News / Asia

US Envoy Heads to Kyrgyzstan to Meet Interim Leaders

A senior U.S. diplomat is en route to Kyrgyzstan for the first high-level direct dialogue between the United States and the interim government that assumed power there last week.  The State Department says it is "very good news" that the new administration will uphold an agreement allowing the United States to use an airbase there for Afghanistan flights.  

The decision to send Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake to Bishkek follows a weekend telephone conversation between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the head of Kyrgyzstan's interim government, Rosa Otunbayeva.

The State Department says Ms. Otunbayeva told Clinton that the new administration will abide by an agreement allowing the United States to use the Manas airbase near Bishkek as a transit hub for military flights to and from Afghanistan.

Speaking with reporters, Blake said that in meetings on Wednesday and Thursday with the interim leaders he will offer humanitarian aid and other support, and seek details of announced elections and a democratic transition in six months.

Blake said that while the new authorities in Bishkek have a "full plate" of other matters, he expects the Manas base arrangement - which the United States had been talking with the previous government about extending - will come up.

"Ambassador [Richard] Holbrooke was in Kyrgyzstan and Bishkek not too long ago and said the government at that time had agreed to continue those arrangements, and we welcome that, of course," said Robert Blake. "And it's very good news that Ms. Otunbayeva said that they will continue to abide by those agreements.  Of course, the United States is prepared to talk at any time with her and the members of the provisional government about these arrangements."

Blake said he would have no contact in Kyrgyzstan with ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev or his representatives.

Mr. Bakiyev, who fled Bishkek last week after violent unrest in which scores of protestors were killed by security forces, has refused to surrender.

Blake said he understands there are differences among members of the interim government about whether Mr. Bakiyev should be arrested or allowed to leave for foreign exile.

He said the United States takes no position on that issue, which he said should be "managed" by the Kyrgyz people in accordance with their constitution.

State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley, meanwhile, said the United States does not consider last week's transfer of power in Bishkek a coup and that the issue of recognition of the Kyrgyz government was never at issue.

"There is a transitional administration that has taken over operation of government ministries," said  P.J. Crowley. "We recognize that reality.  It's not for us to say that today the leader of Kyrgyzstan is Otunbayeva versus Bakiyev.  What we recognize is that there's a process underway that within six months' time will produce a new government, one that we hope will be more democratic."

Assistant Secretary Blake said Maksim Bakiyev, son of the president, arrived in the United States last week as head of a Kyrgyz delegation for talks with State Department officials that were cancelled.

Blake said the younger Bakiyev has since left the country and that he had no contact with U.S. officials.

The senior official avoided direct comment on a Washington Post newspaper report that last week's Kyrgyz unrest had been partly fomented by Russian media reports.

He said only that President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev had a very good conversation on Kyrgyzstan last week in Prague and that they agreed on the importance of restoring law and order there.   

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid