18 September 2022
The Socialist International is greatly concerned by the recent fighting on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which has resulted in the deaths of at least 50 people, many of them civilians. These clashes come in the context of a longstanding border dispute between the two countries that has persisted since the breakup of the Soviet Union. The ceasefire that has been in place since Saturday 17 September must be maintained and it is imperative that both parties take urgent measures to deescalate the situation and open the way for a diplomatic resolution, without which an already dangerous and entrenched dispute will continue to destroy lives and livelihoods.
The SI condemns the reported attacks on villages and settlements that have claimed dozens of innocent lives. The prolongation of hostilities and violence ultimately benefits neither party and has devastating repercussions for civilians on both sides living in the border area, many tens of thousands of whom have been displaced by the fighting in recent days. It is a fundamental belief of the SI that diplomacy is the only way to bring such long standing disputes to an end, and it wholeheartedly supports the calls made in recent days by the Social Democrats, SI member party in Kyrgyzstan, for a ceasefire, withdrawal of all troops and negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the situation. The global social democratic family is in full solidarity with its members and other voices for peace in the region advocating for a diplomatic approach.
In order to achieve lasting peace, a durable resolution to the question of the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan is required, a task that is particularly challenging as much of the 1000-kilometre-long boundary currently has no official demarcation, with many enclaves and Kyrgyz and Tajik villages side by side. Previous violent clashes have been triggered by disagreements over access to water resources, and even with fully demarcated borders, there is no doubt that great efforts will be required to ensure that the two populations can coexist. The Socialist International calls on the international community to assist the Kyrgyz and Tajik governments in reaching a negotiated solution and is ready to engage in conjunction with its member parties in the region in order to promote and advance efforts for peace.