News / Asia

OSCE Meeting to Discuss Kyrgyzstan Security

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Members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe are to discuss efforts to stabilize Kyrgyzstan. The main focus is the deployment of a small team of police to assist local forces in the violence-stricken south.

The situation remains tense in southern Kyrgyzstan one month after ethnic fighting killed an estimated 2,000 people  and displaced hundreds of thousands more.

Foreign ministers and representatives of the 56 OSCE states are holding an informal meeting in the Kazakh city of Almaty to discuss what they can do to help.

OSCE spokeswoman Virginie Coulloudon says one of the key proposals is to send a small team of police to assist local authorities.

"It's a group of police advisors who can really help the law enforcement agencies in Kyrgyzstan - and notably in the south of Kyrgyzstan - help them restore public order.  So, we are not a peacekeeping operation ourselves," she said.

Paul Quinn-Judge, the Central Asia Project Director of the International Crisis Group, says any international help is welcome in southern Kyrgyzstan.  But he has doubts the OSCE's efforts will be very effective, saying Kyrgyz security forces are out of control.   

"There's every indication that the security organs are perusing a pretty unpleasant and politically very unwise anti-Uzbek policy, and it's fairly clear that Bishkek, the capital, cannot influence their behavior very well," he said.

The group Human Rights Watch recently reported that Krygyz authorities have been torturing and abusing ethnic Uzbeks detained as suspects in the June violence.

Quinn-Judge of Crisis Group says another challenge is working with the current Kyrgyz government, which he says lacks authority.

"I don't think anybody in the international community, either in international organizations or many governments who are involved or who are concerned about the situation here have any illusions that the current leadership is going to be particularly effective or dynamic.  But I think there's pretty much a consensus that there's not much out there to take its place," said Quinn-Judge.

The current leaders of the country, headed by interim President Roza Otunbayeva, took control following the ouster of former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Since then, the country voted in a referendum to revise its parliamentary system and is planning to hold a nationwide election in October.


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