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Iran Press TV

Kyrgyzstan refuses entry to Tajik citizens, sends back passenger plane

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 26 May 2021 9:44 AM

Kyrgyzstan has barred hundreds of passengers flying from neighboring Tajikistan into the country, in a move that is likely to further sour relations between the two former Soviet republics, who only recently engaged in bitter fighting along their disputed border.

Kyrgyz authorities at the Manas airport in the capital Bishkek asked a Tajik passenger plane to return back home after landing on Tuesday night.

According to a representative of the airport, the incident occurred because Kyrgyzstan's border service has "temporarily closed the border for citizens of Tajikistan."

A spokeswoman for Tajikistan's embassy in Bishkek confirmed the incident, saying that the two countries were in negotiations.

"Less than ten people — not citizens of Tajikistan, were allowed into Kyrgyzstan," the spokeswoman said of the approximately 200 passengers on the plane.

The spokeswoman claimed that a further 70 citizens of Tajikistan had been unable to fly back from Bishkek to Dushanbe.

Kyrgyz authorities had informed the embassy that this was due to entry and exit restrictions imposed on citizens of Tajikistan, she said.

"But there had been no official notification of this (restriction) from the Kyrgyz authorities," said the spokeswoman.

The two countries witnessed three days of intense fighting at the end of April, after clashes erupted with residents on both sides of the border throwing rocks at each other over a dispute to control an irrigation canal in the region.

The situation quickly escalated with border guards and other security forces on both sides exchanging gunfire.

Tajikistan said 19 of its citizens died in the violence.

The two sides agreed on a ceasefire but the truce deal was broken twice by Tajiks during the conflict, according to Bishkek.

Kyrgyzstan reported 37 deaths from the clashes.

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