Kyrgyz interim government insists: Bakiyev must stand trial
Despite Bakiyev’s readiness to step down on certain conditions, the head of Kyrgyzstan’s provisional government Rosa Otunbayeva reiterated that President Bakiyev should be held responsible for the alleged crimes.
She accused Bakiyev of trying to take advantage of his immunity and stressed that “the people and the nation will not let him do that.” Earlier this week, the interim government stripped President Bakiyev of his immunity and issued a warrant for his arrest.
“He must stand trial. As for his relatives and the former defense minister, these are the people who shot civilians, and there can be no security guarantees for them except legal defense in court,” said Otunbayeva. “Their deeds make it impossible to hold talks with them.”
However, it seems that the head of the new government has not quite made up her mind whether to talk to Bakiyev or not as on the very same day, Otunbayeva stated that the interim government does not rule out holding talks with ousted President Bakiyev. She also said that the authorities need to decide on the format of those talks, noting that currently no negotiations are being held with Bakiyev.
On Tuesday, President Bakiyev said that he is also ready for talks with the new authorities and is prepared to stand trial if his safety will be provided. Earlier on Tuesday he said that he is ready to resign if both his and his family’s security, and order in the country, is guaranteed.
Bakiyev also said that his two sons, Marat and Maksim, have left Kyrgyzstan and will not return due to security reasons. “My sons are already outside Kyrgyzstan. I am afraid they will not return,” Bakiyev told journalists in Dzhalal-Abad in south Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday. Currently, one of his sons, Marat Bakiyev, who was also seen as Bakiyev successor and worked in the National Security Service, is on the country’s wanted list.
However, the ousted president himself said that he is not planning to seek political asylum abroad. “I am not considering this issue. I want to help enter the legal framework, so that the parliament starts working now, and I am telling [the parliamentarians]: come here [to the south] and work,” said Bakiyev.
Medvedev warns of a civil war in Kyrgyzstan
Meanwhile, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has warned that the country is at risk of a civil war and urged the two sides to find a compromise and end the bloodshed. “The risk of Kyrgyzstan splitting into two parts – north and south – really exists. Kyrgyzstan is on the threshold of a civil war, and the forces in Kyrgyzstan should be aware of their responsibility before the Kyrgyz nation… and the existence of the Kyrgyz state,” said Medvedev during his visit to Washington.
He has also warned that if a civil war breaks out, it will create the most favorable conditions for radicals and “all sorts of terrorists and extremists will hurry up to fill this niche.” “In this case, the Afghanistan that existed before the known operations were conducted there could replace Kyrgyzstan,” said Medvedev.
He also blamed the Kyrgyz authorities for failing to prevent the unrests, in which more than 80 people died and over 1500 were injured. “Kyrgyz authorities are responsible for the situation in Kyrgyzstan, which is again going through a phase of illegitimate development,” Medvedev said, seemingly recalling the 2005 Tulip Revolution that brought Bakiyev to power.
The Russian president also noted that the current situation in Kyrgyzstan reminds him of the one in 2005, when Bakiyev came to power, after President Akayev was ousted and had to flee the country. Akayev at the time was blamed for economic crimes and corruption, the same things Bakiyev is being accused of.
Daniil Kislov, the editor in chief of the Fergana.ru news agency, says however he’s sure the situation in Kyrgyzstan will be back to normal soon.
“President Bakiyev is not organizing any active military resistance to the interim government,” Kislov said. “He has announced he’s ready to resign, officially, and is ready to talk with the new government on one condition – that his personal security will be guaranteed and his case is reviewed in accordance with the law. And I think this condition will be accepted. Moreover, Bakiyev’s brothers and son – who are facing criminal charges – also announced they would not rise against the new government.”
Annette Bohr, a Central Asia expert from Chatham House, agrees that we are unlikely to see any major tensions in the near future.
“I don’t expect any serious protests from the south of the country from Bakiyev’s supporters,” she said. “We can say that such a danger is past with some degree of certainty. Although of course Bakiyev and his supporters were trying to drum up tensions.”
Concerns over rising ethnic tensions in Kyrgyzstan
“The Russian embassy to Kyrgyzstan is deeply concerned about recent reports from Russian citizens and compatriots on the aspiration of certain forces to escalate the ethnic situation in the country,” said the Russian Embassy in a letter to the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry, stressing that the escalation of ethnic violence “not only contradicts the interests of developing bilateral cooperation, but also shapes the country’s negative image abroad.”
Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry said that it has no fears about the security of its military facilities and the families of Russian military in Kyrgyzstan. During the April riots, Russia sent paratroopers to the base to ensure people’s safety there.
Russia’s humanitarian aid to Kyrgyzstan
To help stabilize the situation in the country, Russia will grant $20 million and extend a $30 million loan to Kyrgyzstan. “I consider it possible to provide a humanitarian aid grant of $20 million for top-priority payments aimed at social support,” Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin told Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. “Moreover, Rosselkhozbank is ready to provide a $30 million subsidized loan to the relevant financial institution of Kyrgyzstan,” said Kudrin.
Putin, however, did not rule out that the amount of aid can be increased. He also stressed that Russia played no part in the current political developments in Kyrgyzstan. The recent events, he noted, are the country’s internal affairs, but since the country is in difficulty, Russia will help if needed.
“According to the provisional government, the treasury is empty; the previous leadership has embezzled, pilfered and ruined everything. Of course, it is not up to us to judge it, but we have always had special relations with the Kyrgyz people, and we certainly must support our friends in a difficult moment,” said Putin.
US offers help to Kyrgyz interim government
US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake, who is currently visiting Bishkek, said that the US is also ready to help Kyrgyz provisional government to stabilize the political and economic situation in the country.
In a meeting with the country’s interim Prime Minister Rosa Otunbayeva, he expressed satisfaction with the measures the new authorities are currently taking, stressing that the US considers human rights and civil freedoms as priority issues in the country.
Earlier on Sunday, Otunbayeva held a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and said that the country is in need of economic help. Clinton has pledged continued humanitarian assistance and support for Kyrgyzstan, to help the country stabilize its political and economic situation.
In turn, Otunbayeva has reassured the Secretary of State that the new government will continue to fulfil agreements concerning America’s Manas military base in Kyrgyzstan. Currently, the base serves as a transit centre for US military operations in Afghanistan.
Earlier in the day, Russian President Medvedev spoke with bitter irony about his Kyrgyz colleague: “President of Kyrgyzstan Kurmanbek Bakiyev is a consistent person: he firstly said he is going to take a decision to liquidate the American base in Kyrgyzstan, and then he took a similar successive decision about keeping the American Transit Center. As far as I can see, consistency is always the best peculiarity of politician: the more consistent the person acts, the better his results. The result is at hand.”
Olga Masalkova, RT
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