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Kyrgyzstan Confirms President's Resignation

Steve Herman | Bishkek 16 April 2010

The deposed president of Kyrgyzstan, Kurmanbek Bakiev, has resigned and left the country. But the interim government says it wants to see him put on trial either inside the Central Asian nation or by an international court.

Kyrgzstan's self-appointed provisional government says Mr. Bakiev is no longer "acting head of state" and the week-long standoff between him and the interim leadership has been resolved.

The appointed head of the provisional government, Rosa Otunbayeva, early Friday read out the text of what she says is Bakiev's resignation, sent by fax to her from Kazakhstan.

In his resignation, Ms. Otunbayeva says, President Bakiev writes that during these tragic days for the country, realizing all the responsibility for the future of the people, for the preservation of the country's unity, in accordance with article 50 of the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic, he resigns.

The interim government says Mr. Bakiev, accused of leading a nepotistic and corrupt government, must be held accountable for any crimes he might be charged with.

Ms. Otunbayeva's chief of staff, Edil Baisalov, told reporters that in view of the president's rule, the opposition had a "patriotic duty" during last week's turmoil to "seize power."

"We were voicing our protests against political killings and murders and beatings and closing down newspapers and media channels. The legitimate government of Kyrgyzstan is now the interim government," he said.

The provisional leadership is promising to rewrite the constitution and hold national elections within six months.

Neighbor Kazakhstan, which currently chairs the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, played a major role in persuading the deposed president to leave Kyrgyzstan. And that was where Mr. Bakiev headed late Thursday on a military aircraft.

The president had fled the capital and headed south last week after his security forces fired on demonstrators outside government buildings in Bishkek. Hundreds of protesters were shot. At least 84 have died.

Russian and American diplomats also helped the struggling Central Asian former Soviet republic defuse its political crisis. Russia and the United States are the top aid givers to Kyrgyzstan. Both countries, which have military facilities in Kyrgyzstan, are pledging further financial help.

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