Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan reach deal to end logjam on border

Caravanserai

ASTANA -- Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have agreed on ways to reduce a bottleneck that has formed on their border, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported Thursday (October 19).

Kazakhstani authorities stepped up security and customs checks at the Kyrgyz border for more than a week. Kyrgyzstan responded in kind, leading to delays on both sides, and complained Wednesday (October 18) to the World Trade Organisation about Kazakhstan's handling of Kyrgyz citizens and vehicles, according to The Diplomat website.

Kazakhstani Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev and Kyrgyz counterpart Sapar Isakov reached an agreement in talks in Astana that ended Wednesday.

Starting Thursday, border guards on both sides will give priority to pedestrians, cars containing only personal belongings, regular inter-city buses and trucks carrying no cargo, said Sagintayev after the talks.

The countries agreed to have deputy prime ministers lead working groups "to outline a road map in five days" for a full solution, added Sagintayev.

Kazakhstani officials were compelled to crack down on Kyrgyz traders who were violating customs and tax regulations, said Sagintayev.

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