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Kyrgyz Foreign Minister: No 'Velvet Revolutions' Here

Bishkek, 10 January 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Askar Aitmatov says there are no conditions for 'velvet revolutions' to take place during the country's forthcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.

ITAR-TASS quotes Aitmatov as saying officials are taking measures to eliminate any possible defects in the electoral process that could threaten the legitimacy of the upcoming polls. He also urged the opposition to refrain from calling for civil disobedience actions.

Aitmatov's remarks come as around 200 opposition protesters continue a third day of protests in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, demanding free and fair elections and also calling on authorities to allow ex-ambassadors and opposition leaders to participate in the upcoming parliamentary vote.

A pro-government counter rally of some 100 people has been staged in the same city square as the opposition rally.

(Kyrgyz Service/ITAR-TASS)