MOSCOW -- Former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov says a regional security organization should send peacekeeping troops to intervene in the ethnic conflict in Kyrgyzstan, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.
Ivanov told RFE/RL that although the clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz are an internal affair of Kyrgyzstan, the conflict
could destabilize all of Central Asia. He added that since the conflict is taking place near Afghanistan, there could be forces there interested in using the crisis for their own purposes.
Ivanov, who was foreign minister from 1998-2004, did not specify which countries in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) should send troops.
But he said a decision should be made "as soon as possible, as the situation in Kyrgyzstan can surely affect Russia's security."
At least 124 people have been killed and more than 1,600 wounded in the ongoing clashes between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in the Osh and Jalal-Abad regions that started late last week.
The CSTO -- founded in 2002 -- groups Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan and grew out of the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
The group held talks in Moscow on June 14 on the crisis.
Officials from several CSTO members have stated that Kyrgyz authorities must deal with the issue themselves.
Ivanov, 64, left politics in 2007 and is currently a top LUKoil official.