Kyrgyzstan's acting foreign minister says those who deported four Uzbek asylum seekers back to Uzbekistan will be severely punished.

Roza Otunbayeva told a news conference at the Voice of America Tuesday that the four were returned in violation of Kyrgyz law and without the presence of U.N. human rights officials.

She said an investigation is underway.

More than 400 Uzbeks remain in a refugee camp on the Kyrgyz border. They fled political violence in Uzbekistan last month when troops fired on unarmed protesters in Andijon. Witnesses say hundreds were killed.

Ms. Otunbayeva met earlier Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She said the talks were fruitful and described the meeting as a turning point for Kyrgyzstan's new government.

Former President Askar Akayev fled the country during a popular uprising in March against a parliamentary election that the opposition and independent monitors say was rigged.