Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan Move toward Resolution of Longstanding Border Dispute

first_imgAt a meeting last week, March 11, the presidents of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, Sadyr Zhaparov and Shavkat Mirziyoyev, respectively, agreed to open land and air communications between Uzbekistan and the Uzbekistani exclave of Sokh inside Kyrgyzstan. Additionally, they pledged to resolve their disagreement over the disputed Unkur-Too territory, which Tashkent had claimed even though Bishkek has long viewed it as a critical part of Kyrgyzstan because it is the site of a television transmission station that country needs. Their accords, which promise to end this longstanding dispute and open the way to the completion of the demarcation of the border between them, were greeted with enthusiasm because they will allow for expanded trade not only between them but across Central Asia more generally (Turan Today, March 13; Ritm Eurasia, March 14).The sensitivity of this issue—along with an indication that more difficulties may lie ahead—was underscored, however, when senior Kyrgyzstani officials quickly and heatedly denied media reports Bishkek had conceded to “a corridor” between Uzbekistan and Sokh, where 40,000 plus ethnic Uzbeks live (24.kg, March 14). Obviously, in this case, as in the one involving transit between Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan, the word “corridor” is a red line that cannot be crossed lest it provoke an explosion of nationalist anger in the country supposedly ceding territory. Transit is one thing, but a corridor is deemed something else (see EDM, March 9, 17; Windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com, March 7).That said, the agreement of the two presidents does suggest Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan will be able to complete the demarcation of the borders between them and preclude the kind of violence along their shared frontier that has been an all-too-regular feature there for years. Of the 1,378 kilometers of the border, 85 percent had been demarcated already by 2017 and another 10 percent agreed to but not formally demarcated. Now, the two leaders have committed their governments to reach an agreement on the remaining 5 percent in the next three months, something that seems possible and will allow for China to expand its rail network between and through both Central Asian neighbors (Ritm Eurasia, March 14; see EDM, July 6, 2020).At a minimum, the completion of this demarcation of the Kyrgyzstani-Uzbekistani border—assuming talks do not break down over the use of the term “corridor” or some other thorny issue—promises to prevent future clashes between residents living on both sides. Such violence has broken out repeatedly not just in the post-Soviet period but between the 1920s and the end of Soviet times. Even before 1991, borders mattered because they prevented easy access to water, transportation networks, and pastureland—restrictions that have only intensified for newly independent and nationally sensitive countries. Thus, the demarcation of this border will limit the ability of nationalists in both countries but especially in Kyrgyzstan to play up the issue for domestic reasons (Cabar, March 16). At the same time, the resolution of the issues of access to Sokh and control of the Unkur-Too region marks another step on the way to putting in place borders in Central Asia acceptable to the governments and peoples of the region.Exclaves and enclaves exist in many places around the world. But few regions feature a more complex pattern than does post-Soviet Central Asia. Of the countries in the region, only Turkmenistan lacks any at all. Kazakhstan has two in Uzbekistan but does not have any on its own territory. Tajikistan also lacks any inside its borders but has one in Uzbekistan and two in Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan has two Kazakhstani, one Kyrgyzstani and one Tajikistani enclave on its territory; while Kyrgyzstan has one exclave in Uzbekistan and, despite the new accord, still has three Uzbekistani and two Tajikistani enclaves within its borders. Solving each of these will be difficult, and each represents a potential flashpoint for the region.Two Central Asian scholars have devoted extensive articles to these enclaves/exclaves: Salamat Alamanov, who focuses on their history (“Enclaves of Central Asia,” Post-Sovetskiye Issledovaniya, 2018, pp. 451-460), and Tatyana Zvergintseva, who has examined the current state of play about them (“Borders without Friendship: Why Enclaves Have Become a Headache for the Countries of Central Asia,” Fergana News, October 2, 2018). Both point to three possible variants for the resolution of these non-contiguous areas: an exchange of territory, the creation of corridors from the borders to them, and a special regime governing border areas. Zvergintseva, for her part, is skeptical about all of these: “An exchange of territories works and then only with great difficulties regarding small enclaves.” Creating territories also requires major efforts and expense. And establishing a special border region regime works only if the two countries involved are both willing to allow it.But the existence of such a regime “strongly depends on relations between the countries, on the significance of the nationality question and on a common legal culture,” she continues. In many cases, countries prefer to retain the current situation to put pressure on their neighbors or to mobilize their populations about a threat to their nations. And there is another problem many prefer not to talk about, Zvergintseva suggests. If borders are kept relatively open, that allows for the freer flow not only of people and goods but of criminal elements and radical Islamists from one country to another—a challenge that all four of the Central Asian states with enclaves and/or exclaves face.Nonetheless the accord between Bishkek and Tashkent shows that progress is possible, especially when the governments involved want to avoid the kind of clashes that can prove destabilizing and also seek to take advantage of new transportation routes that will open the way for greater economic development.last_img read more

