With the situation in violence-torn Kyrgyzstan apparently stabilising, the Russia-led defence bloc of ex-Soviet states decided against the immediate dispatch of troops to the Central Asian state, but promised to supply arms and equipment help its security forces restore law and order.
Osh and Jalal-Abad, the cities worst hit by four days of riots in the south of Kyrgyzstan, appeared calm on Tuesday, with the army and volunteers patrolling the streets and refugees beginning to return to their homes.
The Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), which met in Moscow on Monday at the level of security chiefs, agreed to supply anti-riot equipment, helicopters, vehicles and other hardware to the Kyrgyz army and police.
“They have enough forces but are short of equipment,” CSTO Secretary-General Nikolai Bordyuzha reported to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who is rotating President of CSTO.
“If we meet their needs, they will be able to restore order.” If the situation deteriorates Mr. Medvedev said he would call an emergency summit of the defence bloc. He ordered the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry to fly 120 tonnes of relief aid to Kyrgyzstan.
Uzbekistan closed the border with Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday after receiving 83,000 ethnic Uzbek residents of Kyrgyzstan who fled violence. Uzbek authorities said they could not accommodate any more refugees even as the United Nations estimated that up to 1,00,000 people were waiting to cross the Kyrgyz border to Uzbekistan.