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Bakiyev steps down from President post

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Ousted President of Kyrgyzstan Kurmanbek Bakiyev formally stepped down even as the new interim government extended the United States lease of a key airbase in the country for another year.

Mr. Bakiyev faxed his hand-written resignation letter to Kyrgyzstan's new leaders overnight from Kazakhstan.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Mr. Bakiyev's resignation helped avoid a “full-scale civil war and the state's split into parts” following a violent revolt that overthrew Mr. Bakiyev's government last week.

Mr. Medvedev revealed that he had discussed the Kyrgyz crisis with U.S. President Barack Obama and Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who holds rotating presidency in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, in Washington on the sidelines of a nuclear security conference.

Meanwhile, the Kyrgyz interim government on Friday extended by one year the U.S. lease of an airbase that serves as a transit point for NATO operations in Afghanistan.

The lease extension was announced after U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake, who arrived in the capital Bishkek on Wednesday, held talks with Kyrgyzstan's new leaders. Deputy head of the interim government Omurbek Tekebayev said the decision had been taken because the lease expired in July and the new Parliament, which should decide the fate of the base, would be elected only in October. The old legislature has been dissolved.

Kyrgyzstan's new leader Rosa Otunbayeva said in a televised address to the nation that even though Mr. Bakiyev had been “evicted” from Kyrgyzstan to avoid further bloodshed he would stand trial and face punishment for the “mass killings” he had caused when people revolted against his rule. At least 84 people were killed and 1,500 wounded when troops loyal to Mr. Bakiyev shot into crowds that stormed government buildings on April 7.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 8:57:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Bakiyev-steps-down-from-President-post/article16367027.ece

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