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Kyrgyz President Says Elections Will Not Divide Nation

Kyrgyz president Roza Otunbaeva
Kyrgyz president Roza Otunbaeva
BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva has said that presidential elections scheduled for October 30 will not divide her country, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Otunbaeva told RFE/RL on August 26 that Kyrgyzstan has "enough intellectual potential, political culture, and experience to avoid any regional stand-offs during and after the presidential elections."

"I would like to tell those who predict we will fracture, disappear -- [those who claim] we have no statehood -- that Kyrgyzstan is an ancient nation, and nothing dreadful will happen to us," she said, adding that the country's future development would be aided by having "such neighbors as flourishing China, Kazakhstan, [which is] successfully implementing its modernization program, and economically strong Russia."

Otunbaeva also attributed to "geopolitical games" the media publicity surrounding activities at the military transit hub in Manas airport near Bishkek, which is used by NATO to support its operations in Afghanistan."

"[NATO's] arms, food and other materials go [to Afghanistan] via [the territories of] Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and is called the Northern Route," she said. "The profits gained by those countries are much bigger than what we get from providing our transit center [in Manas]. However, in the last 10 years, our transit center has been discussed and speculated [about] everywhere."

Read more in Kyrgyz here and here.