By Burc Eruygur
ISTANBUL (AA) - The president of Uzbekistan on Wednesday signed laws ratifying two key agreements with neighboring Kyrgyzstan on their mutual border and management of water resources in the Andijan (Kempir-Abad) reservoir.
"Thanks to the political will of the heads of state, the mutual respect and good neighborly relations between the two fraternal peoples are strengthening, and an agreement is reached on issues that have remained unresolved for 30 years," said a statement from the office of Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
The accords, a major step in resolving a long-running border dispute over the nearly 1,380 kilometers (857 miles) frontier between the two Central Asian countries, were signed on Nov. 3 during a visit by Uzbek Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov to the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek.
They were ratified by the lower house of the bicameral Uzbek parliament on Nov. 14 and approved by the upper house four days later.
"The agreement between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Kyrgyz Republic on certain sections of the state border consists of 13 articles. It defines the border line with a total length of 302.2 kilometers, including 35 sections of the Uzbek-Kyrgyz state border," the statement said.
The 11-article deal on the joint management of water resources of the Andijan reservoir provided for the establishment of a joint commission to manage its water supplies and sets regulations on its activities.
Noting that the agreement hands over 4,957 hectares (about 12,250 acres) of the reservoir area to Uzbekistan, along with an additional 19.5 hectares for the maintenance and protection of the dam, the statement said 1,019 hectares of pasture land was transferred to Kyrgyzstan "as compensation."
It said Kyrgyzstan would also receive 12,849 hectares in the Govasoy region as compensation for the unbuilt Kempir-Abad Canal on the left bank of the Andijan reservoir, with Bishkek promising "not to build hydraulic and other structures that impede the natural flow of the Govasoy River, and not to allow technical water pollution."
Uzbekistan "undertakes to maintain the water level in the reservoir at a level not higher than 900 meters horizontally, to ensure free access and use of the water of the reservoir by the citizens of Kyrgyzstan (animal watering, irrigation, fishing), and not to install engineering and technical structures around the reservoir," said the statement.
"Measures have been agreed to be implemented by Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to ensure the safety of the Andijan reservoir. Thus, the Uzbek side ensures the safety of the reservoir, operating it, providing maintenance, and discharging water within the limits agreed with the Kyrgyz side."
It also said that a legal basis was being created for the "joint management of the water resources of the Andijan reservoir."
This will provide a continuous supply water to about 8,000 farms, allowing 2.5 million tons of additional agricultural harvest and exports worth $500 million, the statement added.
Kyrgyzstan had finalized its ratification process of the treaties on Tuesday.
On Sept. 26, the two countries had signed a joint protocol on the demarcation of their border, roughly 18 months after they agreed on a treaty to end the dispute.