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Former Kyrgyz President Akaev Calls Ouster 'Putsch'

Ousted President Askar Akaev (in file photo) spoke to RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service from an undisclosed location Bishkek, 1 April 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Askar Akaev said in an exclusive interview today with RFE/RL that he was ousted as president in Kyrgyzstan in a "putsch" that was aided financially and tactically by "foreign forces" backing the opposition.

Akaev told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that he wants to return to Kyrgyzstan and officially resign in the parliament building, so that the transition of power follows Kyrgyz law.

"This has nothing to do with a revolution," Akaev said. "It was a putsch. This is not the democratic way [of changing government]. It was a putsch where the government building and, later, the power was taken by force through a gross violation of the constitution."

The 60-year-old ousted Kyrgyz leader is in Russia. He fled Kyrgyzstan after opposition protesters stormed the government complex on 24 March following public protests against what the opposition alleged were rigged elections.

'Foreign Forces' And Criminals

"The foreign forces also helped [the Kyrgyz opposition] such as [the organization called] Revolutionary International, international nongovernmental organizations," Akaev alleged. "They have financed, taught, and helped [the opposition]."

Akaev told RFE/RL that the people who took over the government complex in Bishkek -- deemed the White House -- were criminals and "drug addicts."

"The jobless young people were brought from the regions [to Bishkek]," Akaev charged. "[Among them] there were people who came out of prison and drug addicts. They took the government building and managed to take power by force."

Possible Parliamentary Address

Akaev said he agrees to allow the opposition to govern the country, but only based on the constitution and laws of the country.

"I want to help the current leadership [in Kyrgyzstan]," Akaev said. "I am ready to come and give a speech in front of the parliament and in the interest of the people and the state, announce my decision to resign prematurely."

The Kyrgyz interim government and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have called for him to make his ouster official by offering his resignation -- the sooner, the better.

Akaev said he regretted that he did not strengthen the powers of government to prevent the type of overturning of power that occurred in his country.

He also said the events hurt the democratic image of Kyrgyzstan.

'Security Guarantees' For Akaev, Family

Kyrgyz parliamentary speaker Omurbek Tekebaev said today that Akaev is guaranteed immunity from prosecution if he returns to Kyrgyzstan to submit his resignation.

But the country's acting president, Kurmanbek Bakiev, said Akaev should stay out of Kyrgyzstan, citing possible risks to Akaev as well as to national security.

Akaev told RFE/RL that before he resigned, he would have to receive security guarantees for himself and his family.

"I am not asking anything above the law," Akaev said. "First of all, I am asking that me and members of my family get security guarantees. Also, I am asking that the laws be observed. [The rules governing the status of ex-presidents] are written into the constitution. The upper house [of the old bicameral parliament] passed a law [on ex-presidents]. That is all I am asking for."

Akaev had served as president since 1990, before the Central Asian republic gained independence in the Soviet collapse.

For more on events in Kyrgyzstan, see RFE/RL's dedicated Revolution in Kyrgyzstan webpage.

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