BISHKEK, February 2 (RIA Novosti) - Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have agreed to reopen a border crossing point after several weeks of closure amid civil unrest in northern Kyrgyzstan, the Kyrgyzstan Border Guard Service said on Saturday.
The agreement was reached after two rounds of negotiations between the countries’ border guard services.
“As a result of the meeting the Kadamzhai border crossing point has been reopened for residents of Batken (Kyrgyzstan) and Fergana (Uzbekistan) regions,” the service said.
Uzbekistan closed its railroad and other border crossings with Kyrgyzstan in early January, after a group of residents from Uzbekistan's enclave of Sokh (a predominantly ethnic Tajik area which lies fully within northern Kyrgyzstan) allegedly attacked Kyrgyzstan border guards in the neighboring Batken Region and took dozens of Kyrgyz prisoners.
Several Uzbek citizens were reportedly injured by gunfire during the incident, while five Kyrgyz citizens were hospitalized.
The closure left both Sokh residents and Kyrgyz villages that depend largely on rail and land links with the enclave virtually isolated.
Tensions have existed for years between the two Central Asian countries, in part because of disputes over water resources. More recently, in 2010, inter-ethnic riots erupted in southern Kyrgyzstan between the ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbek populations.