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Kyrgyz Talks Produce Working Group On Constitutional Reforms

Bakiev has faced mounting pressure (file photo) (RFE/RL) BISHKEK, October 31, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- President Kurmanbek Bakiev today met with Kyrgyzstan's main opposition leaders in a bid to defuse political tensions over stalled constitutional reforms, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Bakiev was accompanied by Prime Minister Feliks Kulov, State Secretary Adakhan Madumarov, and presidential-administration head Myktybek Abdyldaev.

Omurbek Tekebaev, Azimbek Beknazarov, Temir Sariev, Almazbek Atambaev, Melis Eshimkanov, and Bolot Sherniyazov represented the opposition.

The talks lasted nearly 2 1/2 hours. Sariev described them as "very difficult."

But Bakiev's spokesman, Nurlan Shakiev, said that the sides agreed to establish a joint working group to find a way around the impasse.

"Both sides set up a six-member working group, with three people from each side," Shakiev said. "This group will work on the constitutional reforms, a new draft for the constitution, and other important topics. It has been agreed that, depending on the outcome, a second round of talks may be held."

Sariev said participants once again urged Bakiev to implement a string of reforms he promised during his election campaign in mid-2005. He also said the opposition would go ahead with a planned protest rally on November 2.

Bakiev's critics accuse him of reneging on pledges to amend the constitution in a way that would curtail his prerogatives.

Meanwhile, the chairman in office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht, today called upon Kyrgyz authorities and opposition parties to show restraint during the protest rally that is due to take place on November 2 in Bishkek. In a statement released in Ankara, De Gucht also urged both parties to solve their dispute over stalled constitutional reforms through "constructive dialogue."

(Kabar, AKIpress)

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

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