Kyrgyz President clings to power

Kyrgyzstan’s President Kurmanbek
Bakiyev, who was forced to flee the capital Bishkek amid a bloody uprising, has
insisted he will not resign.

Mr Bakiyev released a series of
statements saying he was the real president but accepted he had lost control of
security forces.

In an interview with Russia’s Ekho
Moskvy radio station he condemned the uprising, insisting he had no plans to
leave Kyrgyzstan.

“I don’t admit defeat in any
way,” although he added: “Even though I am president, I don’t have any
real levers of power.”

Mr Bakiyev’s defiance followed a
news conference held by the opposition- under ex-foreign minister Roza
Otunbayeva in which she said her interim government – which would remain in
power until elections are held in six months – was fully in control of the
country and had appointed new ministers.

She said the current constitution
would remain in place until a new one was passed by referendum.

“We want to negotiate
Bakiyev’s resignation,” Otunbayeva said.

Opposition protestors seized Kyrgyz
government headquarters following clashes between protesters and security
forces that has left 75 people dead and more than 1,000 injured.

The biggest concern now for the new
government is to control criminal activity.

The self-proclaimed head of
Kyrgyzstan’s interior ministry has issued orders allowing security forces to
fire on looters in the capital.

Kyrgyzstan is a strategically
important central Asian state and houses a Russian base and a key US military
base that supplies forces in Afghanistan.

Ms Otunbayeva said the “status
quo would remain” regarding the bases but that some questions had to be
considered.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
is sending a special envoy on an urgent trip to Kyrgyzstan.

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