Bishkek, 15 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati has begun a previously unannounced visit to Kyrgyzstan. Velayati arrived yesterday, and today meets President Askar Akayev and other top officials. Our Bishkek correspondent reports Velayati's talks are expected to focus on Iran's relations with Kyrgyzstan, specifically, and with Central Asia, in general.
Developments in Afghanistan are also expected to be discussed at length.
Velayati discussed bi-lateral economic questions with top officials in Bishkek, and developments in Afghanistan and Tajikistan, as well. Velayati said a coalition government should be formed in Afghanistan, with the participation of all Afghan factions. Iran has condemned Taliban Islamic forces. Velayati yesterday blamed what he called foreign intervention for the crisis in Afghanistan.
Our Bishkek correspondent reports Velayati is scheduled to depart Bishkek this evening for a visit to Almaty, and might travel on to Tashkent -- also unannounced visits.
Russian Military Delegations To Visit Bishkek
Two Russian military delegations today begin visits to Bishkek. Each of the delegations is expected to discuss bi-lateral military cooperation.
Kyrgyz-American Human Rights Roundtable Held
The Kyrgyz-American Bureau on human rights today holds a round-table discussion on developments in Kyrgyzstan. The chairwoman of the bureau, Natalya Ablova, tells RFE/RL that several prominent, pro-democracy Kyrgyz representatives will participate: Jypar Jeksheev, MP, chairman of the party, "Democratic movement of Kyrgyzstan"; Omurbek Tekebayev, MP, chairman of the liberal-democratic party "Ata-Meken"; Tursunbai Bakir Uulu, MP, co-chairman of the party "Erkin Kyrgyzstan" ("ErK"); Topchubek Turgunaliyev, co-chairman of the party "Erkin Kyrgyzstan" ("ErK"); Tabyldy Egemberdiyev, former co-chairman of the "Democratic movement of Kyrgyzstan," and others.
Protest Planned Today In Bishkek
Residents of regions surrounding Bishkek today plan to picket the government building in the capital. Our Bishkek correspondent reports the residents plan to protest rising prices and their declining standard of living. They have demanded a meeting with top government representatives.
Our Bishkek correspondent reports that more than 1,000 people participated in today's demonstration. One of the government's Deputy Prime Ministers, Mira Jangaracheva, and the government's chief-of-staff, Orozmat Abdykalykov, met the demonstrators and pledged that the government would address their concerns and demands.