Astana finally reopened the Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan border today, closed since the April 7 uprising. Interestingly, Kazakh authorities finally promised to let goods and people cross only hours after Bishkek diverted the Talas River, which serves as a vital source of irrigation water for Kazakhstan’s southern agricultural heartland.
A statement from Astana on May 19 offers little explanation:
Given the difficult socio-economic situation in Kyrgyzstan, and taking into account the numerous appeals from the citizens of a friendly country, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev ordered the government on May 20 of this year to remove the temporary restrictions.
Yet border security and customs checkpoints will remain strengthened because,
Unfortunately, the situation in Kyrgyzstan is far from completely normal and stable. There are cases of smuggling firearms, drugs and other prohibited items into the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan.