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KYRGYZSTAN: GOVERNMENT OFFERS DIALOGUE TO OPPOSITION

RIA Novosti

BISHKEK/ MOSCOW, March 23 (RIA Novosti) Press Secretary of the Kyrgyz president Abdil Segizbayev has confirmed that the country's Prime Minister Nikolai Tanayev is setting off for the south to hold talks with the opposition.

"The fact that we are leaving for there must be considered as a token of goodwill," Segizbayev told journalists.

Meanwhile, Bolotbek Maritov, a popular Kyrgyz journalist, who had been an opponent of president Askar Akayev's daughter in parliamentary election, was detained during an unsanctioned rally in Bishkek.

The police is also said to have arrested the famous movie director Bolot Shamshiyev and president of the For Democracy and Civil Society coalition Edil Baisalov.

On Wednesday afternoon the police detained about two dozen participants of an unsanctioned rally organized by the opposition in Bortsov Revolutsii Square. Reportedly, there are about half a thousand protestors, many of whom are young people, in the square, which has been surrounded by special task force officers.

The escalation of the situation in Kyrgyzstan will not affect the operation of the Russian military air base in Kant (30 kilometers to the east of Bishkek), Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Ivanov was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

"The command of the base in Kant constantly informs us on the state of things. According to their reports, the situation is normal there, as well as in Bishkek," Ivanov said.

Russian Ambassador to the OSCE Alexei Borodavkin claimed on Wednesday that international election observers provoked unrest in the country, when they accused the authorities of ballot rigging.

International observers sometimes made partisan estimations instead of conducting unbiased analysis, the official said.

"To some extent they triggered the dangerous course of events. Of course, they are not the only ones to blame, but the OSCE must be more careful, accurate and, perhaps, less emotional in its estimations and it must avoid any delicate political issues in countries monitored," Borodavkin was quoted as saying.

Last year the OSCE criticized the results of elections in Ukraine, won by a Moscow-backed candidate. Ukraine's Supreme Court invalidated the results after the opposition accused the authorities of ballot rigging.

The problems which emerged after the parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan must be solved by means of talks, and not street pressure, Chairman of Russia's Central Election Commission Alexander Veshnyakov said on Wednesday.

"If there are claims to certain constituencies, they must be considered," the official remarked.

At the same time, Veshnyakov stressed that "it is unacceptable to solve such problems by force".



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