Kyrgyzstan on threshold of civil war: Russia


In his first comments on Kyrgyz developments, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev blamed Bakiyev's government for failing to prevent the unrest and said the risk of a civil war in the Central Asian country is high.

"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," Medvedev said in Washington, according to Russian media.

He said that if a civil war sparks off in the former Soviet republic bordering China in the east, terrorists and extremists of every kind will rush into this region.
"It is during such conflicts that a favourable ground for radicals and extremists is created, and then instead of Kyrgyzstan we get a second Afghanistan," Medvedev warned addressing 'Brookings' think tank.

His warning came as the Russian Foreign Ministry said it was not aware of deposed Bakiyev's request for political asylum in Russia.
"We don't have such information. We have not received such request," a Foreign Ministry source was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS.

Earlier, the US embassy in Bishkek had also denied any plans to grant political asylum to Bakiyev, who after fleeing the capital on April 7 in the wake of bloody riots and capture of power in the Central Asian republic had taken refuge in his native village Tyeit in Jalal-Abad region in the south of the country.

Even as Medvedev warned of danger of predominantly Muslim republic turning into another Afghanistan in case of north-south civil war, efforts are underway to seek a peaceful solution.

Russian and Kyrgyz media reported about negotiations by Kyrgyz NGO leaders with Bakiyev and interim government's one of several vice premiers Azimbek Geknazarov's presence in the south of the country to negotiate the terms of Bakiyev's resignation, who has sought guaranties of security for him and close relatives.
In Bishkek, interim Prime Minister Roza Otunbayeva rejected Bakiyev's offer to step down, saying "the people and the nation will not permit this. He should be put on trial in the court" for the bloodshed during the recent protests against his regime.

"What concerns his (Bakiyev's) relatives and former Defence Minister - they are the persons who killed their fellow citizens and there can be no assurances of their security except for their legal protection in the court," Otunbayeva was quoted as saying by Interfax after her talks with visiting US Assistance Secretary of State Robert Blake.

Blake, the first high-profile US official to visit Bishkek after a violent coup, expressed "optimism" at the action plan of new authorities in the Central Asian Republic, where the US has a transit base for sending troops and materials to support Afghanistan operations.

Otunbayeva, however, did not rule out the possibility of negotiations with the deposed Kyrgyz President.
"Interim Vice Premier Azimbek Beknazarov is in the south (where Bakiyev has taken refuge) and will be travelling to Osh and Jalal-Abad," Otunbaeva was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

Entrenched in his native village in South of the country, Bakiyev yesterday expressed readiness for talks and resignation if the interim government in Bishkek provided the guarantees of security for him and his close relatives.
In Moscow, a pro-Kremlin political pundit Sergei Markov, meanwhile, said like many newly independent states emerged on the map of former USSR, Kyrgyzstan is a "failed state" and the development there will destabilise the situation in other neighbouring Central Asian republics.

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