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Kyrgyz Premier To Meet With Opposition In Osh


http://gdb.rferl.org/4D7B7121-44EA-4898-8B91-B34FAB5C5299_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/4D7B7121-44EA-4898-8B91-B34FAB5C5299_mw800_mh600.jpg Premier Tanaev (file photo) Bishkek, 24 March 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz Prime Minister Nikolai Tanaev is expected in the city of Osh today, where opposition supporters are holding key government buildings to protest recent parliamentary elections that they say were fraudulent.

Bishkek, 24 March 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz Prime Minister Nikolai Tanaev is expected in the city of Osh today, where opposition supporters are holding key government buildings to protest recent parliamentary elections that they say were fraudulent.

A spokesman for President Askar Akaev, Abdil Seghizbaev, says Tanaev will "look for someone constructive to talk to." Defense Minister Esen Topoyev ended a visit to Osh on Wednesday with no signs of progress in diffusing the situation there.

Newly appointed Prosecutor-General Murat Sutalinov yesterday accused criminals and drug-traffickers of being behind the protests in Osh, Jalal-Abad, and smaller towns in southern Kyrgyzstan that started after the 27 February parliamentary elections and subsequent runoff polls.

"We have confirmed information that, in the south, criminal elements are in control," he said. "And I cannot exclude the presence of people there who are also involved in trafficking narcotics. You know that the international drugs traffic in this area originates from Afghanistan and comes through Kyrgyzstan." Members of the opposition, many of whom have experience as Kyrgyz government officials, dismiss such claims.

Newly appointed Interior Minister Keneshbek Dushebaev said yesterday that the government has the legal right to use force to restore order in the country. (RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, Reuters, AP)

Related:

Photo Gallery: How The Protests Unfolded

Authorities Attempt To Contain Protests, Negotiate

Kyrgyz Police Battle With Protesters In Southern Cities


For more on the Kyrgyz elections, see RFE/RL's dedicated website Kyrgyzstan Votes 2005
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