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US Calls for Calm, Respect for Human Rights in Kyrgyzstan

The Obama administration has called for the restoration of calm in Kyrgyzstan, where the opposition claims to have taken control of the government.

The White House said Thursday President Barack Obama has been closely following the events in the Central Asian nation and urges that calm be restored in a manner consistent with democratic principles and human rights.

A White House statement said the U.S. deplores the use of deadly force by both security forces and demonstrators and continues to be concerned by looting and disorder.

The State Department said U.S. diplomatic recognition of Kyrgyzstan is not an issue in the crisis because the government was not ousted in a military coup.

The U.S. Embassy in Kyrgyzstan announced Friday it was closing its doors to the public until further notice. The embassy called on all parties to show respect for the rule of law.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said a senior U.S. diplomat met with interim Kyrgyz leader Roza Otunbayeva in Bishkek.

The U.S. assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia Robert Blake met in Washington with Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Kadyrbek Sarbaev, who was in Washington for previously scheduled meetings.

Crowley said there has been no U.S. contact with Mr. Bakiyev, who fled Bishkek Wednesday, but vowed not to resign.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said Thursday that it was time to work "urgently" to establish constitutional order in Kyrgyzstan.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called interim leader Otunbayeva on Thursday. His spokesman said Mr. Putin offered support and aid to the Kyrgyz people, adding Russia had no involvement in the current developments.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.