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Akayev Says He Fled to Prevent Civil War in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan's deposed President Askar Akayev says he fled the country two weeks ago in order to prevent civil war.

In a video-taped resignation speech, which was played in the Kyrgyz parliament Thursday, Mr. Akayev said he did not "stain his hands with the blood of his countrymen" and left office with a clear conscience.

The video was recorded earlier this week in Moscow, where a delegation of Kyrgyz lawmakers negotiated Mr. Akayev's resignation.

The Kyrgyz parliament is due to vote later today to accept the resignation, clearing the way for new presidential election set for June 26.

Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court annulled one of two criminal convictions against former opposition leader Felix Kulov, and agreed to consider a third conviction against him. If that verdict is also overturned, Mr. Kulov will be able to run for president.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP, AFP.