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Russia steps in to help Kyrgyzstan

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Russia steps in to help Kyrgyzstan


Russia has joined the US in offering to help Kyrgyzstan’s new leadership, as people in Bishkek paid tribute to the victims of last week’s unrest. It has pledged 36 million euros to boost the country’s finances.

A delegation from Kyrgyzstan’s interim government travelled to the Russian capital to discuss badly needed aid.

“The provisional government says the coffers are empty, that the old leadership stole the lot”, said Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. “We always had special relations with Kyrgyz people, and certainly during a difficult moment for Kyrgyzstan, we must support our friends.”

US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake, visiting the country, has said that Washington is prepared to help the new interim government. Its leader Rosa Otunbayeva has said that the deposed President Bakiyev must stand trial or leave the country.

“We hope he will understand that there is no future for him, that he should resign,” she said.

Bakiyev has hinted that he may try to go into exile. In his powerbase of the southern city of Jalalabad, the former president’s supporters drowned out Uzbeks who had come to protest against him. Fears of conflict have increased in a region where ethnic tension is already high.

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