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U.S. Official To Meet With Kyrgyz Interim Government


Kyrgyzstan -- Interim government head Rosa Otunbayeva

Kyrgyzstan -- Interim government head Rosa Otunbayeva

A senior U.S. official is due in Kyrgyzstan today to meet with the interim government.

Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake will meet with interim leader Roza Otunbayeva and others.

He will be the highest U.S. diplomat to go there since President Kurmanbek Bakiev fled last week after a violent crackdown on the opposition.

Also today, the first deputy leader of Kyrgyzstan's interim government, Almaz Atambaev, is due in Moscow for talks.

Speaking at a Washington think tank, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has warned Kyrgyzstan is on the verge of civil war, and could turn into "a second Afghanistan."

Bakiev says he might step down if the interim government guarantees his and his family's safety.

The interim government had said it would arrest Bakiev if he did not surrender by April 13.

But reports from Bakiev's home near Jalal-Abad in southern Kyrgyzstan late April 13 say there was no sign of government forces around his home.

Earlier in the day, our correspondent says several thousand Bakiev supporters rallied in Jalal-Abad, denouncing the interim government.

Amid reports of looting and general lawlessness, about 300 representatives of small and mid-size businesses -- such as supermarkets and kiosks -- have appealed to Temir Sariev, the interim finance minister, for protection.

The South African mining company, Gold Fields, meanwhile, said villagers had taken over a camp housing its geologists in the northwest, prompting the company to pull out its staff.

compiled from agency reports
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