News / Asia

Kyrgyz Interim Government Has Backing of Military, US

Interim Kyrgyz leader Roza Otunbayeva meets with petitioners from a rural village inside the Defense Ministry in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, which is her temporary office, 12 Apr 2010
Interim Kyrgyz leader Roza Otunbayeva meets with petitioners from a rural village inside the Defense Ministry in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, which is her temporary office, 12 Apr 2010

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Kyrgyzstan's interim government is trying to cut a deal with the country's defiant president who had fled south after last week's bloodshed in the capital.  The continuing standoff has the Central Asian nation concerned about further violence.

Kyrgyzstan's five-day-old provisional government is vowing to use the country's military to launch a special operation to neutralize President Kurmanbek Bakiyev if he does not resign.

Interim Kyrgyz leader Rosa Otunbayeva says her government is willing to negotiate his departure from the country and wants to resolve the standoff without any more harm to innocent civilians.

Otunbayeva says she and her deputies are running the country, but acknowledges there may be some armed elements still supporting the president, who is in a southern village.  

"We have full control of military forces throughout the country ... and internal security and police," Otunbayeva said.  "But some of them yes, they have probably have sympathies [to Bakiyev].  I should tell the truth because those forces have been formed up by Bakiyev's family, his brother and other allies."

Speaking to supporters in the village of Teyit, Mr. Bakiyev, said there is an attempt to divide the country between north and south.  He referred to the provisional government as "gangsters."

Speaking to reporters later, he dared the forces of the provisional government to try to seize or destroy him.  He says such an attempt would lead to "so much bloodshed that no one could justify."

The president was effectively ousted after last Wednesday's clashes between government forces and protesters.  Authorities say about 80 people have died and more than 1,600 were wounded.

A statement from the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek says it will not give shelter to the president nor help him leave the country.

After a meeting with Ms. Otunbayeva, the top EU representative to Central Asia, Pierre Morel, denied the bloc is involved in any mediation between the provisional leaders and the president.

"We are not," said Morel.  "This is not our role.  We are here to understand and to help and support.  This is not our role, we are just consulting."

The United States maintains a key logistical military air base outside Bishkek to support NATO operations to fight insurgents in Afghanistan.  Kyrgyz government officials say they will discuss the fate of the facility, which has an annual lease, at an appropriate time.

U.S. military officials say refueling operations and transit flights have fully resumed at the Manas base, following a hiatus due to the political upheaval.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

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