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Kyrgyz President Discusses Reforms With U.S. Diplomat

President Kurmanbek Bakiev (file photo) (RFE/RL) April 11, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- A top U.S. diplomat discussed U.S.-Kyrgyz relations with President Kurmanbek Bakiev today in Bishkek, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Bakiev and Richard Boucher, the assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, discussed implementing liberal economic and political reforms. Boucher had earlier promised American assistance to help achieve those goals.

Boucher says it's time for Kyrgyzstan's leadership to move forward with reforms.

"I think that everyone agrees that Kyrgyzstan needs a new constitution. The old constitution had so many changes that all the power ended up concentrated with the president. So, you need to do this, you need to complete this process, to rebalance the powers of government and to ensure that each can operate independently but not independent of the others."

Today's talks come at a time when Bakiev faces criticism at home and abroad for not implementing promised constitutional reforms.

Boucher also met with representatives of Kyrgyzstan's nongovernmental organizations today. The U.S. diplomat has already visited Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Kazakhstan as part of a regional tour.

(with additional material from AP)

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

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