BISHKEK. Kyrgyz and Tajik officials said the newly established border posts were removed in the disputed area yesterday. Kyrgyzstan's Batken region governor Mamat Aibalayev told today RFERL that both sides removed the border posts on Sunday, January 5, 2003. "Our Tajik neighbors said they were going to remove (the custom and border posts in Vorukh). We had two-day talks and we said: 'You have to remove your posts first, because you set up those posts initially (unilaterally), and then we will remove our posts. Your people are unhappy with the posts and our people are not satisfied with the posts either.' Both sides agreed with that, and we removed the posts," said Aibalaev.
A representative of the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry, Erkin Mamkulov, told today RFERL that a special governmental team led by the deputy prime minister Bazarbai Mambetov, is to visit the disputed area in Batken in coming days. The Tajik side will send to Vorukh enclave its governmental team either. Kubanychbek Satiev, a representative of NGO `For International Tolerance` in Batken region, said today that the authorities from both sides should keep their words of commitment to the agreement on the disputed areas approved in 2000.
"There were such attempts before. It is my personal opinion that the current settlement (of the minor border crisis) does not last too long,' said Satiev. On Saturday (Jan 4) some 300 Tajiks from the Vorukh enclave destroyed a newly established Kyrgyz border post that was erected last December by the Batken side in Koekterek, a village in the Aksai municipality. The Kyrgyz post was apparently set up to retaliate for the harassment of Kyrgyz travellers by Tajik customs and border officials erected unilaterally in October-December 2002. In response, about 100 Kyrgyz residents from Koekterek crossed over the border and destroyed a Tajik border post.
No injuries were reported and both countries said order had been restored in the area the same day.