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Kyrgyzstan: Upper House Rejects Land Deal With China

Bishkek, 14 May 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The upper house of the Kyrgyz parliament, the People's Assembly, today failed to approve a controversial territorial settlement with China. The assembly needed a two-thirds vote to approve the agreement with China by which Kyrgyzstan would cede 95,000 hectares of land to its neighbor. Only 21 of the 45 deputies in the upper house voted in favor of the agreement which now returns to the lower house of parliament, where it was approved last week, for further review.

Protests against the deal continued throughout Kyrgyzstan today. The country's main road linking the north to the south remains blocked by protesters in the southern town of Tash-Komur.

Besides the annulment of the agreement with China, protesters are demanding the release from jail of popular opposition leader Feliks Kulov and that the prosecutor-general drop a current case against another opposition figure, Azimbek Beknazarov.