BISHKEK, May 4. /TASS/. Kyrgyzstan’s Batken Region, where a border conflict with Tajikistan took place, will receive a special status in the near future, Kyrgyz Prime Minister Ulukbek Maripov said on Tuesday during a visit to the region.
"I have signed and sent the corresponding decision for the consideration of parliament. As soon as it is approved, the Batken Region will receive a special status, which includes tax preferences as well," the PM’s press service quotes him as saying.
The draft law on the status of the Batken Region says that the local government bodies will be given special powers to coordinate the activity of local institutions and cooperate with the law enforcement.
The situation on the border between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan near the Golovnoy water intake facility escalated on April 28, after skirmishes had erupted between the residents of the two countries’ border areas. On April 29, clashes between Kyrgyz and Tajik servicemen broke out. Kyrgyzstan accused Tajikistan of using mortars, automatic weapons and Mi-24 military helicopters. On the evening of April 29, the parties agreed to a ceasefire and the pullout of troops, however, these hostilities continued periodically in certain locations until May 1.
According to the Kyrgyz Health Ministry, 36 Kyrgyz citizens were killed as a result of the conflict, and over 150 were injured. The majority of those killed and injured are civilians. Over 100 buildings were burnt or damaged during the hostilities. About 33,000 civilians were evacuated from the conflict zone in total.
The length of the border between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan is about 980 kilometers. Dozens of disputed sections remained along the line following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Currently, about 580 kilometers of the border have been set as a result of the delimitation and demarcation process.