Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan Leaders Meet, Raising Hopes of Rapprochement
The leaders of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan met during a regional security summit in Minsk on November 30 for talks that have raised hopes that a bitter squabble between their nations could be settled.
Newly elected Kyrgyz leader Sooronbai Jeenbekov and President Nursultan Nazarbayev used the encounter to discuss the stalemate on their countries’ shared border. Intensified border controls imposed by Kazakhstan have for several weeks led to long lines and financially crippling delays for Kyrgyz exporters. The Kyrgyz government has valued the damage to its economy at around 1 billion som ($14.3 million).
The tete-a-tete took place on the fringes of the Comprehensive Security Treaty Organization summit at the suggestion of the Kyrgyz government and is the highest-profile meeting of its kind since the diplomatic row broke out amid vitriolic accusations from Jeenbekov’s predecessor that Astana was meddling in Kyrgyzstan’s political scene. Nazarbayev sounded a conciliatory note.
“It is indispensable that we restore the family and brotherly ties between our two counties. This is in the interests of our people,” Nazarbayev said.
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