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Kyrgyz President Praises International Report On Ethnic Clashes

Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva at commemoration ceremonies in Osh on June 10
Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva at commemoration ceremonies in Osh on June 10
BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva has said the work of the international Kyrgyzstan Inquiry Commission that investigated the deadly ethnic clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan last year was "important and necessary," RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Her remarks are the first time Otunbaeva has publicly commented on the commission's report.

Issued on May 3, the report said some of the attacks on ethnic Uzbek communities might qualify as crimes against humanity while also suggesting some Kyrgyz government forces may have been complicit in the violence.

The report was roundly rejected by Kyrgyz officials as being one-sided.

Some 470 people -- most of them ethnic Uzbeks -- were killed in the ethnic clashes between local Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in the Osh and Jalal-Abad regions in June 2010.

A May government statement said the report displays an "overwhelming tendency that only one ethnic group has committed crimes, ignoring the victims and deaths of this very group" and unfairly portrays ethnic Uzbeks as "defenseless victims."

On May 26, the Kyrgyz parliament declared commission head Kimmo Kiljunen persona non grata and a Kyrgyz parliament deputy accused him of accepting bribes from "Uzbek separatists" while working on the report.

Kiljunen told RFE/RL that accusation was "ridiculous."

Otunbaeva told journalists on June 16 that she believes Kiljunen "does not deserve such definitions." She added that the commission's work was "necessary and important," noting that "all shortcomings of the commission's report have been reflected" in the Kyrgyz parliament's comments.