Module makes way to Japan

first_imgThe cargo – which comprised the huge module, as well as a lifting frame, two boxes of slings and eight pallets of shackles – was loaded on board Hansa Heavy Lift’s vessel HHL Tokyo at the Waalhaven terminal using Bonn & Mees’ floating crane Matador 3.Measuring 18.6 m x 16.7 m x 19.1 m, the large unit was wrapped in plastic, lifted on board and placed onto four supports on the vessel’s tank top, before being welded.The other lifting equipment, which was to be used on arrival in Japan, was loaded onto the ship using a mobile harbour crane.Once all loading and securing operations were complete, the vessel set sail for Japan with an open hatch.Europe Cargo is a member of the Project Cargo Network (PCN) in Belgium.  www.europecargo.be www.hansaheavylift.comwww.bonn-mees.nlwww.projectcargonetwork.comlast_img read more

Report: Centurions Lead Gloucestershire To Opening Win In Royal London One-Day Cup

first_imgAustralian Klinger smashed an unbeaten 166, while Dent (142) scored his second hundred in this season’s competition in an opening stand of 242 to lead the hosts to 352-3 from their 50 overs.Hampshire’s reply saw them finish up just short on a very creditable 342-8, thanks to half-centuries from Gareth Andrew (70no), Liam Dawson (57), Sean Ervine (53) and Tom Alsop (50).last_img

Pitta makes return to practice with future still unclear

first_imgOWINGS MILLS, Md. — In the midst of the worst start in franchise history, the Ravens received a bit of good news on Wednesday with the return of veteran tight end Dennis Pitta to the practice field.Whether they will see him play in a game again remains to be seen.On the reserve physically unable to perform list after suffering two serious hip injuries in the last two years, the 30-year-old has entered a 21-day practice window to determine whether he will return to live-game action in 2015. Pitta is eligible to be activated at any point during the 21 days, but he must be placed on the 53-man roster or remain on the PUP list for the rest of the season by the end of the practice window.“It’s a start,” said Pitta after his first practice. “This is an assessment period for us — for me, for the trainers and for the coaches — to really see where we’re at. This is just Day 1 of our journey. I think it felt pretty good and I’m encouraged by that, and [it’s] certainly great to be back out there with my teammates. We’ll see where we go from here.”Pitta was suited up in full pads, running routes and participating in blocking drills during the portion of practice open to media. Needing to adjust to the speed of the game again and even lamenting a dropped pass during hist first practice practice, Pitta said he didn’t anticipate feeling this good at this point.By drafting tight ends Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle a year after selecting Crockett Gillmore in the 2014 draft, the Ravens planned not to have Pitta moving forward, but a passing game currently lacking weapons would certainly welcome back a player of his ability — at least prior to the hip injuries.“I know it’s Dennis’ decision along with his family,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s going to see how [the hip] feels out here and how it responds. He’s been working really hard to get himself in position — along with our trainers and our strength and conditioning staff — to prepare for this. We’ll see how it goes. I wouldn’t make too much of it, especially for this week. Don’t get carried away.”It remains unclear whether Pitta will be able to return this season as he hasn’t played in a game since suffering a second dislocation and fracture of his right hip in Cleveland on Sept. 21, 2014, just 14 months after experiencing the first injury in 2013. The 2010 fourth-round pick did individual work during voluntary workouts in the spring, but he was not cleared to participate in the mandatory June minicamp or training camp this summer.Pitta says he’s received varying opinions from those close to him over whether to make his latest comeback. The Brigham Young product acknowledged his wife, Mataya, was “not really excited” about his return to the practice field in fear of something going wrong, but he added that she remains supportive over what he’s doing.“I’ve had people on both ends of the spectrum, certainly people that have discouraged me against it and people that have encouraged me to get back out there,” Pitta said. “I weigh both opinions heavily. Really, I feel good physically, and I’m just excited to continue this process and see where I can get to.”Signed to a five-year, $32 million contract including $16 million guaranteed prior to last season, Pitta was guaranteed his $4 million base salary for the 2015 season. The veteran tight end has said all along that he wanted to try to make a comeback, but dealing with such a serious injury twice would make anyone ponder his football future as well as his overall quality of life after his career.Though he’s made no formal decision beyond his current comeback attempt, Pitta indicated that retirement would be a consideration if he’s unable to come back this season.“I would like to think that if I can’t make it back this year, what’s going to change next year?” Pitta said. “For me, in my mind, I’m working to get back this year. If I can’t, that might be it. That’s certainly undecided, and I don’t really know how to answer that.”A close friend of quarterback Joe Flacco, Pitta has made 138 catches for 1,369 yards and 11 touchdowns in his career and also caught a touchdown pass in Super Bowl XLVII.Regardless of whether he ever suits up in a game, the mere sight of a healthy Pitta back on the practice field was a positive development in a season that’s gone so wrong for the Ravens.“It’s definitely good to see him out there,” said Flacco, who added that will not pressure his friend and teammate to play again. “I think everybody appreciates seeing him in a uniform, and they’re happy for him to be able to get back out there and strap back up.”last_img read more