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Kyrgyz Official Says OSCE Police Mission Would Be Ineffective

Ismail Isakov said technical assistance would be better for southern Kyrgyzstan
BISHKEK -- Acting Kyrgyz Defense Minister Ismail Isakov says the deployment of an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) police mission in the southern part of the country would be ineffective, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

General Isakov told RFE/RL on July 6 that he cannot imagine how a foreign police force would serve its peacekeeping mission and train Kyrgyz police without knowing the local languages and traditions.

He added that "it would be much better instead if Kyrgyzstan received assistance with technical equipment and infrastructure reconstruction."

A number of international human rights organizations, including rights advocacy group Human Rights Watch, have called for the urgent deployment of an OSCE police mission to Osh and Jalal-Abad.

Clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in those southern cities in mid-June led to the deaths of at least 300 people and caused hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

Both Kyrgyz government officials in Bishkek and rights organizations have said the monoenthnic composition of Kyrgyzstan's security services exacerbates the job of restoring order in the former conflict zones.

Ethnic Uzbeks make up some 15 percent of Kyrgyzstan's population, but they are seldom found among the country's police or military forces.