Tajik President Emomali Rahmon is expected to visit Vorukh, a jamoat in northern Tajikistan, which is an exclave surrounded by Kyrgyzstan.

Emomali Rahmon will visit Vorukh as part of his working visit to the northern Sughd province that is expected to take place from April 5-8, a source within the Sughd regional administration told Asia-Plus Wednesday afternoon.

Tajik president’s press service has confirmed this information.  “Indeed, the president will visit Vorukh, but the exact date of the trip is not yet known.  According to the preliminary data, the working visit of the president to Sughd province will take place in early April.  He will visit Khujand, Istaravshan, Guliston and Isfara (Vorukh jamoat is subordinate to the city of Isfara – Asia-Plus), Abdufattoh Sharifzoda, a spokesman for President Emomali Rahmon, told Asia-Plus in an interview.  

Meanwhile, improvement works are under way in Vorukh; Emomali Rahmon is expected to attend official opening ceremonies of more than 10 facilities in the area, including the National Flag Square, Palace of Culture, sports complex, new secondary school building, new drinking water supply pipeline, etc.  

The visit of President Emomali Rahmon to Vorukh will take place against the background of discussions on a statement by Kyrgyz security agency chief Kamchybek Tashiyev regarding Kyrgyzstan’s proposal to exchange Vorukh for a land plot in in Kyrgyzstan’s Batken region.

Recall, the Chairman of the State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyzstan Kamchybek Tashiyev told reporters in Bishkek on March 26 that Kyrgyzstan proposed to exchange Vorukh enclave for land plots in Leilek and Batken districts. 

According to him, negotiations with Tajikistan on delimitation of the state border continue.  “We have a disputed moment — Vorukh enclave.  We propose to define the border of the enclave so that it does not increase, and we are ready to provide a road bypassing Ak-Sai village.  Or exchange the enclave for other land plots in Leilek and Batken districts,” Kamchybek Tashiyev said, according to 24.kg.

It is to be noted that many border areas in Central Asia have been disputed since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.  The situation is particularly complicated near the numerous exclaves in the Ferghana Valley, where the borders of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan meet.

The location of the border of the Vorukh exclave is disputed by the Tajik and Kyrgyz governments

The border of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan has been the scene of unrest repeatedly since the collapse of the former Soviet Union.

Border talks between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan began in 2002.  The countries share 976 kilometers of border – of which only 504 kilometers has reportedly been properly delineated.

In 2019 alone, there were at least fourteen cases of violence, in which six Tajik nationals and one Kyrgyz citizen were killed and more than 60 other people were injured.

Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan renewed interest in border delimitation suggests that the governments want to dedicate more attention and resources to the communities living in the Ferghana Valley.