The deposed president of Kyrgyzstan
has arrived in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, after he was removed from power
following bloody protests against his government.
Kurmanbek Bakiyev left Kyrgyzstan after the self-declared interim
government said it wanted to put him on trial for the deaths of demonstrators
Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarus
president, said in televised remarks on Tuesday that Bakiyev was under his
government’s protection in Minsk.
“Bakiyev asked me to take him in several times. He wasn’t asking for his
own sake. That’s what stunned me and brought me to tears. He said, ‘Alexander,
take my family. I feel sorry for my children, they’re not guilty of
anything’,” Lukashenko said on Tuesday.
It was not clear which members of
Bakiyev’s family were in Minsk. One of his sons, Maxim, is wanted by the
interim government amid accusations of corruption.
Edil Baisalov, a member of the interim government, told the Russian Interfax
news agency that Bakiyev would only be allowed to return to Kyrgyzstan “in
the capacity of a prisoner”.
Meanwhile, rulers moved to quell ethnic violence that has broken out since the
ousting of Bakiyev.
Riot police and
troops confronted a crowd of several hundred people on the outskirts of Bishkek
on Tuesday, in an area where Monday after looters attacked homes belonging
to mainly ethnic Russians and Meskhetian Turks.
Roza Otunbayeva, the leader of the interim government, has blamed the
unrest on thugs trying to exploit the security vacuum to grab
Russian president Dmitry Medvedev called for Kyrgyzstan’s interim government to
hold elections to legitimise its authority if it wanted full-fledged economic
co-operation with Russia.
“Essentially there is a need to resurrect the state and at present
there is no state” in Kyrgyzstan, Medvedev said following talks with
President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, a Central Asian nation that shares a
border with Kyrgyzstan.
“And we expect Kyrgyzstan’s interim government to undertake all the
necessary and sufficient measures for that. The legitimisation of all the authorities,
that is the holding of elections and not just de facto exercise of power is
extremely important,” Medvedev said.