Tajikistan, Uzbekistan to jointly demine shared border

AFP

DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan and Uzbekistan plan to demine their shared border, said a representative of Tajikistan's border service Tuesday (April 17).

A joint commission is expected to "thoroughly study in what sections of the Uzbek-Tajik border there are anti-personnel mines" and to create a schedule for demining, the representative said.

Uzbekistan initially mined its side of the 1,332km border in 2000 under long-reigning then-president Islam Karimov, who was hostile towards other countries in the region.

Since then, the land mines have killed 374 Tajik citizens, mostly shepherds and other residents of cross-border regions, according to the UN-backed Tajikistan Mine Action Centre.

Relations between the two countries began to improve after Uzbekistani President Shavkat Mirziyoyev took power in December 2016.

During his visit to Dushanbe in March, Mirziyoyev and his Tajik counterpart, Emomali Rahmon, agreed to conduct the demining work, overhaul a shared visa regime in place since 2000 and co-operate on Tajik plans to build a dam upstream from Uzbekistan.

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