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14 Sep, 2010 06:50

We want people to be able to forgive each other – Kyrgyz leader

Parliamentary elections are being held in Kyrgyzstan next month in the hope of restoring order following months of ethnic violence and political uncertainty.

Interim president Roza Otunbayeva, who took the reins following April's bloody street riots, told RT about the future of the country.

“It has been about three months since the beginning of the conflict,” Otunbayeva said. “In these three months we have managed to reduce the violence, and I’m saying this with responsibility. We experienced different stages of confrontation, starting with the first turbulent week on June 10. It was a fratricidal confrontation. We truly regret that it happened that way. People were killed and injured. About two-and-a-half thousand buildings were burned, including people’s homes, businesses and social facilities. We are truly saddened by those events.”

“As for what has to be done, during these three months we were striving to regulate and resolve this conflict,” she continued. “We managed to separate these two sides; we eliminated the most blatant violations of human rights.”

Up to 30% of the Osh Province inhabitants are Uzbeks, and the same applies to the Dzhalal-Abad province, the interim president explained. “We would really want for people to be able to forgive each other for the past suffering, and to make concessions, in spite of terrible things that happened. And we are working on it now. Non-governmental organizations as well as government agencies are working hard on reconciliation and peace-building in order to help people find common ground.”

She also touched upon the new school year and reviving both Uzbek and Kyrgyz businesses in the republic.

Talking about relations with Russia, Otunbayeva mentioned strategic partnership and long-standing, traditional and historical ties.

“When that conflict happened, our ally Russia, as chairman of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), was active in giving us aid,” she recalled. “Today, too, we are getting much support and help, particularly in the bilateral format. But recently we had a meeting in Yerevan, an informal CSTO summit, and we came to agreement about many things there as well. The CSTO as an organization will be giving us all-out aid to strengthen the republic’s security.”

The Kyrgyz interim leader also spoke about the investigation into the April 7 crimes:

“We will be insisting on Bakiyev’s extradition to face justice in Kyrgyzstan. We were doing that even before, but to no effect. But with concrete evidence in our hands we will demand the countries where we know he and his cohorts hide to comply.”

Currently the country is preparing for the parliamentary elections. They want the ballot to be peaceful and conform to the Election Code of the Kyrgyz Republic, and that the republic’s first parliament will be based on party seats. Thus it would be the beginning of a Kyrgyz parliamentary democracy.