DUSHANBE, April 2, Asia-Plus  -- Issues related to a water supply incident that occurred between two border districts of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in late March are supposed to be discussed at a level of the foreign ministers of the two countries, Davlat Nazri, the head of the MFA information department, said in an interview with Asia-Plus.

A meeting of Central Asian foreign ministers with representatives from the European Union (EU) is scheduled to be held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on April 9.  Tajik Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi and his Kyrgyz counterpart Ednan Qarabayev are expected to hold talks on the sidelines of the meeting to seek solution to the Isfara-Batken water incident.   

The incident occurred on March 26 as Isfara authorities received information that residents of the Kyrgyz border village had built a dam on the cross-border canal, which supplies water to the village of Khojai Alo and farming units in Isfara’s Chorkuh jamoat.    

Isfara Mayor, Ms. Muhiba Yoqubova, together with representatives from Isfara water economy and land committees visited the site and ordered to remove the dam because it had been built illegally.  According to her, Kyrgyz border guards came to the site and leveled weapons at Tajik representatives who were unarmed. 

The conflict was resolved after the Batken district Doston Khojayev came and promised to hold meeting with Tajik representatives, the mayor said.  “During a meeting that was held on March 27, I explained that the canal is under jurisdiction of the Isfara water economy department and the Kyrgyz side did not have the right carry out any work without informing us,” Ms. Yoqubova said, noting that the dam had been built on the disputable territory. 

            During the meeting, it turned out that the Kyrgyz side currently implements the Aktatyr Water-intake Facility and Main Canal Rehabilitation Project, which is financed by the World Bank.   The project provides for construction of gateway on the cross-border Mastchoi Canal that will allow Kyrgyz authorities to control the volume of water coming to villages in the Isfara district.  

 The head of the Batken district admitted that actions of Kyrgyz border guards had been illegal and incorrect and promised to penalize those guilty and send the examination protocol copy to the Isfara authorities.    

According to the Isfara mayor, implementation of the project for construction of gateway has been suspended until all the circumstances are clarified.  

In the meantime, Kyrgyz media reported that Kyrgyzstan’s parliament on March 31 passed an appropriate resolution on this matter requiring to recommend the government to take adequate measures to protect territorial integrity, up to use of force, in the event of recurrence of such situation.