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Uzbek, Kyrgyz Presidents Congratulate Yanukovych

26 November 2004 -- The presidents of the former Soviet republics of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan have joined Russian President Vladimir Putin in congratulating Viktor Yanukovych on winning Ukraine's still-disputed presidential election.

In Almaty, an Uzbek Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ilkhom Zakirov, said President Islam Karimov accepts the government-issued results from the poll on 21 November, and sent congratulations to Yanukovych.

In Bishkek, a presidential spokesman today said Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev has also congratulated Yanukovych.

Akaev, Karimov, and Putin are among the few world leaders who have congratulated Yanukovych, who was supported by the Kremlin and outgoing Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. The election is being disputed by opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko. He and international election observers say the poll was fraudulent.

(RFE/RL and agencies)