By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are working on a possible land swap near the border between the two Central Asian states, some parts of which have not been formally delineated since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Burkanbek Ashyrov, head of the Barak village in Kyrgyzstan’s Barak exclave, told RFE/RL on August 15 that an agreement had been reached to exchange the exclave for land around the village of Birleshken in Uzbekistan’s Andijon region.
The Barak exclave is comprised of 230 hectares of land that is completely surrounded by Uzbek territory. It is under the rural Ak-Tash administration of the Kara-Suu district of Kyrgyzstan’s southern Osh region.
The land around the Uzbek village of Birleshken is adjacent to the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border.
According to Ashyrov, the exchange process could take up to two years.
Kyrgyz authorities launched a program in 2013 to resettle the Barak exclave’s population in other parts of Kyrgyzstan. About 20 Kyrgyz families remain in the exclave.
About 85 percent of the 1,400-kilometer-long Kyrgyz-Uzbek border has been delineated.
Remaining border sections with an undefined status include the areas around Barak and Uzbekistan’s exclaves of Sokh and Shahimardan, which are completely surrounded by Kyrgyz territory.
Tensions in those areas have led to clashes between local residents and border guards of the former Soviet republics.