Uralov: Relations between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan are more dependent on Tashkent's position than on Bishkek one

"Relations between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan are more dependent on Tashkent's position than on Bishkek one," chief editor of the portal "Odnako. Eurasia" Semen Uralov told to 24.kg news agency.

According to him, Kyrgyzstan participates in all the integration associations (Customs and the Eurasian Economic Union, Collective Security Treaty Organization, and so on), in the last 10 years Uzbekistan has been conducting insulation policy, which has led to worsening of relations in different spheres. It was particularly felt in the issue of water resources, demarcation of the border, smuggling, drug trafficking and enclaves.

According to the expert, all the problems of relations between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are connected with the fact that a single political economy Central Asian region is pulled into all independent republics. 

"No one considers the region as a whole - each fights solely for its own national interests. Hence, there are all the points of conflict," Semen Uralov said.

The expert believes that the mutual visits of delegations of the two countries demonstrate that the new administration, which will replace Islam Karimov, wants detente in Central Asia. 

"I think that the new government of Uzbekistan will grope for negotiating positions and remove contradictions. Tashkent is not interested in creating tension with the neighbors. The new authorities must establish themselves for few years. So, they will demonstrate the maximum peacefulness today," Semen Uralov said.

He noted that now we should not talk about the warming of relations between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, but about their normalization.

 The Kyrgyz and the Uzbek people have been living side by side in last millennium, and relations were generally quite warm. And even today, Kyrgyz and Uzbek villages, auls and kishlaks alternate in the Ferghana Valley on both sides of the border.

The deterioration of relations between the two countries took place 20 years ago. The reason for that, the expert believes, was the ruling elite. First, there was the aggravation of inter-ethnic relations, and then there were conflicts.

"If the two sides will make concessions to each other, especially in enclaves, then it is possible to establish normal relations," Semen Uralov said.

The chief editor of the portal stresses that Uzbekistan is a large economy. Mining, manufacturing, engineering and cotton industry is developed there. It is profitable for Kyrgyzstan to develop its own light industry, using raw materials from Uzbekistan. It will be right to resume regular service between Bishkek and Tashkent. Special border and customs area is necessary.

"Exactly the integration of the cities and regions of the Ferghana Valley could become a project that would bring together the ruling elites of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and even Tajikistan," Semen Uralov said. 

Expert advises to initiate integration projects to establish new relationships. It is necessary to step up cooperation in all directions - to solve the problem with the power supply to Uzbekistan, get cheap Uzbek cotton for light industry of Kyrgyzstan, and so on.